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ISS with D7000 on 8" LX200-ACF; Faint Galaxies Observing

Posted: 8 June 2012

Opened the observatory Thursday, 7 June 2012, at 1918 MST, 93°F. The sky was clear and the wind mostly calm. At 1924 MST, viewed Saturn, 77X, 5 minutes before sunset. I then updated the ISS TLE for the night's long and high ISS pass (elevation 89°). At 1940 MST, I resumed viewing Saturn, 206X; no moons visible. 1943 MST, Titan became visible. At 1950 MST, viewed Saturn at 133X; moon Rhea was now visible. 1953 MST, Tethys appeared. 1954 MST, Dione appeared.

At 2000 MST, I began preparations for the upcoming ISS pass to start at 2022 MST. Mounted the D7000 DSLR at prime focus of the 8", attached the Bahtinov Mask, and did a focus test exposure on Spica. Then locked the focus and checked the finderscope alignment. At 2005 MST, saw the first of many Kissing Bugs for the night.

The ISS pass was a good bright one with good tracking most of the time. The ISS rose almost straight up from the SW horizon. As the ISS neared the zenith I had to rotate the dome 180°. I lost tracking on the ISS as it went through the zenith and didn't get back on track until it was about 45° elevation on its way down towards the NE horizon. Here are some images from the 7m56s HD video, 1/2000sec, ISO 2000, upscaled 200%:


At 2046 MST, I returned to Saturn, 77X. At 2050 MST, viewed M95 galaxy to check on the supernova SN2012aw; it was still visible using 77X. Then went to NGC4424 galaxy and checked on supernova SN2012cg; it was also still visible.

Next, I used Observer Pro on the iPhone to select several faint galaxies for viewing and possible imaging. During my review, I kept being interrupted to deal with Kissing Bugs. At 2201 MST, I completed my review and began observing. Viewed the following faint galaxies at 77X: NGC5395, NGC5371, NGC53583, NGC5676, NGC5474, NGC5669, NGC5678, NGC5566, NGC5638, NGC5746, NGC5750, NGC5713, NGC5437, NGC5985, NGC5921, and NGC5861. I added 15 of these to my imaging list. During my time observing these faint galaxies, I also dealt with more Kissing Bugs. I ended DSO viewing at 2247 MST. The rising waning gibbous moon was brightening the sky.

Closed the observatory at 2312 MST, 72°F. During the night, I reduced the worldwide population of Kissing Bugs by 8.

Comments are welcome; use the Comments section below, or you can Email Me. Thanks.

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