Stellar Skies trip report – February 22, 2019

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After 10 month absence, a visit to Stellar Skies was long overdue.

My flight there was an omen of things to come. Austin was covered with heavy clouds. Also a first for me, and a first for our pilot, who was on the job for forty years, we had to abort landing twice. There were two military planes landing ahead of us. It turns out military planes can decelerate faster than a commercial plane. We got too close for comfort so we had to abort… twice. Not a good feeling, I do not recommend it.

I met my son in Austin and then we drove to Llano for some Cooper’s. (one of those days I will try Miller’s)

We also visited the Red Top Jail

We arrived at a very windy Stellar Skies so I was only able to do a quick drone fly-by. You can see the changes since my last visit below.

April 2018
February 2019

The observatory work was very frustrating. My main objective as to repair the roof and the rotator. Both of them not responding remotely.

It took a few hours to figure out that the roof motor was plugged in to my dead UPS. In the meantime I re-installed drivers, fixed my scopes parking position, re-wired the cat-eye, never once thinking that the reason might me simpler…

The rotator failure was due to a worn out cable on the power supply. To fix that I had to remove the heavier than I remembered scope. I was in the process of removing the versa plate, so I can thread the new power supply through the mount, when the versa plate screws broke off.

And with that, the trip was over. Although Terry (actually Terry’s wife) was kind end enough to get us a screw extractor I had no replacement screws. For all you Paramount owners versa plate screws are expensive 😦

So the original plan was abandoned. Terry performed an amazing field repair by splicing the old and the new cables of the power supply. At least the observatory is up and running for now.

On a bright note. Jarret appeared as he always does. So we spend the rest of the night on his observatory looking at the sky.

Until we meet again….

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