First look at Pan-STARRS C/2011 L4

It’s been a fairly blue day and I had hopes of glimpsing Pan-STARRS.  I went out after sunset, and between the crescent moon and the sun is a beautifully textured but mostly opaque mass of cirrus.  Quite a lovely evening but not a glimpse of the comet through the binoculars.  I was helped by Callie … Read more

Time repairs

Periodically there’s a thread on the AstroPhysics forum on why the scope isn’t exactly on target, and sometimes a lot off target, after start up and un-parking.  There are lots of mechanical reasons for this:  if the optics of the scope are not parallel to the scope’s axis (“unorthogonality”); flexure of the scope in relation … Read more

NGC 2775

On a rare clear night, I wanted to improve the auto-focus routine, and spent some time getting it pretty close,  Then I picked a promising object somewhat at random, which turned out surprisingly well. NGC 2775 has a very tight spiral structure with very fine detail that reminds me of M63, the “sunflower” galaxy, but … Read more