And up and down the roller coaster, with my recently acquired Simak 240, and off we go with another test run. I knew that the collimation was really bad, but I just wanted to test the focuser.

I had had some trouble with the JMI PCFC driver in combination with a certain USB port on my computer. Somehow, after a while, the focuser would simply stop responding. Since all I needed to restore the connection was a reboot, I assumed that there was a software bug that would interrupt the USB connection.

So I asked Samuel to move the focuser to a different USB port, and last night it worked fine. Let’s hope it will keep working in the future: the last thing I need is more trouble with this setup!

Unfortunately, Samuel was unable to fix the collimation of the telescope, on his last trip to Nerpio. This is not because of his lacking of skills, but simply because the both of us didn’t realize that the pinching of the optics was not related to the collimation screws at all.

After an email exchange with the manufacturer of the telescope, Romano Zen, whom I thank for the time he took to help me out, it was clear that what we actually need to do is to disassemble the mirror to access the grid that holds it in place, and loosen it.

I seem to be in good luck (oh, the irony!), because another customer of AstroCamp’s, Roland, offered to help me on his trip to Nerpio, today. He has a Takahashi collimating telescope, and that will be crucial, since the weather is predicted to be really bad in the next few days, and he won’t be able to perform a star test.

I seem to have received a lot of gratuitous generosity, recently, and I’m really grateful to Samuel and Roland for it!

Roland has promised to work on the mirrors, loosen them, and then collimate using the Takahashi telescope. It will be like a blind man painting, given the absence of real stars for testing, so I hope I’ll be in for a nice surprise when the weather clears!

Finally, let me spend some words on NGC 2403.

It’s a an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Camelopardalis. NGC 2403 is an outlying member of the M81 Group, and is approximately 8 million light-years distant. It bears a striking similarity to M33, being about 50,000 light years in diameter and containing numerous star-forming H II regions. (source: Wikipedia)

The Wikipedia page mentions numerous star-forming H II regions, and the following Hubble image processed by Robert Gendler really shows them well:

When my telescope is collimated, I will acquire some H-Alpha data and then borrow color information from somebody.