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Charles Dunlop's Blog (62)

Switching to ACP

CCDap is so unstable. Actually going to try the free program Steve Coates turned us onto tomorrow, but man CCDap is just unstable. When it works it's awesome when it doesn't it blows a night, and it seems to be 50/50. ACP apparently much more stable.

Added by Charles Dunlop on September 25, 2012 at 4:20am — 4 Comments

personal hubble

Wonder how much it would cost to have your own like 20 inch orbiting telescope.

Added by Charles Dunlop on August 5, 2012 at 6:23pm — 4 Comments

Mars one

OK, these guys are actually doing this. Would you go?

Added by Charles Dunlop on June 26, 2012 at 7:58am — 3 Comments

I made it into scientific American!!!

Not too big a deal, but I'm pretty stoked. Irony is, I share a step mother with David Goldstein but I've only met him once or twice. funny.

Added by Charles Dunlop on May 16, 2012 at 10:44am — 2 Comments


Added by Charles Dunlop on May 16, 2012 at 10:43am — No Comments


I was out for six months with nonstop fog, and then Trevor got it with bad weather for like 5 months, and now, just when my new observatory, solid pier, paramount, off axis guiding with rotator... and now, fog rolls in three days now. It's thick fog that never leaves. It's going to rain on thursday that'll clear it out, but it'll just build back up again.

This is caused primarily by La Nina, or colder than normal ocean temperatures. They say La Nina lasts two years on average, this…


Added by Charles Dunlop on April 22, 2012 at 8:41am — 2 Comments

New deck and observatory install

Got the deck taken out, and my buddy and his small crew put in an 18 inch round pier with a T base 5 feet deep. The dirt in my hill is super strong and solid, and I'm guessing that pier base isn't moving at all if much at all. Just levelled the J bolts (except he used screws with flat square 3 inch plates on the end. It'll be solid. So, that part is done. Monday they install the actual deck, should be done my tuesday. Wed. my observatory shows up. Can't wait.

Added by Charles Dunlop on March 30, 2012 at 3:49pm — 100 Comments

Last light

Tonight will be my last night shooting with my observatory. Goodbye, or rather good riddance. Since I've had a dome my productivity per night has gone down a lot, driving me nuts. Firstly, had a six month fog bank so no telescoping, then when I got back on my CGE pro was acting funny and not tracking in DEC. That drove me nuts for months. Things are better now, Paramount ME is tracking like a champ, and thus everything is working again.

So here's what the new observatory will…


Added by Charles Dunlop on March 27, 2012 at 10:11am — 10 Comments

Urinal, a new observatory, and a more stable pier

Today my automated technical innovations PD10 shipped, be here next week. From now until then mostly cloudy nights, so I'll take the setup down when convenient in next two days, and rip out my deck, and put in a better more stable pier. Will drill a new hole, square it, cement it up and attach an appropriate bisque manufactured pier. Pretty stoked to move on this.

Here is my new urinal, about 20 feet from my observatory. :) Urinals are nice to be sure, and I went roman emporer style…


Added by Charles Dunlop on March 26, 2012 at 6:00pm — No Comments


What you guys think of this? I could scoop it up right now, with a rotator and be super ready to roll and guide off axis. Thoguhts?

Added by Charles Dunlop on March 19, 2012 at 12:09pm — 41 Comments


i'm engaged!!!! First time for me. Her little sister and mine are best friends, she grew up about five blocks from me but I never met her. She graduated from Berkeley and lived in san Fransisco for six years after and just returned to Laguna, and we met and boom, never been more sure of anything in my life.…


Added by Charles Dunlop on March 7, 2012 at 8:23pm — 12 Comments

Deep Sky instruments RC 14 inch

This is a very nice OTA. Secondary mirror is the focuser, that is very nice. And it has heaters controlled by PC plus coolers. Wonder how real that spot diagram is, CDK might not agree, but I like this design better than any design that needs a focuser in the OTA. Eliminate flexure to be sure. Love this scope, eyeing a custom 16 inch version of it, but don't have the money, shocking!! :)

Added by Charles Dunlop on March 4, 2012 at 5:57pm — No Comments


Got two pretty good shots, mount is definitely tracking, REALLY tracking. Shooting at F10 on an 11 inch Edge HD SCT. Forecast to have clearest skies ever for a few days. So last night I didn't go out with the boys in liue of telescope time, and what happens? Fog. Thick gnarly fog that kept me out for six months last year. Unreal if I finally, after a year of tribulation with the CGE pro, finally come out of the woods and am in fact tracking like a stud, and all of a sudden boom, shut down…


Added by Charles Dunlop on February 24, 2012 at 8:55am — 1 Comment

AT 12" RC

Anyone think this is a decent optical tube? Compared to planewave DCKs or AG optical, or deep sky instruments that all go for much more money, just over double at the same size, i'm interestd to know why and if this scope doesn't have the manufacturing quality. It's made by Guan Sheng Optical Co., Ltd in Taiwan. Thoughts anyone?

Added by Charles Dunlop on February 19, 2012 at 3:04pm — 8 Comments

stable setups

Dave made a comment about how when you change out toys, the scope always seems to have an issue. Boy we all know this is true. It always seems like your best shot is when you're stable with a particular configuration for a few sessions to where it's becoming routine. I've gotten so many toys and changed up so much in the last period here, that now I'm really sort of focused on stablizing the setup. I do not want to move or change anything for a bit, and actually get some nice…


Added by Charles Dunlop on February 13, 2012 at 2:12pm — 9 Comments

Paramount MX, or ME

Anyone heard anything about the paramount MX? We all know the ME is awesome, but the MX was launched and I haven't heard squat about it.

Added by Charles Dunlop on January 20, 2012 at 9:30am — 9 Comments


I'm not planning to ever bail on astrogab. It's not expensive to maintain, and I've learned so much from this site and am not done learning. No way am I leaving astrogab despite rumors.

Added by Charles Dunlop on December 6, 2011 at 9:33am — 22 Comments

Clear Skies

Apparently i've got clear skies all next week. Hopefully it materializes my setup works great and nail a shot per night, that would be really nice.

Added by Charles Dunlop on June 10, 2011 at 10:44am — No Comments


Mazatlan sucks. I'm feeling really sorry for the people there, drug wars stopping tourism, the city is falling apart, it's super sad. But the town is going criminal in a big way as regular folks are being financially pressed to the exteme Aweful to be walking through there knowing what' coming for those people. Horrible.

Added by Charles Dunlop on June 5, 2011 at 7:06pm — 2 Comments

Hope everyone in twister window is ok

How did everyone do in the Midwest in twister zone? That storm looks outrageously bad, hope everyoe is ok.

Added by Charles Dunlop on May 25, 2011 at 11:02pm — No Comments

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