Three hours before twenty guests arrive at a dinner party at a Corsican winery, one should not agree to clean and collimate the host's dusty, dilapidated 8 inch Newtonian, in order to show twenty curious guests some exciting celestial objects.
It is located near Bad Münstereifel in North Rhine-Westphalia. Inaugurated in 1972, it was the largest steerable dish in the world until the collapsed Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia was rebuilt in 2002 with a 100 x 110 meter dish.
A direct drive mount (DDM) requires excellent ballance on both axes. There is no clutch or break on the declination and polar axis. A ring of permanent magnets produces torque against a ring of electromagnets in order to rotate and lock the axes.
A sunspot group that resembled a flattened smiley face was located in the southern hemisphere one week ago, during the Mercury transit. Amazingly, a new group in the northern hemisphere looks similar, at least superficially, with pattern recognition in high gear :-)
Several trial runs the last few days indicated that a roll of filter material (black polymer) I have had since the 1999 solar eclipse, was not suitable for high-resolution solar photography. The Thousand Oaks Optical Type 2+ filter, on the other hand, is very well suited for high-resolution solar photography. Unfortunately, my filter was only 90 millimetre diameter, made for the Meade ETX-90. I had to reduce the telescope's aperture from 120 mm to 90 mm. Nevertheless, the resolution decrease...