Clear sky, light wind, good transparency, and no Moon. If it were a weekend I’d have gotten a lot done tonight. As it is, I have to be in the office tomorrow morning and I’ve already stayed up too late. Checked the seeing just before I shut down and my urban surroundings (plenty of asphalt, concrete, brick, etc.) were still dumping lots of heat. Translates to big stars (FWHM around 3 arcseconds) in long exposures and dancing stars in short exposures. No use trying to record tracking errors with the centroid moving around on its own but I can image if I can live with fat stars and some funky star shapes. I gave Starlock a star below 30 degrees declination this time (the handbox warns if using one farther from the celestial equator but I’ve been ignoring it) and let it set up the guide rates (ended up 16 and 10) and then cleared PEC and trained it and added one update run. Chose M51 as a target because it’s near zenith (reduced seeing effects) and because it is in a star-poor region; I wanted to see if Starlock could find something on which to guide. It did, and seemed to work well.
Talked to the guys at Meade today and was told not to read too much into the recorded pec data; I’ll have to wait for good skies to evaluate tracking. I might still be within the 10 arcsecond p-p some are reporting.
SO – here’s what I got tonight in about 90 minutes of shooting LRGB. Larger version is at http://www.cloudynights.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=27559&size=big
-edit- Fixed the star shapes; shouldn’t try to stack images at 3:00am! Accidentally left the blue frames unselected when aligning in CCDStack2. Fixing that made the stars round plus improved detail generally.