“Why in the world did you name a telescope after yourself?” I get that question a lot, either verbally or from the way that people look while I am talking! Well it is simple, a friend of mine named them for me. He called me one day and said “Temple 20 is finished, come up and have a look.” I responded “Temple 20? What is that?” He just started using this designation so I stuck with it. Temple Research Observatory got it’s name because everything else I could think of was already being used!
Around 5 years ago Temple Research Observatory acquired Temple 28, an 11 inch Celestron CPC on a homemade wedge. So for the last 5 years there has been an epic struggle to get it up and running like it is supposed to run. There has been maladjusted gears, the telescope falling over and various other hardships. After trying for 4.5 years to follow the “conventional thinking” of how to set up a Celestron CPC the results forced a change to unconventional thinking.( Links to previous articles)
The balance point had been changed to accomodate a heavy camera before I got it. So instead of trying to achieve a neutral balance, like you normally do, I weighted the front. Added more weight to the West side, not the east! Added a lot of backlash in Declination…lots of backlash! Cranked up the amount of movement in each Declination pulse as well. Stopped trying to get PHD to work and stayed with Maxim DL 5 to guide. Went with an external guider (Orion ST-80 telescope and ZWO 120 mm camera) instead of the internal guider. The internal worked but it had trouble finding guide stars especially when filters were used. No problem finding a guide star when you have an 80 mm short tube telescope as a guider! After getting the tracking and guiding fixed the image would migrate from the left to the right of the image over a night. So after several hours using PHD drift align it was Polar aligned.
All of this is counter to the “common” wisdom of setting up a telescope for imaging. The learning curve is already steep but when the solutions run counter to this wisdom then it really takes a long time to figure it out. Dean Koenig of Starizona really helped with balancing techniques and advice. My astro buddies from the west have always been very encouraging and patient as well!
Above is an image that was taken 7-01/02-2019 at TRO. It features Temple 28 with the ST-8E camera, clear filter and control with CCDCommander. It is 50 images of 120 seconds each stacked and processed in Maxim DL 5. After 5 years of frustration it was all worth it!
There still needs to be better cable control, as well as new dew heaters made for the guider scope. Temple 28 is still very rough looking and though I don’t care as long as it works, it could use a bit of sprucing up. Overall, the results of the last few nights lead to “The Triumph of Temple 28!”