Sunday, December 9, 2012

La Palma Night 2

Last night started with a leisurely tutorial in ACAM use since it was so cloudy & all (could see Sirius...briefly...) and then it cleared up. Some. I started with the highest priority objects. Observing is mostly that. Strategize, plan, prioritize, accurately tell the telescope what to do.
In that way it reminds me of flight school. None of the particular tasks in the cockpit were that difficult. Each of them can be done easily. By a trained monkey. But you have to do *all* of them. In order. At the right time. Efficiently. And that is very much the case with observing as well.

Tonight is a good night. Clear, everything is working great (knock on wood) and I racked in the other Priority 1 objects (well most of them) in short order. Time to doubt my strategy. Should I expose longer? Are two filters enough? With three I can make RGB images. Always good...

And I messes up slightly, I queued a pair too early (meaning we observed it not when it was at its highest point in the sky but still climbing. Rectifying that now.
There is some high cloud coming in so I will slot my cirrus special: an extra exposure in each filter to make sure we get enough photons.

In the meantime, I have not been idle. The raw data from last night has been converted into B/W images (bias subtraction, flatfielding and stacking, nothing more fancy). It reacquainted me with IRAF and its quirks some...

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