Friday, February 10, 2012

Deep Water, I'm Well Over My Head Now

I knew from the start I was wading into deep water,
turns out I was wrong.
I now realize I've been floating on the surface of a bottomless lake and 2 weeks ago my boat sank.
It started with a dyslexics person's worst enemy, a 400+ page software manual.
What I've learned  
during this project is when you're a novice at anything
 and you choose to start with advanced gear instead of beginner equipment, the learning curve goes from steep to vertical, or in my case it feels like it's overhanging.
We decided to go with Maxim DL Pro software to run our complete set-up including the telescope, dome rotation, auto focusers, camera, guider camera and image processing.
 Maxims manual is written with the assumption the reader is knowledgeable about astronomy and observatory/telescope set ups, so I spend  a lot of time referring to the glossary to figure out many of terms used in the manual.
My  friend Paul is  helping me  comprehend all this information. Paul and I  are completely opposite in our learning preferences, he likes to research and understand the outcome of clicking a tab, while I click the tab and try to figure out what just happened.
Between the two of us we have had some success! 
The warm room computer now communicates with the telescope, both cameras and the auto focusers, this was the result of a lot of reading, downloading 64 bit drivers, unloading then re-loading some software and what felt like some good luck.
Paul will also be invaluable for setting up our observatory/warm room start-up & shut-down routine and the image calibration check lists that will have to be compiled, posted then followed every evening .
So it might be a while before you see our 1st photo. If we get really stuck I'll be reaching out to an astronomy student in Duluth or making a run to the  Thunder Bay Observatory.

No bobcat photo though, we have over a 1000 photos from the 3 game cameras running 24 hours a day, deers, squirrels, birds, bunnies, vols and mice but no bobcat.  Pat had a sighting within  the last 2 weeks but I think we scared it out from under the cabin. Will keep setting cameras, who knows what we'll see!. 

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