The night of wednesday and thursday morning was when it all came together. This is when I was sizing up what the kit I had could do, gather the knowledge to actually do stuff. The problem comes is it almost worked too well, to the point where I was drowning in data. I have two laptops capable of timelapse, one camera capaable of whole sky timelapse, videocams n webcams capable of going on the back end of the scope as well DSLR that can mount up on the scope. Sure it’s great having those options, but it’s almost too many options.
Plus I’m still a noob at the processing, particularly of the deep sky stuff. After many an hour of fiddling I managed to get Deepskystacker to play ball with me:
With the deep sky camera I want to give folks an idea of what they will actually see at the eyepiece. With the other stuff over the period of a day or two I managed to put together some moderately good ‘whole sky zooms’
The night of Thursday was a COMPLETE BUMMER! So I decide that finally, I need a night of sleep, so I just rolled out of Ridgecrest to the hills above it. Nice quiet area, looks to be used for motocross (albeit very rarely). Same place I stayed the first night. Beautiful night, not as black as the first night, but still very good. I charge all the batteries up for the DSLR. They run for about 3hrs, so I have to get up every 3 hrs to change the batteries, but hell, that still looks to a solid nights sleep to me. This time I take off the lens guard which was preventing me getting the full 180 degrees. The night was warm and fresh, although the dust gets up your nose every now and then. Indeed it was so pleasant that I just got out a sleeping mat, and slept on the ground int he desert. I love that sort of thing, waking up intermittently to see the Milkyway directly overhead, and spanning from horizon to horizon in a silver arch. The time lapse ran solidly from sunset to sunrise. Perfect, every movement timed, every footstep placed, a flawless executions, till I get down to the town and take a look at the piccies. Turns out it wasn’t properly focused: GAAHHHHHHHHH. GAHHHHHHHHHH. GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! To further rub salt in the wounds the dark sky forecasts look poor for the next few days. Dammit! I needed that footage! It was then I realised that I had probably left the wide angle lens for the webcam up on the pass. Its only worth about 30 bux, but there is no real chance of finding one on the road, and none whatsoever in Ridgecrest. I decided in the end to head up to the pass, for the third time. I could see the weather looked fairly intense and brooding over the mountains. The weather was some of the wierdest I’ve ever seen. In the valley is was 40 or so mph winds, very strong. However by the time I got up to the pass, it was dead calm. Found the lens, took about 30 second. A big relief. But the wierd thing was the clouds appeared to be static. Never seen anything quite like it. Usually clouds can always be seen to move against foreground objects, but not these clouds. They were moving incredibly slowly. I set up the wholesky timelapse as it might look cool! Shortly after dark it started to rain, turns out only a few drops, but it’s impossible to tell how things are going to go in the mountains when you can’t see the clouds. I took the camera in. A mistake as it turns out, but there were thunderstorms within 30 miles. After that the clouds burned off somehow, and I set the timelapse up again. DAMN! I want whole sky, dusk till dawn! Still had to get up 3 times during the night to change the battery, but no big deal.