Prepping Hal for the Wagon of Science

Hal, a mere Volkswagon Golf, cannot fit two telescopes, related astronomy gear, table, chair, and all of the outreach equipment used at club events. Thankfully, I now have a trailer for this purpose. But Hal needed to be equipped to pull it. Why do I call my car "Hal"? My car sends me messages letting me know when his hatchback is open, or sunroof is open or doors are open. And if there is rain in the forecast, Hal gets extra pissy about these things and lets me know.  When I get these messages on my phone, my inner monologue reads them in the voice of HAL 9000 in 2001 A Space Odyssey being methodically euthanized by Dave..."Dave.. what are you doing Dave....". So, Hal came to be. I ordered a hitch and wiring harness from eTrailer and it arrived quickly. Installing the hitch was pretty easy. The instructions were clear and the instructional videos on their website were phenomenal. However, the instructions failed to mention that you should not close your garage door with the car raised on jack stands and the hatchback open Add $475 to project cost because I'm a dumbass The wiring was a little more … Continue reading Prepping Hal for the Wagon of Science

Public Night Sky Viewing 9/14/2018

It was hot and cloudy all day, but the prediction was for the clouds to break by 9 pm, so we went forward with this months outreach event at the Watson Soccer Fields in Rochester, MN. It turned out to be the largest outreach event that I've seen in my time with the RAC. Over 60 people showed up to view the night sky! The clouds broke by 8 pm and we were able to see Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars before the clouds returned at about 10:30. It was nice to see the students from Mayo High School that were encouraged to attend. I'm still having a problem getting the new telescope properly collimated, but it is getting better. I love the LX90, but nothing beats a trusty Dobsionian for getting things up and running in little time. I wish that I was able to photograph the night-time crowds, it was truly remarkable.

LX90 Unboxing and Assembly

The time has come, a cold and cloudy day (of course) to unbox and assemble the LX90. Exciting times!! The box looked a little beat up, but I expected some of this and trust that Meade takes this into account when packing. I opened and set up the tripod first. It seems like it is well made! And now the reveal - Bass Ale for scale   Assembly complete!!! (Empty Bass Ale for scale - center tripod) And it is supposed to be cloudy and rainy for the next three days, of course! As always, thanks, Mom