Quick update on testing the Mach2 imaging and the Stowaway visual

Roland Christen

Hi Astronuts,

After an entire month of very bad weather here in the Midwest, we finally had a break in the clouds. The month of May had a record rain and on all but 2 days there was rain. Nevertheless, I had 2 chances to observe with the Stowaway and one chance tonight to do some imaging.

The more I use the Mach2 the more I'm a believer! This is an awesome mount. I have my 130GTX with QSI camera and Quad TCC. The Stowaway is on top. What I usually do is power up the mount, connect SkyX and slew to a known star. Couple days ago i went to Izar which is a 2.8 arc sec double. The sun was not quite set, but i could see the star in my 4.8mm Nagler as a lovely perfect little pearl with faint companion. A really beautiful sight. The Mach2 is so accurate that the star appears in the Nagler eyepiece every time I send the mount there. It doesn't matter if i start from a park or any random position, the star always appears in the same place. I can loosen the clutches, swing the mount around to any place, do a bit of balancing, tighten the clutches and slew back to the object and have it right back exactly where it was before.

In the Stowaway in late twilight bright stars are perfectly little round orbs with one faint diffraction ring. I can see why people love their small refractors, stars look like they're supposed to, even if the seeing is not perfect.

Once twilight ended, I sent the scope to M101 to do some imaging while testing PHD guiding. While transparency is poor (heavy moisture in the air) the seeing tonight is reasonably tight, a 4 out of 5. PHD2 is doing a good job keeping the guide star within a radius of 0.5 arc seconds over several hours time period. RMS guide error is running between 0.15 and 0.28 arc sec. The 10 minute exposures of M101 show stars of 1.1 - 1.3 pixels which is just under 2 arc sec. FWHM. Some of the best I've seen this season. The stars are perfectly round. I will post some results tomorrow

I can't wait to get some of these mounts out in the hands of you amateurs. Whether beginner or expert, you will find this mount to be the cat's.

(gotta go close up the observatory, clouds are moving in).

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