The Celestron 14″ Edge HD Optical Tube costs £9k – GULP!

My suggestion of donating a few of the kid’s less important organs to pay for a C14 fell on deaf ears so rather than buying one, I’m hiring one for a few months. On Monday I picked up a C14 from Alex Gill’s farm in deepest, darkest Wales and last night I got to try it out.

The C14 weights 21kg

The weight of it is the reason Alex doesn’t use it much anymore… and I can totally see where he’s coming from. The arse factor of setting this up and tearing it down is immense.

Alex lives on a bortle 3/4 farm in darkest Wales

Alex about to give Storm a kiss (lucky girl)

Don’t tell Alex but while I’m waiting for Dave from Dark Frame Optics to finish our special mount project the C14 is going to have to sit  on my far too small for Big Bertha red Avalon Linear. Getting the scope on the mount requires the kind of drugs that only female Russian weightlifters have access to. Even so I managed it. And getting the scope to balance requires some additional counterweights which had to be improvised ( I can’t show you a pic in case Alex sees😉). The giant planet looked good but soon began to go dim… and then really dim. Could it be clouds?

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 I carried on for two hours shooting an increasingly fading king of the planets.  I NEVER have a dew problem in London but turns out the 15 inch diameter corrector lens is prime real estate for any passing droplet that fancies condensing. The front of the C14 was a lake. So I mopped it up and then  put the heated dew shield on (thx Alex) hooked up the home made dew heater power thing (thx Alex) and cranked it up to the max.

The dew problem was no more BUT now the wind was catching the dew shield and my little red mount stood no chance of preventing Jupiter from dancing around all over the place. Even so at 22.38 I managed to get this shot of Jupiter. I know @peachastro#2809 can do better but fingers crossed it was poor seeing rather than me that made the difference.