More upgrades

I picked up a used Mac mini, so the base server for this site has been switched over, and the noisy fans of the Quicksilver Mac have been silenced. I am looking for more minis if I can get the right price, and if I find them I will set up more processing power in the observatory.

I am amazed, though, by the number of people who are trying to sell used machines for more than the price of a refurbished, but otherwise current, model. And even more amazed by the number who are insulted when this is pointed out and I make a so-called ‘lowball’ offer. You’d think that having the item languish for almost a month on Craigslist or Kijiji would be a hint that the initial asking price was too high….

Update July 13: I bought another Mac Mini, but this time it’s a Core Solo machine with only 512 MB of RAM – I’ll upgrade the RAM as soon as possible, and replace the CPU soon. Then I will have to give serious thought as to the software to install and the physical setup needed to keep the system alive in Canada’s cold winter nights. Suggestions are welcome…

Visual again – zeroing in on collimation

I tweaked the collimation further on the C9.25 last night. Things look good to me at this point as far as collimation is concerned, but I believe I’m seeing ugliness in the Airy disk. and I’m still not getting the resolution I expect. I will switch to photographic tests soon (actually, video testing) and should be able to save some images and have someone else assist me with a judgement.

In the meantime, observing from about 2.30 to 4.30, with sky brightness ranging from 17.99 at the start of the session, finishing up at 17.65 at the close. Seeing was good towards the zenith, but views of Jupiter were marred by heat ripples coming off the local roofs even this late into the night. Air temperature was about 13°C, and the houses were probably still running 7-10° higher, so I suppose it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

I only tried for two deep-sky objects, M57 and M56. M57 was visible with direct vision even at the highest power (with the Televue 3mm Radian, a ridiculous 781x), but was better with averted vision. No sign of the central star visually, but since it’s a tad below the visual limit of this scope, that’s OK. M56 is a bit of a puzzle. I matched the visual field to the map, but saw no sign of the globular. This may be a matter of matching eyepiece to object, or simply the object being overpowered by skyglow. That or the mount mapping is way off, which is doubtful since everything else was dead center after a GOTO. More later….