~Deep Space Images by Annie Morris~
It's been a few years since I have blogged and in that time we have moved to Idaho, we bought some acreage in pretty dark skies (though by a small town for convenience), I built my dome observatory (Star Stalker Observatory), and so many other things. I thought about going back and writing a blog about the observatory build ... that might come down the line ... for tonight I wanted to share how an excerpt of how my brain operates when I am imaging. I typed these up last night around 4:30am in my first imaging session in a couple months (thanks to endless clouds whenever the moon was away) to answer the "How's did it go" text I knew I would get in the morning. Normally I completely adjust my schedule and operate on the opposite of the rest of the world, but due to a few factors recently I couldn't entirely swap my schedule before this week's imaging runs. As such, I went into the week of imaging knowing that I would be tired until I adjusted.
More rambling later, on to my Internal dialogue:
I started imaging at 10pm, I should have 6.5 hrs of data to check. Yay!
Wait, I have been checking each image as it comes through every 15 min, I don't need to check them again.
I should check them again *checks them* Hrmm, how do I only have 4.5 hrs of data *scratches head*
Oh, right, I had it focus every so often and that takes time. I also threw out 5 frames as my guider occasionally loses its mind for a second and ruins a 15 min frame, and I paused at 2 am for a bit as I put the slide off roof back on, ok, makes sense.
Waiiiiitt ..... is 900seconds REALLY 15 min *looks skeptically at clock and giant countdown timer on imaging software* ok, fine, time is still time.
I need sleep.
I really need to adjust my polar alignment again, I have some overall drift even with guiding ... not tonight, during next bright moon when I can't image *remembers that I have said this every single time I have imaged for the past year and never remembers to actually do this come full moon, puts into calendar*
Yay, new sub just came through *instantly checks it as I have every single frame that has come in since 10pm* Yay, pretty. Stars look good. No airplane in the frame. Yippee.
Want to sleep. Is it sunrise yet? No? Dangit. I mean, Yay, more imaging time. But dangit, I am tired.
Ok, forecast is supposed to be good for next 3-4 nights. Stay on target whole time? *does internal calculations about total exposure time for each filter* Yeah, stay on target. If I lose about as many hours for focus and other tasks as tonight I should have 30hrs of data by the end of the week, that should be a nice picture.
Definitely too tired, giving up for the night, and by that I mean I will definitely be spending the next hour doing calibration and shut down tasks and wiping down the electronics cause the dew is bad. So I can sleep in an hour. Yay. *goes back to the observatory, gets some calibration frames going, transfers files from the night to the network drive, dries off what needs to be and closes up dome.*
So, yeah, that is roughly how my brain works when working non-stop all night. Data last night looked decent and tonight's session is currently going and looking even better than last nights. I should have ~13 hours of Hydrogen-Alpha data on the Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405) after this evening with, hopefully, 3 more nights ahead of me. Here's to clear skies ahead!