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NGC2336 Galaxy, Leo Triplet Galaxies, Jupiter

Posted: 20 March 2014

Opened: Wednesday, 19 March 2014, 1819 MST
Temperature: 81°F
Session: 665
Conditions: Clear, calm

1827 MST: viewed Jupiter, 83X. Three moons visible before sunset. Took a brief view using 222X; seeing not good. 1836 MST: sunset. 1848 MST: the four Galilean Moons were now visible against a darker sky. Then began waiting for astronomical twilight to end (1957 MST). Prepared D7000 DSLR for 8" telescope prime focus imaging using the Off-Axis Guider. Added f/6.3 focal reducer to telescope. Wireless AutoStar II batteries were low, so swapped to fresh ones.

1938 MST: viewed the Leo Triplet of Galaxies (M65, M66, NGC3628), 2" 24mm UWA + focal reducer. All three galaxies visible well inside the same field-of-view. Then slewed to Regulus, which would be the focus test star. Mounted the D7000 on the telescope. Did the focus test image.

2000 MST: the Winter Milky Way and the Zodiacal Light were nice this night.

My first DSO imaging was of the circumpolar galaxy NGC2336. As I prepared to take the first of 15 images, I discovered a problem with the Vello ShutterBoss Timer Remote. The wireless receiver did not work. The cable to the camera did not seem to fully secure in its jack on the receiver. Will have to troubleshoot it during the daytime. I was able to use the ShutterBoss in wired mode to control the camera mirror and shutter.

I did 15, 2 minute, unguided, ISO 6400, exposures at prime focus + focal reducer. The images were stacked using Lynkeos for this effective 30 minute exposure of NGC2336:


A couple of times during the imaging of NGC2336 the neighbor to the northeast turned on his horizonally aimed, unshielded, bright floodlight. Fortunately, the light was on only briefly.

I then slewed to M65 and began some framing test exposures of the Leo Triplet. After getting good framing, I did 15, 2 minute, unguided, ISO 6400, exposures at prime focus + focal reducer. Some of the images trailed during the unguided exposures. The 9 best images were stacked in Lynkeos. This is the 18 minute effective exposure of M65 (top), M66 (right), and NGC3628 (left):


2126 MST: completed DSO imaging. The eastern sky was beginning to brighten due to the soon to rise waning gibbous moon.

2148 MST: viewed Jupiter, 83X. Only three moons now visible. Had a good view of Jupiter, 222X. Began setting up for iPhone 5s imaging. Did some 30 second, slo-mo video (120fps), 444X using one of the 2" polarizing filters. Stacked 3527 frames using Keith's Image Stacker:


Then viewed Jupiter, 444X + filter. Nice view with lots of details visible. Using 222X (no filter), the view was really good.

2213 MST: viewed Mars, 222X. It was too low for good seeing, however, some surface details were visible: North Polar Cap (NPC), dark areas (especially Syrtis Major), sunrise clouds. Then viewed Mars at 83X; surprising good view with the NPC and Syrtis Major visible. This should be a good season for Mars viewing.

Closed: Wednesday, 19 March 2014, 2236 MST
Temperature: 55°F

I heard back from Meade. The replacement for the bent 2" diagonal eyepiece holder screw should ship soon.

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