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Final Session with Meade 8" LX200-ACF Telescope;
Goodbye Old Friend

Posted: 7 February 2016

Open: Saturday, 6 February 2016, 1835 MST
Temperature: 59°F
Session: 918
Conditions: Clear, breezy

1840 MST: viewed M42 (the Great Nebula in Orion), 83X. Some nebulosity was visible with the sky still bright. I then prepared the Nikon D7200 DSLR for prime focus imaging of M42 later.

1915 MST: for my final session with the Meade 8" LX200-ACF I decided to take the "Tonight's Best" AutoStar Guided Tour. Used the Meade 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece (83X). Viewed the following: M42 (Orion Nebula), the red star Mira, the Double Cluster (open star clusters), M45 (Pleiades star cluster), M41 (open cluster), M37 (open cluster), M38 (open cluster), M34 (open cluster), M36 (open cluster), M35 (open cluster), M82 (galaxy), M79 (globular cluster), M31 (Andromeda Galaxy), M52 (open cluster), M32 (galaxy), and the planet Uranus.

Next, slewed to the star Betelgeuse, which would be the focus test star. Added the Antares f/6.3 Focal Reducer and mounted the D7200 DSLR using the TPO 2" Camera Adapter. (Looked out of the observatory and saw that the Zodiacal Light was very prominent again this night.) Did the focus test image using the Spike-A Bahtinov Mask.

I then did a series of 30 second exposures of M42 (Orion Nebula) at various ISO values. This is a merge (using Photoshop) of one exposure at ISO 800 (to capture the stars at the center) and the other exposure at ISO 12800 (to capture the extended nebulosity):

Click or tap on image for larger version

This was my final astrophotography with the Meade 8" LX200-ACF.

2012 MST: took my last look through the 8" LX200-ACF. Of course, it was M42 at 83X. It was a lovely view.

I then powered off the 8"LX200-ACF for the last time.

Close: Saturday, 6 February 2016, 2033 MST
Temperature: 51°F
Session Length: 1h 58m
Conditions: Clear, breezy

And so I ended my last session with the Meade 8" LX200-ACF telescope. I had received the telescope on 15 October 2008 and it had its "first light" that night. You can read my initial LX200-ACF reports from 2008 and 2009. First light for the telescope in the observatory was 18 August 2009. This photo of me next to my 8" LX200-ACF was taken in November 2009:


The telescope was removed from the observatory Sunday morning, 7 February 2016. This is the sad empty Cassiopeia Observatory without a telescope (temporarily):


The telescope will be cleaned and boxed up. I will take it to OPT on Tuesday, 9 February, for trade-in on a new Meade 12" LX600 telescope.

I have thoroughly enjoyed using the 8" LX200-ACF telescope over the past 7 years and 4 months. It has been a wonderful scope that has performed admirably. Goodbye old friend and I wish you "clear skies" at your eventual new home.

Now it is time to start the next stage of the Cassiopeia Observatory upgrades. I hope you will come along as I document the upgrades on my Cassiopeia Observatory web site.

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