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Observatory winter prep and tune-up


Everything needs some TLC from time to time, especially after 4 years of exposure to the elements. The observatory is no exception. When I rolled back the roof one evening during the start of a routine remote imaging session, something didn't appear to be right. "Roof Status: UNKNOWN" was flashing on the screen. At that point I connected to the camera to get a live view, and it appeared it had opened all the way, but it looked as if it was a few inches further in than normal. That is when I closed everything back up and called it a night.

I paid a visit last Saturday and did a quick inspection. First thing I noticed was the top of the rails had gathered a thick layer of rust. The roof this time opened just fine, but I noticed the sensor wasn't making full contact. It was about an inch or so off.

I decided to treat the rails by wiping off the rust with a wet kitchen sponge, wiping them down with paper towels, and finally applying a coat of motor oil that I found in the shed.

For the sensor, I removed the top contact point and moved it about an inch to the right. It appears that shift happened slowly over time, as the wood was settling.

Before