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Observing Reports / 24 May Pinnacles, caught that supernova
« Last post by DDK on June 20, 2017, 09:49:37 PM »
Just want to log that I did get to see the supernova in ngc 6946, sn2017eaw.
Partly to thank Steve Gottlieb for the timely prompt. And partly to go about the wonder of seeing a supernova. This one was showing at about 13.0 magnitude, so not hard to see in a medium-sized scope.

This was from the Pinnacles with Johannes, my 13" Albert Highe-built grab and go scope. Was a nice night, limiting magnitude 6.2, seeing good 4/5. Now here's this thing showing as bright in the scope as several of the foreground stars, which would be in our arm of the Milky Way, a few hundred lightyears away. 6946 is 15 million lightyears away, at least 20,000 times more distant. Throw in the inverse-square law, and you get the idea that one of these things really puts out as much energy as its whole host galaxy.

6946 is a mondo face-on galaxy, always worth the trip, along with its neighbor, 6939, a bright spangly open cluster, some 4,000 lightyears away, just for comparison.

That night I got to see Omega Centauri well above the horizon. It was vast, imposing and overwhelming in the 9mm at 165x.
Also took a downtown Virgo tour. And Jupiter was fancy, with 2 brown barges in the NEB, and a sharp fat GRS with round distince edges.
Had the coyotes and the crickets for company. Good sound field.
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TAC Visual / Re: Advice needed for Pinnacles East
« Last post by DDK on June 20, 2017, 08:51:35 PM »
Hey Jeff. The one place I've observed at the east side of the Pinnacles is on the far southwestern end of the campground. Tends to be empty, and it sure is as dark there as on the other side of the park.
There are hills to the northern side of that area, but still plenty of sky overhead.

https://www.nps.gov/pinn/planyourvisit/maps.htm
shows the whole national park.
There's a parking lot at the trailhead at Bear Gulch, I dunno how the hills are around it.
You can poke around at the ends of the roads, see what the parking lots look like. What the rangers are saying now, "it's your park, you can set up where you please." Very cool.
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TAC Visual / Advice needed for Pinnacles East
« Last post by jeffweiss9 on June 20, 2017, 07:50:32 PM »
D.A.R.C. is down for 2 weeks and I'd like to try the Pinnacles East (road closure on the West) for some imaging but I need advice on best observing location there.  Is that at the campground (where Clear Sky Chart is) or up 146 somewhere like the 'peak view point (sounds more likely).  Suggestions or info appreciated.
Thanks,
CS/Jeff
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Equipment Discussions / Re: Help Upgrading Argo Navis firmware?
« Last post by wkf on June 19, 2017, 10:53:09 PM »
I've made some progress as I located my pn-ser-cbl.  However, the firmware fails to update:

I followed the directions in the ArgoLoad program.  I am able to confirm connection from my Mac to the Argo Navis using these steps:

screen /dev/tty.usbserial 38400
% sound


This causes the unit to beep so I know the connection from my Macintosh OS X Sierra to the unit is working fine.  The Argo Navis Serial1 Baud is 38400 and Startup is set to navis.

However, when I put Argo Navis into boot loader v1.0.2 and launch ArgoLoad, all is fine in the executable until I select the file for the firmware upgrade: navis_app301.sgz  Once the file is selected, it leaves a blank white area on the screen where the dialog once was and I get the spinning rainbow color wheel whenever mouse is over the now white area where choose file dialog was or over the ArgoLoad application window.  I rebuilt the ArgoLoad with xCode to use #define SERIAL_DEVICE "/dev/tty.usbserial" instead of default location.

Once the white area appears where the choose file dialog for the firmware file appears, nothing happens no matter how long I wait and I have to kill the locked up ArgoLoad application.  The Argo Navis LED screen never changes from Boot Loader v1.0.2.

Some questions:
  • Is ArgoLoad known to work with Mac OS X Sierra?
  • Is it known to work with Boot Loader v1.0.2 or do I need to update that somehow instead?
  • What else can I try to get the firmware updated?

Steve, will you be at GSSP?  Maybe we can find someone there to help us both upgrade our systems?

I didn't realize that my Servocat needed upgrading too.  I now see that Argo Navis v3.0.0 requires Servocat v7 or later, thanks for alerting me!  I wonder if upgrading to Servocat v7 requires Argo Navis v3.0?
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Equipment Discussions / Re: Help Upgrading Argo Navis firmware?
« Last post by sgottlieb on June 19, 2017, 07:24:09 PM »
I'm also interested in updating my AN firmware, as well as the Servocat firmware.  Has anyone performed this update?

-- Steve
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TAC Visual / Re: Triple double with Cor Caroli
« Last post by sgottlieb on June 19, 2017, 07:20:23 PM »
Cor Caroli was cleanly resolved at 25x using my 80mm finder and even 13x split the pair.  Here's another approach -- what's the lowest magnification to resolve this gorgeous duo?

-- Steve
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Equipment Discussions / Help Upgrading Argo Navis firmware?
« Last post by wkf on June 18, 2017, 10:18:05 PM »
Does anyone have the capability to help me upgrade the firmware on my Argo Navis?  I'd like to upgrade from v2.0.0 to v3.0.1  I've got cables on order but don't have the RJ-11 to RS-232 piece of the hookup.  Would love to do this before GSSP.  :)

The exact cable I need is the: pn-ser-cbl Argo Navis Serial Cable.
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Observing Intents / Peak SW lot stargazing!
« Last post by DDK on June 18, 2017, 04:02:26 PM »
Back to the ole well-regarded longtime default spot.
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Observing Intents / Re: Pinnacles Sunday the 18th
« Last post by DDK on June 18, 2017, 03:58:35 PM »
Well thanks John for the reminder to post a correction here. Phooey, last time I'd checked the Pinnacles NP site, there was nothing about a road closure, so I was feeling all sanguine. Just did check back (unprompted I swear), and yep according to
https://www.nps.gov/pinn/index.htm
right on their front webpage, 146 will be closed 2100-0600 thru June. So stargazing is fine if you want to stay till 6 am.

You said 22 July. That's supposed to be just fine.

I'll head to the Peak this evening! Will be in the SW lot.
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Observing Intents / Re: Pinnacles Sunday the 18th
« Last post by John Pierce on June 17, 2017, 07:02:11 PM »
do let us know how the road and sign situation has worked out, because SCAC wants to visit Pinnacles West on July 22nd...
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