2016-08-14: OAK CREEK CANYON

Oak Creek Canyon is between Flagstaff and Sedona, Arizona. Really nice place for relaxing. I've been going there since the 1970's. It's way too tree-infested for astronomy, and not to mention a canyon, but I brought my new AT130 along for a long weekend trip of fun with the relatives -- no, I'm not kidding -- and just to sit and play around a bit at a leisurely pace and see what I could see through the leaves.

Above I'm getting things set up to do a little white light Sun observing when it gets to a clear spot between the trees. Balancing that scope on my GM-8 mount is a lot easier and more precise that my other scopes. I think it's because that scope is heavier. Moving the counterweights just a 1/2" is enough to throw things off. That wouldn't even be noticed with the other scopes.

You can see the red QHYCCD item mounted on the RA axis. I'd just gotten a PoleMaster polar alignment camera, and this was going to be it's first use. After it got dark it took 1 1/2 tries, but it was really pretty simple to use. It took about 15 minutes to get things lined up. It would take about two minutes if you knew what you were doing. Later in the evening I trained the scope on Mars, went and had a beer, and when I came back it was still there in the middle of the field! That was scary in a good way. I haven't seen that kind of alignment since the old film days.

I got to play extensively with my Canon T6i at the prime focus, which I never seemed to get time to do before. Learned a lot just bracketting through the shutter speeds. This one was at 1/500 seconds. I just fooled with it a little bit in the photo editing program Pixelmator. I'd sure like to go there some day.

The seeing wasn't good. It was the monsoon season. This was a quick single Canon shot at 1/20 seconds just to see what it would look like. It looked better in person for brief periods of time. Fun weekend.