Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society
This document was derived from images in my Power Point presentation that was shown to CUAS on April 12, 2018
The motivation for this project was the need to keep an astronomical object centered in the eyepiece during our monthly Family Skywatch open houses. Drive motors needed to be added. We were spending more time recentering the object as it drifted outside the field of view than the public was getting time to view the object. Sometimes an inexperienced guest would grab the telescope and move it off of the target necessitating reacquisition. It was also hoped that we could use this telescope to take time exposure photographs of dim objects. When I joined the club three years ago, I was very excited to start using our equipment. I envisioned attaching my camera and taking long exposures of dim distant galaxies. Imagine my disappointment the first time I visited the dome to find one of our members being very unhappy because the polar axis had frozen up and the telescope wouldn’t move. Clearly improvements needed to be made. Thus began our year and a half long project. As a research engineer at the U of I, I was accustomed to figuring out how to do things that no one else had ever done before. But, I have never done a project like this before and had great trepidations over how it would all turn out.