- Ville Puoskari
Preparing for the coming season
In the summer there isn't much to do here in Finland if you are an astronomer. The sun almost never sets so astronomical darkness is gone for many months. I always use this time for upgrading my telescope and doing maintenance on the observatory. Because this has been a routine for me for many years I built a dedicated workshop in my storage that has all of the tools I need for part making, cleaning and regreasing, soldering and PCB making, etc. It also has a lot of shelfs and other storage space that I can keep my tripods and tools I dont need so often. My fiancé is also happy because there is no more bits of my telescope prinkled across our kitchen.
This years biggest upgrade has been the mount. I decided to get rid of EQ6 because it just wasn't good enough. I bought a Losmandy G11 with OnStep steppermotor kit. I haven't had a chance to test it yet but it feels like a quality mount with little to none backlash. It is also built like a tank as almost everything is made of metal. I bought it second hand and the seller didn't have worm gear covers so I had to make my own from thin aluminium sheet. They came out great, although they arent the most aesthetically pleasing.
I re-routed all of my cables on the telescope to make them less likely to get caught on anything when the scope is moving. I also cleaned everything because the scope was quite dusty because it had been in the observatory for two years. I was suprized of how many mosquitoes and spiders had gone inside the camera fan, but they didn't seem to cause any cooling problems as the camera worked just fine before the cleaning too. Now that everything is nice and tidy the scope is ready for another two years in the observatory.