It all started so well!
So I was up on Pine Mountain Oregon, at the observatory, the supernova was ready, and the sky forecast looked good!
I showed people saturn, and they thought it was cool.
I showed them Titan, the most distant object with a manmade lander, and they loved it!
Sure it was a lousy image as it was just about to set, but for those who had never seen saturn before, it was still really cool!
Then, as I still had the digital SLR at prime focus, I turned the scope to the trifid nebula, and then M22, in both cases giving wonderful images of a nebula and a globular cluster!
After that the troubles started 😦
I was having terrible trouble getting the deep sky video camera to play ball. Mind you it was a terrible strain on the poor old laptop, which by this time had manycam, an external webcam, an internal webcam and the video capture software from the DSVC going.
To make matters worse it wouldn’t work at all with the netbook. GAH!
The clock ticked on as I tried to sort out the problems while intermittently trying to explain what was going on to the blogtv room which has some 1000 people in it. – no pressure!
Eventually I figured it was a conflict with the microsoft webcamera. Aha… in business at last! Then another disaster, the scope had powered off with all the cable pulling. GAHHHH. No problem I can just realign. However while repositioning the laptop I realized the DSVC was no longer working. NOOOOOO! NOOOOTTT NOW!. On further inspection, the cable had ripped the connector out of the video converter that came with the camera. I mournfully looked at the ripped connectors, knowing that it was now impossible to deliver what I had promised 😦 .
Could I mend it? Maybe at my best, but these four sub millimeter connectors that needed resoldering. Not a chance of doing it in the dark, on top of a mountain, with gloves on in the near freezing windy weather in less than half an hour. I starred in beleaguered disbelieve as how but for a slight tug on a cable a 500 buck video camera was now rendered helpless. Having decided the video camera was a hopeless situation I formed the best contingency plan I could. ‘Well, everything else might have gone tits up, but I can still do a live shot of the supernova through the digital camera.’ So I roll the now aligned scope around and shoot M101. The frame come out a peculiar red. ‘No, NO, that can’t be! it’s up there, I can see it, the seeings not that bad, why do I only get this washed out red crap with only the slightest hint of a core of a galaxy’. Needs must when the devil drives, and it was clear that the supernova was all but the brightest thing in the field, and I managed to compare it to previous images. It was a very disheartened Thunderf00t who ended the blogtv show that night. The wind had gotten up, and moisture had started to coat thing, increasing the windchill. Cold, tied up in cables in the dark and all alone atop the mountain and burdened by not having delivered what had been promised. I ended the show and turned my mind to packing up. The sky was now very poor, with it only being possible to make out the brighter stars.
Then as I was packing up, I came to put the lens cap on the telescope, and all of my troubles with the later imaging became clear.
Oh yes, I had pulled the bonehead maneuver in spectacular fashion. The corrector plate was covered with dew/ice.
My only redeeming thought was, with all that moisture, there was nothing I had that could have prevented that level of dew/ ice up. The even sadder irony is on inspecting the deepsky forecast again. ITS ALL THERE! Just look at the humidity prediction on the deep sky forecast at the top. Gah! The Bonehead Maneuver!