I have endured a run of frustrations resulting in losing at least 3 nights of deep sky observing!

It started with what I thought was a malfunction with the no 1 Watec camera, I swapped to the no 2 older unit but the image was poor and although I located Hickson 71 in Bootes, the view was poor, grainy and showed too many hot pixels so I didn’t sketch.

The following day my friend and technical support for the observatories, Es Reid came over and we changed BNC leads, the ends break up and lose connection very quickly and power supplies. I wish I could get profession good fitting examples of both!

Es pronounced all was good after daylight testing. The evening was clear so I got going; it became immediately apparent that we hadn’t cured the issue with number 1 camera, this manifest itself as a ‘star bleed’ on the monitor whereby the star ‘flared’ out in one direction. After talking this through on the phone to Es, testing connections, it turned out to be a faulty monitor! Having 3 more it wasn’t an issue so I swapped the BNC lead into the back of one of the others and al was well.

No sooner had I ended the call to Es than the AWR control software developed an issue saying objects high in the sky were below the horizon! This isn’t that uncommon so I re-booted the lap-top and switched the mount off and back on again, this invariably cures the issue. On this occasion it didn’t! Now I’m pretty IT thick! Some say thick in other areas too!  The result was that it terminated another session without a pencil having even been poised.

Es kindly returned to Chipping the following night (17th April) on his way to an imaging group meeting and investigated the software settings which involved going in the ‘the factory’ settings to tell the software were it was working. Once this had been done everything was back to normal…woohoo

Better still the evening remained clear allowing me to back on the Hickson trail. Shortly before midnight I caught up with HCG 71 in Bootes, a lovely 4 galaxy group, dominated by a wonderful central spiral NGC 5008 of mag 12.4, structure readily visible on my monitor, to the 11 o’clock position was an attractive edge on with prominent central bulge orientated N-S, IC 4382 is designated as the b member and glows at mag 14.8. To the NW of the field is a faint PGC galaxy not associated with the group. See my sketch here

After Midnight I caught up with the 2nd Bootes  Hickson, HCG 69, this was my 50th observation and sketch of the groups, halfway house. Not as attractive as 71 consisting of 4 faint members centre field in my sketch magnitudes are all high 15th to mid 16th mag. (a) & (d) members are a pair of almost touching edge on galaxies, (b) is the largest member and looks to be a face on spiral. A pair of unassociated PGC galaxies sits off to the west, this is a busy region of the sky when working with a large aperture. See my skech of Hickson 69 here

Pleased to be back on track again after frustrations that really gets me down! Here’s to the next 50 🙂 Dale