RECON Observation Checklist – Condensed

Telescope Setup:

  • Took care to spread tripod legs evenly to avoid breaking plastic spreader bracket?
  • Tripod spread, braced, and leveled?
  • Telescope mounted on tripod and bolted down?
  • Diagonal, eyepiece, hand control attached?
  • Telrad mounted?
  • Power cable attached to fork arm handle and plugged in?
  • Telescope powered on?
  • Lens cap off?
  • Dew shield attached if needed?
  • Telrad aligned with telescope?

 Camera System Setup:

  • Focal reducer attached to camera?
  • Power and data cable connected to camera and secured to fork-arm handle?
  • Data cable connect to VIDEO IN on IOTA-VTI?
  • Cigarette lighter cable connecting battery supply to both IOTA-VTI and camera cable?
  • Gray USB video cable connecting VIDEO OUT on IOTA-VTI to laptop?
  • Laptop on?
  • VirtualDub software opened and configured?
    • Press letter “P” to shift from green screen to preview mode
    • Disable AUDIO

 Telescope Alignment and Focusing:

  • Telescope on?
  • Using GPS signal?
  • Telescope aligned using UP and RIGHT arrows for final approach to objects?
  • Alignment confirmed by pressing ENTER to get to CPC Ready prompt?
  • Telescope focused for camera using Bahtinov Mask?

Recording Position Data:

  • IOTA-VTI set to Full Screen?
  • Recorded 5 seconds of lat/long position information?
    • Switch IOTA-VTI to POSITION setting
    • F5 to start recording
    • ESC to stop recording
    • Swich IOTA-VTI back to TIME setting
  • Recorded filename and description in Observation Log

Finding Target Field:

  • Used GOTO RA/DEC to move to target field or to first star train object?
    • Determine systematic offset in direction and distance using star train objects
  • Alternatively, used PRECISE GOTO
    • Enter coordinates and follow instructions to center reference star before telescope slews to correct position
  • Star field confirmed by identifying recognizable star patterns?
  • Target star not near hot pixels?

Recording Occultation:

  • Camera sense-up configured to recommended setting 5 minutes before event?
  • Target star appears focused and not near hot pixels?
  • Used F5 to start recordings and ESC to stop recording?
  • Confirmed data being recorded using information at top, bottom, and right side of VirtualDub window?
  • Recorded filename, description, and sense-up Observation Log?
  • Kept breathing throughout all previous steps?
  • Re-emphasized to self and others that all data is valuable regardless of whether occultation is observed?
  • Listed all participants on the Observing Logsheet?

Recording Flats and Darks:

  • Turned off telescope and recorded 2 minutes of drifting stars?
  • Covered telescope and recorded 2 minutes of dark field?
  • Recorded filenames, descriptions, and sense-ups in Observation Log?

Take Down

  • Turned off power to telescope, IOTA-VTI, and camera?
  • Exited VirtualDub and shut down the laptop?
  • Stored camera, IOTA-VTI, telescope accessories, and cables in accessories box?
  • Capped both ends of telescope while in horizontal position?
  • Stored telescope, Bahtinov Mask, and dew shield in telescope crate?
  • Altitude clamp loosened for travel?
  • Closed all three tripod legs at the same time without breaking plastic bracket?
  • Latched webbing on tripod legs?
  • Thanked all of team members for contributing!