Compare an image taken with guiding on versus an image taken without guiding (Fig. 1). Both were 1200s exposures with the telescope near the zenith.
Steps to get guiding working
At the moment, it is a bit involved.
- Acquire a target for the principle instrument.
- At the telescope, remove the SBIG-4 camera from the GAM.
- Loosen the screw above the camera, not to the right.
- Turn it less than 1/4 turn, to loosen. It doesn’t need much.
- Pull out the camera.
- Hang it on one of the wires around you.
- Insert the CCD-Acquire-Eyepiece
- This is located in the supply cabinet in the warm room.
- It has an illuminated reticle.
- Tighten the set screw gently but firmly. (go figure that one out)
- Move the AutoGuider field of vision to a blank region of the sky using the GAM controllers (+X, -X, +Y, -Y). Don’t move the pointing of the telescope itself.
- Take a dark frame.
- Re-insert the CCD camera head, swapping out the eyepiece, of course.
- Press the Take Dark Frame button on the SBIG-4 controller.
- Swap out the CCD camera head with the eyepiece once again.
- Aquire a guide star
- The CCD-Acquire-Eyepiece should be in the GAM, where the CCD camera head usually is
- Centre on a bright star (experience required) again using the GAM controllers (+X, -X, +Y, -Y). Don’t move the pointing of the telescope itself.
- Use the illuminated reticle (turn the know to turn on) and dead-centre the star.
- Exchange the eyepiece for the CCD head. We are done with the eyepiece.
- Focus the guide star
- Set the exposure to get around 50 counts
- Calibrate. Takes a minute or so.
- Commence tracking
That’s it! Much of this procedure is subject to change, if and when the SBIG-4 controller is connected straight to a computer, making the eyepiece swapping and focusing moot.