Viewing time period – 21:30 – 00:37
An impromptu invite from Mark Radice to head out to Salisbury Plain and observe, tempted me to pack the car with me travel scope. This would be the first time I had taken my new travel setup out and so it would prove to be both a shakedown for the scope itself and a practice for me to see if I could remember everything.
So with the car full I headed off to Salisbury Park, the service station on the A303 to meet Mark and Lawrence.I arrived slightly early due to good driving conditions, Mark a short while after then Lawrence in his very large Land Rover with his new special Ursa Major number plate.
A short chat and then we headed off to Salisbury Plain near the shooting range. On turning left into the range we headed up and out onto the plain with its wide open and pleasantly hight with great horizons, parking up in the dirt and dusty car park again on the left.
I started to setup around 9:30pm, however 3 other friends of Marks turned up and pleasant chats ensued. Over the course of the next 2 hours I setup the scope from scratch, chatted about astronomy to my new friends and tucked into some brownies from Mark to celebrate his birthday and some coffee from Lawrence which was very nice indeed.
Mark setup his fantastic bino chair which looked like the gunner position of the Millennium Falcon, which I did not get chance to use unfortunately due to the time it then took to setup.
Meanwhile on the setup scope front, I polar aligned ok and then connected to the QHY168C CMOS camera to EZCap on the Mac. I could cool the camera down and take a preview, however I could not use the Capture page to take an image, it just came out black. I tried everything including applying different histograms. Anyway, I sort of gave up and even restarted the software to no avail.
However the most channelling part of the evening was the Flares being used by the army, the tracer fire and the convoy of trucks speeding past us several times and kicking up dust.