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Greetings from Bill Blevins at the MHO western outpost. We drove down to Cove Fort, UT to view the eclipse last Sunday. From there we had about 2m 30s of annularity. I used the following equipment to capture the video. It was well worth the drive.

  • Televue Ranger
  • Coronado Solarmax 40
  • Mintron security camera
  • DV camcorder

View the video on YouTube

Published in: on May 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm  Comments (1)  

More wiring work, hot as hell

Wiring clean up

The weekend’s project was cleaning up the rewiring done last month.  This involved some much needed lessons in soldering from Tom (I suck at it.)  After finishing the five joints the connections were cleaned up with shrink tube.  The results look much better.

 

It is unbelievable how hot the dome was today.  The outside temperature was 87 degrees, and it seemed much hotter in the dome. More practice was gained in focusing the primary and secondary coelostats.  Standing on the secondary flat structure I actually had a feeling of what it must have been like during the heyday.

I think we can understand why undergraduates choose astrophysics instead of astronomy.

Open Shutters

Published in: on May 21, 2012 at 1:15 am  Leave a Comment  

New Safety Ground for Tower 2, and First Solar Images of the Year

After another incident of a short, a new permanent safety ground has been added. As can be seen, the jungle of cables are next to be cleaned up.  All controls are working as expected, and the sudden appearance of the sun allowed us to open the optical path an obtain the first solar image of the year.

The mirrors now need to be changed, and we will need all hands aboard for this task.

Distal Wiring ProjectFirst solar image of the yearSolar Mirrors in Action

Published in: on May 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rewiring Project Tower 2 at MHO

Sun Through the Shutters

 

 

Last Saturday was another day of rewiring the controls for Tower 2.  The wiring seemed to be a straight forward project, but the process of running wires one at a time left other other original wiring bare and subject to a short. All the wiring will need to be replaced one at time, for the secondary coleostat also.

 

The secondary coleostat is not a crucial to run electrically, as it effects solar declination only, and can be easily adjusted manually. Nevertheless, all deficient  wiring needs to be replaced.  There are some questions as to the wiring of some controls for the secondary   coleostat, and most probably a wiring diagram after completion would be helpful.

 

Once the weather improves, the telescope will be put into use, and the the problems of focus will be addressed. The culminating lenses need to be cleaned. Negotiations with Richardson Gratings continue, and Debra has started a program to look at funding the new grating.

 

One of the larger projects will be to switch the primary and secondary mirrors.  We have current polished ones, and once we are getting images, this will become more crucial. We will need a lot of muscle that day, so planning and attendance will be critical.

 

Matthew Visnaw

Published in: on April 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Busy at work

Dull hazy saturday morning, and everyone was busy at work indoors. A power outage yesterday messed up the sound cards on both the SuperSID (monitoring VLF) as well as the Jovian radio. One of the Jovian radios (monitoring 20.1 MHz) which had been switched to a north-south dipole late last year, has been switched back to the east-west phased dipole, after which both the Jovian radios now connected to the same phased E-W dipole, were re-calibrated. Hopefully this will solve all the issues we have had over the past two months.
Here are some candid shots from the day!

- Sai

Published in: on March 25, 2012 at 1:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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Time to move the antenna and fix the radios tracking 20.1 MHz

There seems to be some problem with the two radios tracking 20.1 MHz. Both seem to have stopped responding to any solar events, while still responding to Jovian events. We had already planned moving the antenna to a place where tower 2 and tower 1 would not block 40% of the sky. I guess the time has now come to do this, as the radio observable window for Jupiter has shrinked to only a few hours….

- Sai

Published in: on March 13, 2012 at 3:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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McMath Hulbert pictures found on Ebay!

A few weeks ago I was searching the Internet for any information on the Mcmath Hulbert Solar Observatory. After many hours of searching (yes, I was bored and it was late) I stumbled across a Ebay vender who specialized in vintage photography. To my surprise this vender, Historic Images, had original B&W photos of the Mcmath Hulbert.

