An Unexpected Journey

Almost seven months ago Watcher suddenly became a lot wetter than it was designed to be. You can read all about it in this post. Since then, the Watcher team has been meeting regularly to plan repairs and upgrades. As the Watcher team is 9700km from Watcher, this is not an easy task, but with a lot of help from our colleagues at Boyden Observatory, we were able to organise the necessary repairs.

At the start of July, Prof. Hanlon asked me to join the servicing mission and travel to South Africa. Of course I jumped at such an amazing opportunity! Due to some scheduling conflicts, the trip would have to take place during the first two weeks in July; just three weeks to get everything ready!

I had already done extensive research into upgrading Watcher’s filter system, so implementing this upgrade would be one of my main objectives. Over the next few weeks, we finalised our upgrade plans and ordered the new parts. This wasn’t easy on such a short timescale, but thanks to the very kind people at both FLI and Astrodon, that really went above and beyond the call of duty, we just about got all our new parts on time.

The Andor camera arrived back from it’s refurbishment in Belfast late last week. I’ve packed it up along with the new filter-wheel and filters in a flight-case. It’s small, but maybe not cabin-baggage small; I might have to press my luck to keep this thing in my possession at all times during the journey to Boyden.