Having woken at 4am this morning a quick glance through the window showed stars is abundance. There aren’t many things that will get me up at ‘Stupid O’Clock’ but Comet ISON is one of them. However…..the wheels started to come off from the start!
The mount decided to loose its alignment model, so did a cold start and tried to rebuild it. Unfortunately, the Red Dot finder batteries were dead, so it took two attempts at finding the first alignment star through the scope without it. Even with the 40mm, this proved tricky and I had to do a couple of circular searches until what I was looking for passed into the FOV. Once the model was rebuilt – with only 4 alignment stars – I slewed to ISON.
Diddly squat. At 6.8 mag it should have been an easy find. I tried to remember how the cometry data could be updated, but assumed that adding ISON to the list did this. It looks like all this does is add the object, but with the last set of data that was uploaded. As this would have been a few weeks ago and I couldn’t find out how to update the ephemeris, a few more minutes of careful staring , made me decided to pack it in and close up.
It wasn’t until I got back in and hunted through the menus, that there is an ‘Update Comet Data’ tick box in the ‘Refresh Objects from Catalogue’ drop down buried under a couple of other ‘Right Click’ menus. When I did this and compared the old and new positions, I still should have seen ISON, as both were showing in the same FOV of the 14mm. If ISON was in the FOV then it certainly wasn’t observed. Either that or the pointing was off enough that it wasn’t in the FOV at all. I did think of this at the time and did a quick slew to Vega, which wasn’t far away. While not smack in the centre of the FOV of the 14mm , I re-centred it, did a ‘Sync’ and slewed back to ISON – but still diddly.
A rather disappointing session 🙁