Without hesitation I purchased the following photographs for a very reasonable cost. The are all original B&W press photos and NOT copies as often seen.

wpid-tower3-1946-2012-03-11-18-48.jpg

This is a image of Tower 3. You can see tower 2 in the background. The notes on the back of this photo were stamped: By Detroit news Staff, Photographer Styrlander, Feb 27 1964

wpid-workshop-2012-03-11-18-48.jpg

This is the workshop in Tower 3. This is where we normally gather on Saturday’s. The large machinery is no longer there.
The back of this photograph was stamped Sep 2 1978 with a hand written note: “Machine shop where many of the observatories delicate instruments are made”

wpid-tower1-2012-03-11-18-48.jpg

And then were was the photograph of tower 1 in its last days of active research. This photograph was stamped Sep 2 1978 with the hand written note: “Dr Prince in H-Alpha Flare Patrol Telescope Tower. Other 2 towers visible in the background.

The Flare Patrol telescope is still located in tower 1 but the dome is in much need of repair. The dome is made of wood and the interior boards on the shutters are currently being replaced. From many years of water leakage they had finally given way to wood rot.

Brian
KC8ZBC

Published in: on March 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Saturday 3/10/2012 Project Status

My standard process when we arrive at MHO theses days is to download the Super-SID data from the previous week so that I can upload it to the Stanford ftp site. I’ve not gotten into this system in much detail yet but hope to as soon as the 6 meter repeater is back online. I am planning to organize the VLF radio room and get a couple more receivers online. If we can get a good Internet connection this year I would like to put them online for remote monitoring and to provide realtime uploading to the Stanford Super-SID system.

I’m getting closer to having the old 6 Meter repeater back into operation on 53.9400/53.4400 with 131.8pl. It was running for many years as NE9Y. We will be bringing it back online as K8MHO. There just seems to be a substantial stream of setbacks as I continue. I guess that’s to be expected from equipment that old.

This Saturday I started replacing the power leads to both the transmitter and receiver radios. The wire has become brittle and movement causes cracks in the insulation. I hope to get everything powered up on our next work Saturday and start configuring the new controller. Then I need to onto repairing the antenna which we also discovered had beed damaged.

wpid-repeater-2012-03-11-12-31.jpg

I’m hoping to be able to get a ham friend out after its all together to assist with some final adjustments. (hint, hint, Fred)

We will also be making the McMath-Hulbert ham shack more active. I’ve located a stack of the old QSL cards and how to hoist up a G5RV this spring to give us some greater band coverage then the dipole we currently have. I’m excited about becoming active as K8MHO on PSK31

wpid-ham-shack-2012-03-11-12-31.jpg

Brian

KC8ZBC

Published in: on March 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Glass Slide Project

Workspace

One of the things I found fascinating at McMath is the slide cabinet. There are several hundred original glass slides (emulsion on glass). From what I can tell, these are from the late 30′s and early 40′s.

Damage

The problem is that they were mounted using paper tape and over the years, humidity and heat fluctuation has destroyed many of them. I’m going through them to find those that are in the best condition, and stripping off the disintegrating tape, resealing them with metal tape, cleaning them, and eventually photo archiving them.

Examples of slides in good condition  Examples of slides in decent condition

This is a tedious labor of love at this point, which I look forward to working on at every chance I get. I am discovering some amazing slides. The projector for them is upstairs and I think we’ll have a blast seeing them displayed.

Progress

Current count of repaired and preserved slides: 20

 -Debra Chaffins

Published in: on March 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Clean up on Tower 2

The day was well spent working on clean up of the dome of tower 2, and rewiring telescope controls The wiring was original copper, cloth covered with petroleum impregnate. The only logical way to do this was replace one wire at time through the conduits. The only thing that made it easier is the newer wire is smaller diameter, which makes things go much smoother as work progresses.

 

We seem to have found a solution to the shutter problems, thanks to Brian. That is up for completion in two weeks.  Then,  time to change the mirrors.  Work on obtaining a new diffraction grating continues.

 

Matthew Visnaw

Coelostat Primary Mirror Tower 2

Solar Telescope Tower 2

Published in: on March 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment