Indian Hill Observatory
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We Observe - by A. Mallama
Update March 7, 2004
The Valley SkyWatcher Magazine
A Publication of
the Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society
P.O. Box 11 Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022
Bank - $1,688.38, Petty
Cash - $44.00, Total - $1,732.38.
1. Paid $16 phone bill.
2. Made $300 land payment to Keith Richards, balance at $8400.
3. Received Form 99 from IRS. Want to know our income from last year and
our total assets. Income from last year was $10,300 a large part was from
donations for the new observatory. Club estimates our assets are at less
- Dan, Steve, and I checked
out the problem with the electricity usage up at the Hill. It seems that
there is indeed a small load on one leg of the circuit going up to the Hill.
The best explanation at this point is that we may have nicked the insulation
on the feed line to the main building with a shovel. This probably occurred
when we moved things around to install the electrical supply to the dome
this summer. We will have to wait for drier weather to expose the cable and
possibly splice in a new piece. This appears to present no safety hazard
at the moment and the extra KWH usage is small enough to ignore for the time
- Wolfram Kiparski and
I shoveled the snow off the roof of the warm room and fired up the 16 for
a little observing and to check out Wolfram on running the scope. He seemed
to get comfortable with the computerized pointing very quickly.
- Jim Brownfield and
I repaired a wire cable end on the shutter operator for the dome. The attachment
point was tightened too much during installation and had cut several strands
of the operating cable. A new end loop was formed around a wire rope thimble
and a Nicropress fitting was used to close the loop. It helps to have worked
with sailboat rigging.
- I installed a homemade
electronic control and a simple Visual Basic program that permits the dome
to be rotated from the warm room PC. This program spins the dome right or
left and can also engage the motors for a second or two and then wait for
a configurable period of time. This gives an approximate siderial rate of
rotation to the dome. We tried it during a night of imaging and it worked
- A 75 ohm video cable
was pulled through the duct from the dome into the warm room. This can serve
several purposes. At present there is a .0003 Lux video camera with an F/4
lens mounted on the side of the top dovetail plate on the 12 inch scope.
Live video from the dome camera can be shown on the warm room PC displaying
the orientation of the dome slot and the scope. This permits visualizing
where things are without any additional light needed in the dome.
- The 12 inch LX200 was
given a brief checkout after its reinstallation during a night of imaging
by Joe Petrick, Jim Wolford, and myself. The scope is tracking well and Joe's
STV had no problems autoguiding it. We will do some further checkout and
tweak the polar alignment when we get some more clear sky.
- The one tree interfering
view of Polaris from the 12 inch was taken down by Jim Brownfield recently.
- Joe Petrick has ordered
a new SBIG camera and is going to donate his current Meade Pictor 416 (Blue
enhanced KAF402E) camera and filterwheel to the club. We imaged with his
old camera that night and with the exception of a sporadic problem with the
SCSI driver for MaxIm, everything was working reasonably well. All the imaging
work and data acquisition was done across the local area network from the
warm room under very comfortable conditions.
Director of Observations
For Bob’s complete observations
report please visit the Monthly Sky Calendar
on our website.
Besides Bob' report, we talked some about the upcoming Venus transit. John
Gorka noted on March 28th at around 3AM there will be 3 shadows from its
moons on Jupiter's face.
Observations for past
Bob Modic viewed Comet
Linear a few times in February. This was predicted to get up to 1st
or 2nd magnitude in May, but so far it is following behinds predictions.
Marty, Joe Petrick, and Jim Wolford did some imaging at the Hill using the
12". A few others took advantage of some rare clear nights and did some general
Getting together material
for the next issue, which should be before the next meeting.
All members of CVAS and the OTAA are encouraged to contribute ideas, articles,
images and observation reports for possible inclusion in future issues of
this monthly update and in the quarterly editions of The Valley SkyWatcher.
- Light Pollution - Larry
Boros put together an article for Mentor's Chamber of Commerce newsletter
called "Smart People - Dumb Lighting". John Gorka reports that a business
in Chesterland put up flood lights in violation of the city ordinance. The
city contacted the owner and now he keeps the lights off at night.
- Steve Fishman, Larry
Boros, Vicky Ford, and Dan Galdun had volunteered to teach a group of girls
at Mayfield Middle School the basics of Astronomy in preparation for a competition
to be held at Cleveland State on February 28th. The group took 2nd place
at the competition.
- Dan Rothstein, Larry
Boros, and Ian Cooper had another meeting with the Geauga Park board on the
new installation for the 25" Oberle Telescope. The park district has big
plans for the project with cost estimates over $200,000. Besides having a
building with a roll-off roof for the telescope, they want to have a warm
room for meetings, viewing pads, restrooms, a paved parking lot, etc. They
want to use to place for other things besides just the Oberle Telescope,
such as having a weather station, seismograhph, solar telescope, hiking trails,
etc. No decision has been made as to where to place this at. When the
weather gets better plans are to visit the possible sites that the park owns.
They plan to go after grant money and local business to pay for this project.
Another meeting is planed for March 22nd at the West Woods park at 7:00PM.
Larry handed an Accessory list for the installation and a proposed layout
for the roll-off roof observatory and warm room.
- Grants - Larry Boros
put together a Proposed Mission Statement for the club. The main thing is
how to differentiate ourselves from the Geauga Park district since they plan
to go after grant money as well. The Proposed statement is:
The missions of the Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society include:
a. Provide an
inclusive and affordable support group for all members of the general public
who become interested in learning about the natural wonders of astronomy
and about making and using astronomical equipment.
b. Support public
and governmental organizations in building and running observations facilities
that provide astronomical viewing to the general public.
c. Make available
personal expertise and personal and society owned astronomical equipment
to events held for public viewing a both private and public sites.
d. Build, maintain,
and operate an astronomical observatory comlex that allows members to have
hands-on training in using manual and computer controlled telescopes for
visual and instrumented observing using film and digital imaging.
to the scientific body of astronomical knowledge in areas including solar
events, lunar events, planetary events, asteroids, comets, variable stars,
and deep space phenomenon.
f. Support other
similar public astronomy organizations.
g. Provide education
on improving outdoor light quality while reducing light pollution.
- Went over calendar - Added
two new star parties on June 25th and July 9th. These two parties
are at Mentor Headlands beach, parking lots 9 and 10. Setup is at
8:30PM, with the public being there between 9 and 11. A Frontiers
of Astronomy program is on Thursday, March 11 at 8 PM at the Natural
History Museum. This is on "Looking for Earths: The Race to Find New
Solar Systems". Dedication of the new observatory with Keith Richards
present will be done at either the May or June CVAS meeting at Indian
- Skip Westphal donated
a large Hubble picture of Mars to the club and Rick Trembour had it
matted and framed. Plans are to hang this in the warm room at the
- Dan Rothstein plans on
doing a night time night survey for the new Oberle telescope that
the Geauga Park is putting in on the night of March 19th or 20th.
- Dan Rothstein plans on
looking into separating our taxes for the land at the hill from Keiths
taxes. Should be able to do this. Once this done, we should be able
to get a tax exemption for our land.
- A new Lake Park liaison
for the club will be starting next month. Thanks to Pete Pucella,
Lake Count Metropark Naturalist for assisting CVAS these last few
- Larry Boros handed out
a calendar of events sheet.
Had 2 visitors who were
checking us out.