Flintstone Stargazing

July 20, 2009

M13-Great Hercules Cluster on 7/20/09

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Equipment, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 11:30 pm

Well, I did some work on my Peltier cooler for my camera and it worked pretty well with one caveat. I added a switch for the fan so I could turn it on and off as desired and I added a rheostat to the cooler so I could set the cooling level. Unfortunately, I don’t think the rheostat I was using is capable of handling the amperage I’m putting through it. It’s okay if I have it at 0 or 100%, but anywhere in between it heats up a lot to the point where I smell something burning. That said, it worked perfectly up until then – I was able to set it at 40% and it maintained the temperature above the dew point, but just barely. What I wound up doing is just setting it to 100% and turning the whole thing on and off to keep the temperature at the right level. I’ll look for a more capable rheostat later this week, if indeed that’s the problem. Any suggestions from electrical folks out there would be appreciated. I’m pretty new at this wiring thing. 🙂

Anyway, it’s a nice night and so I took a long picture of the Greate Globular Cluster in Hercules and now I’m imaging some other stuff. Unfortunately, I probably will not stay up long enough to image Jupiter which is too bad because it seems that there is a dark scar found by a regular cloudynights poster that seems to be an impact of some sort. Unfortunately, I’d need to stay up until like 3 or 4 am to image it.



  1. I happen to know a thing or two about Peltier coolers. Instead of a rheostat, consider using a thermocouple and PID controller. http://www.watlow.com/products/controllers/index.cfm The thermocouple goes between the thermoelectric module and attaches to the controller, which in turn controls power to the cooler. I recommend applying a dab of thermal grease to the thermocouple before putting it in place. Ideally, you should be able to control temperature to +/- 0.1C

    If what I’m saying doesn’t make any kind of sense, then please post a picture of your cooler and camera so I can see what we’re dealing with. If you want to post a picture of it anyway, that’d be cool too.

    Comment by Alamanach — July 25, 2009 @ 2:59 am

    • Oops… I meant to say the thermocouple goes between the thermoelectric module and the camera, and is wired to the controller.

      Comment by Alamanach — July 25, 2009 @ 7:29 am

      • Cool (no pun intended) – thanks

        Comment by Ed — July 27, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

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