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My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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« Day 190 Sunday 5th October - Problems with Cloud. | Main | Day 188 Friday 3rd October Lightning strike. Is my equipment damaged? »

Day 189 Saturday 4th October 2014 Effects of the lightning strike

I spent the day assessing the damage from the lightning strike. 

The laptop that I used to control all of the equipment had stopped communicating. The ports were dead. I was able to charge it by using the charger from the charger for my other laptop although the plug only fitted loosely - but it did the job. It had a higher current rating than the "dead" charger 

I set the laptop to rebot in safe mode to see if I could see what the problem was. When it rebooted it went through a text sequence on the screen asking me if I wanted to open windows normally, with networking or in safe mode. Whichever option I choose it goes into safe mode and the screen goes black. Going into "safe" mode killed the laptop completely - I cannot use it. Checking the internet for black screen solutions convinced me that you are getting advice in most cases from people who have no idea about computers at all. Going to Microsoft puts you into looped problem solving that has never worked once for me.  Another laptop death I think! I always store data on an external drive and have most of the laptop content stored on my cloud service.

I spent quite a while setting up the other laptop with drivers for the various bits of kit and also changed to my other 30m powered cable that I normally use with my CGEM and Canon 40D. 

At the end of the day:

The telescope is fine - I can connect and control it 

The camera and filter wheel are fine - I can connect and take images.

The focuser will not connect. I have set up ASCOM and the TCF-Si drivers but I can only see as far as the USB to Serial Cable - the software cannot detect the focuser as though it is not there.

There has not been a single clear night recently although the days have improved.

I suspect that the input circuits to the focuser have been damaged by the lightning. This is an excellent piece of kit that is also very expensive and needs to be ordered from the US. Just in case it is a driver problem I have contacted the US manufacturer and am waiting for a reply. If it does not work I do have a manual Crayford focuser that I will need to use instead.