The evening started out innocently enough. Comet LINEAR was on my mind. I started the camera up, plugged in the computer, and went to crank the roof of the observatory back. Now, ordinarily, I have a protocol I go through after each observing session. First, I park the mount and rotate the OTA into a horizontal position. Then I roll the roof shut. Well, last time I observed I decided to move the scope to a vertical orientation (after the roof was shut). I had read somewhere this would help the lubricants in the scope, or something like that. This, however, left the CCD camera precariously in line with rafters in the roof. As I cranked the roof open (not paying attention to the scope orientation) the CCD camera caught on a rafter. I felt the resistance, and assuming it was just the rollers catching on the rails, I cranked even harder. As the force became too much, the corrector plate shattered in a horrible crunching sound. I wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn't come. Now, it's off to Celestron. I am confident they will get me up and imaging as quickly as possible. Let this be a lesson to me! Fortunately, I have a spare C8. No wide field imaging for awhile, but I needed to concentrate on f/6.3 imaging anyway.
Well, after only five weeks (and two major holidays) my OTA is back from repair. My hat's off to Celestrons repair facility (and a special thanks to Rodney and everyone else at CI). Preliminary tests indicate all is well optically and mechanically. It was a long wait, and I am glad to have my good friend back in one piece again! Ironically, it has been mostly cloudy since the disaster occurred. And now, to the stars!