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NCO and BoonHill Blog
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The Michigan Nebula

Posted by dbock1 on November 1, 2018 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (1)
We're heading into late fall and winter now, so the usual Michigan Nebula will be upon us for about 95% of the next 5 months. I hope we get more than a handful of clear nights during that time, but that is about what we usually get. A handful. In the meantime, we'll attempt to get to as many meetings as possible in the multiple clubs we belong to, during this winter. Doug Bock

2018 Boon Hill Fall Star Party

Posted by dbock1 on September 10, 2018 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)
I'm hosting a star party at Boon Hill, near Cadillac, MI, from October 4th to the 11th, 2018 Rustic camping, so you'll need to bring everything. We have a cabin for warmup. Doug Bock

The New NCO Observatory is up - August 22, 2018

Posted by dbock1 on August 22, 2018 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)
The new observatory was completed on August 22, 2018. It is a 10x10 building with a powered roof. The 10" f/8 RC is installed again, and ready to be used. Here is a time lapse of the 3 day build.

NCO teardown August 4, 2018

Posted by dbock1 on August 5, 2018 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (1)
On August 4, 2018 we had a crew out to tear down the two observatories here at the Northern Cross Observatory complex. The dome was 40+ years old, and the roll off 34 years old. The dome had rotted away about a decade ago, and was no longer in use. The outriggers of the rolloff have degraded and were at risk of collapsing. The roof itself was getting too difficult to open as well.

So we took them down.

The plan is to have a new one built in a couple of weeks on the old platform, then put the imaging system back into the observatory. The new building will have a powered roof, and hopefully will out last me. ;)

Here is a video of segments of the tear down.


Boon Hill Star Party for the Perseids

Posted by dbock1 on July 16, 2018 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)
I'm hosting a star party @ Boon Hill for the weekend of the Perseids.

Building demolition weekend Aug 4

Posted by dbock1 on July 16, 2018 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)
A change in plans. I've decided to have the two observatories torn down the weekend of August 4th. The dome one has been out of commission for over a decade due to rotting wood. That building was built in the 70's The roll off roof one needs to be replaced. So I've invited people over for a tear down Saturday. A new building will be erected later this year, with a motorized roof. I've contracted Backyard Observatories out of Ohio to do the build. They will schedule sometime in August or September, so once I've take down the building, my imaging rig will be packed away, or I'll go mobile with it, until the new building arrives.

Observatory Maintenance

Posted by dbock1 on June 21, 2018 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)
Over the next 6 weeks or so, I'll be doing some much needed maintenance on the observatory. The track and rail system is 34 years old, and needs components replaced, since the outrigger wood has warped over the years. The plan at this point is to run new rail beams, and steel runners. In addition, new doors need to be built. Once these are completed, a new drive system for the roof needs to be designed and built, to allow this old guy to open it up easier. We may replace the shingled roof with a metal roof, to lighten it, and make snow removal in the winter, a bit easier.

I'll setup some working weekend events on the facebook page, soon.

Spring Star Party 2018 at Boon Hill

Posted by dbock1 on May 14, 2018 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)
May 4 - 8, 2018 We had our first star party of the year at Boon Hill. The weather was clear to mostly clear for 4 nights, which gave us an opportunity to do a lot of viewing through the 18" Dob. In addition, I was able to get 3 nights of time lapse images recorded. The first night the dew was heavy, so that nights data acquisition didn't work out, but the next 3 nights did. We also took a short field trip to Paul Murphey's observatory, where he has a new C11 setup in his 8x8 rolloff roof. He asked us to check out the setup to verify all data was entered correctly, since pointing accuracy was giving him a problem. We did our best in the time alloted, and hoped he would be successful that night in getting it pointing well. Back at the club house, Bob Halsall had his 10" SCT setup, and we had to collimate it Saturday night since there were issues on Friday night. It performed very well the rest of the weekend. The weather for the weekend was outstanding with temps in the 60's to lower 70's each day, and at night in the 40's. Very nice observing weather with no bugs. See you next time. ;)

TheSky X

Posted by dbock1 on April 12, 2018 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)
I decided to update from TheSky 6, to TheSky X today. Very different user interface. A couple of nice features right off the bat are the importing of comets and asteroids is a direct link. In 6 I had to go get a file from MPC, and import it into the application. From 10, you just push a button and it gets it for you. Another feature which I won't use yet, but could, if I want the plug ins, is managing the camera and autoguider and plate solving. These are plugins for more money. Since I have SGPro doing all of that I don't need those plugins. However, that is not to say that I wouldn't go that route in the future. The other reason I upgraded is that TheSky 6 hasn't been supported for quite some time. Plus I had to find a 3rd party plugin to get it to run the losmandy mount. I did that over a year ago, and I can still run that version if so desired. I had purchased version 6 about 14 years ago, and have gotten good use out of it. However, 10 is supported at the moment, with updates every few months. I have to hook it up to the mount yet, and will give a report on how that goes and what features I might find, etc. Cheers Doug Bock