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Monday, January 25, 2010

More Mars (with olive oil)

No podcast this week. I have two excuses: 1) Computer problems (a long, sad story), and 2) we were once again out in the Sabine Hills. Above is another look at the olive grove QTH. That solar panel thing on the right is an automatic weather reporting station installed by the Region of Lazio. Those trees behind the weather station are olive trees.

We had clear skies this past weekend, and with Mars approaching full opposition, I had the telescope out. We got some better views of Mars than we had last week. When the atmosphere (ours!) would settle down a bit I could make out some of the dark "canali." The Northen polar cap was very visible. The moon was bright (first quarter I think) and so I was wondering if we'd be able to see the M31 galaxy in Andromeda. Even with the moon close in the sky, I had no trouble finding the galaxy using my old Soviet-made 7X50 binoculars. We also looked at the North America nebula in Orion's sword (very appropriate as we had Canadian friends with us).

My telescope (above) has a simple but effective Dobsonian mount. (This system is named for the amateur astronomy guru John Dobson -- interesting guy.) The 'scope basically slide on teflon pads. These pads need a bit of lubrication from time to time. Mine were getting a bit sticky, so I started to look around for something to to grease the teflon. The solution was literally all around me:

Worked like a charm!

Also got on the air with the HW-8 and worked stations on 80, 40, and 20, including two QRP stations.

1 comment:

  1. A natural solution straight from your environment! I was once caught high in the Afghan mountains with a baulky multi-fuel stove - the kind with a little pump to pressurize the fuel. The pump was sticking and in need of lubrication -- with no olive trees in sight I needed another solution. I found a bit of nose oil diid the trick!

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