Sol Summary – Jun 6th

Astronomy Refit Crew – Sol 4, June 6th, 2019

Crew: Peter Detterline

Gary Becker

Peyton Zankel

Cole Armstrong

Ed Thomas


Today got off to a late start at the Hab today. We were out most of the night enjoying the clear, star-filled skies while we had the chance to. Armstrong got his start in astrophotography and I got to knock the rust off my hand-controller skills. It was absolutely stunning.

When we finally got started for the day, Detterline gave Armstrong and me a lesson on image processing. I processed my first colored image using my shots of the Leo Trio taken from the robotic observatory. It was certainly an experience, that’s for sure. Armstrong already had an idea of what to do, so when I left with Becker and Detterline to help clean the solar observatory, he stayed behind to work on making the process to produce cleaner images.

The solar observatory was in need of some maintenance. The crack in the concrete slab has widened considerably since last year. We did not have enough caulk to completely fill the crack. We will need to buy more concrete caulk and we need to get stone for the outside of the building to replace what has eroded away. Other than that, the rest was basic maintenance. The dome rail was cleaned and so was the scope and the rest of the observatory got a good wipe down.

Ed Thomas has also joined us today. He is the owner of Deep Space Products and the individual responsible for selection and installation of the key components of the robotic observatory. Thomas will be looking over the system in the next few days and working to solve some minor issues.

Due to earlier rain, we are not completely sure about how tonight will go for observing. We always hope for clear, beautiful skies, but it could just as well be an early night if the clouds do not cooperate with us.


Musk Observatory

· cleaned walls, floor, mount, optics, and made some minor fixes,

· tested and calibrated the hand control and its spare.

· solar imaging

Training Videos

Cole solved some sound problems so we can start making training videos for the crews on using the telescopes and processing techniques.


Soc = 90% @ 21:00


The focus problem with the MDRS-WF is solved. Although some of the camera screws were too loose and the camera turned during one exposure. Easy fix. Ed will double check it tomorrow.
Crack in Musk Observatory concrete. Looking into using quickrete to fill in the crack rather than caulk, but stone will still be needed outside around the concrete, preferably before winter returns. If the crack continues to widen, the building will become out of round and the dome will not be able to rotate. We’ve already noticed some scraping of the wheels as it rotates.


Picture 1 was taken by Peter Detterline of Peyton Zankel and Gary Becker cleaning the Musk Observatory. Picture 2 is also provided by Peter Detterline of the group of us exploring the night sky last night. Picture 3 is of Peyton’s first attempt at color imaging: the Leo Trio. Picture 4 is Detterline caulking the concrete crack in the Musk Observtaory. This is an image taken by Gary A. Becker. Gary also took the image of Detterline next to the dirty telescope corrector plate at the Robotic Observatory. Yes, it’s very clean now!

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