Thought I'd share my latest 'Seniors Moment' with you.
I'm in the very early baby steps on my journey into Astro-photography and I've recently discovered that the Orion Nebula is visible from my yard for the next week or so, and as that was the target I'd picked for my first outing with my modded EQ6 mount I was rather chuffed. My yard is pretty treed-in but I have a clear window from the SW to NNW. Beauty, thought I'd have to travel.
I've fitted the SynScan upgrade kit to the mount and it's now NEQ6 Pro spec, so I thought I'd better give it all a trial run. Set it up in the lounge room, did a rough polar alignment, as in 'South is thataway' and turned it on.
Went through the initialisation process and decided to do a trial 2 star alignment. Picked the first star and hit 'Enter' and away she went, with a little whine and no grinding of gears, so I must have got the motors fitted right. YeeHaaaa !!!! With a break in the clouds, I'll be outside tonight.
However something didn't look right with where the camera was pointing. I looked at the mount and realised that it was about 45° off where it should have been. I tried about 6 more alignments using different stars and all gave the same result. My camera was pointing South to that bloody big tree in my yard.
I looked at the set-up, looked some more, went and had another look at Stellarium, (if you want a closer look at the night sky, download it, it's brilliant) poured a glass of Chardonnay, had a think, had another look, and another glass of Chardonnay, and the penny dropped.
I had diligently initialised the mount with all the correct data, including the CURRENT TIME, 15.30, however had Stellarium set to 21.30, about 6 hours ahead. Set Stellarium back to the current time and the camera was pointing pretty damn close to where it should be.
Derr, what a dumb mistake to make.
Only a couple of hours of frustration, and I bet I won't make that mistake again.
I'd like to say that skill, intellect, and experience prevailed here, however I believe that the thanks go to McGuiggans Black Label Chardonnay, from one of the Hunter Valleys finest vineyards, for helping me get back on track.