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Saturn & Porrima, M68, Path Lights

Last updated: 22 June 2011

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The strong winds had not yet returned so I took the opportunity for some more imaging. Opened the SkyShed POD Tuesday, 21 June, at 1906 MST, 100°F. The sky was mostly clear with a few clouds low in the northern and eastern skies. At 1915 MST, viewed Saturn in the 26mm and 15mm eyepieces. The bright double star Porrima was in the 26mm eyepiece field-of-view along with Saturn so I decided to image both with the D7000 DSLR at prime focus of the 8" telescope. This first image, taken at sunset, 1/200sec, ISO 800, clearly shows Saturn (bottom) and Porrima (top):


After the sky darkened, some moons of Saturn began to appear. This screen capture from SkySafari 3 Pro identifies the moons as well as Porrima:


This photo, 1 second, ISO 1600, shows the moons of Saturn (left to right): Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Titan, and Iapetus:


I then imaged the globular cluster M68. It was not ideally positioned as it was low in the southwest, but I wanted to capture it before it got lower in the sky. This is a slightly cropped, 30 seconds, ISO 6400, unguided, exposure:


The CFO (wife) had purchased 6 (3 sets) of the Red Solar Powered Flower Lawn Stakes from Collections Etc. to illuminate the pathway to the observatory. I tested one under dark skies and it worked well. It was not very bright and the solar charge lasts the whole night (at least in the summer). During the day on Tuesday, 21 June, I installed the remaining five. Just before closing up the observatory for the night, I took this photograph (10 seconds, ISO 1600) showing three of the pathway lights (the red light is overexposed), the interior of the observatory dome, and some stars just above the western horizon:


Closed the observatory at 2110 MST, 80°F. Terminated four Kissing Bugs during the evening.


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