25 January, 2009:

Hello and welcome to The Star Deck Observatory!  It's been a couple of months since my last posting of the  News & Updates here on the Star Deck, I've been busy with other things so the News on the Star Deck has  taken a bit of a back seat.  There have been some things going on "around here" though so I'll get to updating  this page with just what some of that has been!

I went back to full duty from my last back fix/surgery the last week of November, and all has been going fairly  well in regards to that situation.  I was still working during most of the recovery time though, just putting in time  at the HQ shuffling papers & running errands......  Limited Duty, hate it but it beats the alternative!   Going back  to my "regular" schedule meant I had a lot of stuff to catch up on, on the chores & honey do lists, so my astronomy had to take a back seat for a while.  I did manage a few nights out, but still have about a dozen  exposures left on the current roll of 35mm in the OM1 so hopefully I'll be able to get that completed this month yet.

I always take nearly the entire month of December off, I usually do!  I take off for the forests and fields in  December, it is about my favorite time of the year to be out there, no bugs, easy walking, and you can see from  one ridge to the other with the vegetation down for the Winter.  That pretty much shoots December for getting  much time out on the Star Deck, add the mostly cloudy nights we had these past couple of months & you get  not much star gazing or photography for me.

I'm hoping to update some of the pictures of my Star Deck setup and equipment up on the album next month.   I have and am still in the process of making some changes to my equipment.  As I had stated in an earlier  update I have completely refurbed the Orion SVP 8" Newtonian.  I have been working with Robert Royce and  made a new atypical curved vane spider for my Newt.  I have been through a couple of minor changes in  design and materials, but think I have the set up I am going to be sticking with for now.  I'll post more on that  along with some star test photos in another article at a later time.

The troubles and problems I have had with Vixen Optics Customer Service & Vixen Japan Customer Support  regarding the Vixen GPD2 German Equatorial Mount are pretty much past history now, in the end they did  pretty much nothing for me.  I performed the necessary work and repairs to get the Vixen GPD2 German  Equatorial Mount performing up to standard myself.  Since then it has been performing very well and I am  satisfied with it's performances, the mount has, as I have stated, quality components.  Now that I have brought  it up to where it should have been out of the box it is proving out to be a very good mount, just wish Vixen  Optics & Vixen Japan had been part of the fix instead of the problem!  You can see a write up on what was wrong with the mount, how it was fixed, and the poor responses I
received from Vixen in the article "My Vixen  GPD2 Mount Problems:" found here and on the Star Deck's Reviews & Reports page.  I have acquired a couple of photos  since I fixed the mount as you can see from them found Here & Here I have the mount tracking as well as the  LXD75 does on it's best days

On a last note to this updates page I have made the leap!  A large format camera has been on my want list for  some time now, I was looking closely at the QHY8/Q453 camera for a while.  I also had been eyeballing  another Hutech Modded camera, the Canon XS 1000D, but both of these cameras would have come out well  into the $1500.00+ range by the time I purchased everything I deemed necessary to have them as functional  as I would like to have them.  I ended up coming across the used Hutech Modded Canon XT with nearly  everything I deemed necessary for my astrophotography camera for less than half the price of either of those  cameras so I bought it.  I was out with it for the first time under the stars last week you can find the results from  those first 2 nights out in the new "Hutech Canon XT 350D Type 1a DSLR Astrophotos" album. 

Clear Skies!

Mark Jordan
39 47' 06" N. X 85 46' 10" W.

Clear Skies!

Mark Jordan
The Mad One
39 47' 06" North X 85 46' 10" West

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