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Jupiter; NightCap Pro M42;
M100, M99, M98, NGC4216, and Other Galaxies

Posted: 30 April 2014

Opened: Tuesday, 29 April 2014, 1820 MST
Temperature: 77°F
Session: 679
Conditions: Clear, breezy

After doing some non-observing work in the observatory, I powered on the 8" LX200-ACF telescope and observed Jupiter, 83X, at 1835 MST. The Great Red Spot was faintly visible. The sky was still very bright about 30 minutes before sunset. Also viewed Jupiter using 222X.

1850 MST: began trying to observe the 19h35m old moon using 83X. Unfortunately, I was viewing through tree branches so would probably not see the moon. 1908 MST: sunset. 1915 MST: gave up on viewing the young moon.

Returned to Jupiter observing, 83X. Four moons were now visible. Great Red Spot was easier to see. Began doing some iPhone 5s afocal imaging, 666X. This is a stack of 1721 frames from a 15 second slo-mo video (120 fps):


This is a single photograph, afocal 77X, showing Jupiter (overexposed) and its four moons (left-to-right: Ganymede, Europa, Io, and Callisto):


1944 MST: slewed the 8" telescope to M42 (Great Nebula in Orion), which was low in the southwest. Some stars were visible at 77X, but no nebulosity due to the bright sky. 1946 MST: some central nebulosity becoming visible. Seeing was not very good due to M42's low altitude in the sky. While waiting for the sky to get darker, I began preparing the D7000 DSLR for DSO imaging after the end of astronomical twilight (2033 MST). 2004 MST: more M42 nebulosity now visible. 2010 MST: the breezes had subsided. The Zodiacal Light was visible in the western sky.

2016 MST: began doing some more tests of the NightCap Pro iOS app. This is an unedited 30 second Long Exposure, Night Mode, full Light Boost. afocal 77X, of M42. The image demonstrates the capability of NightCap Pro.


2027 MST: ended iPhone imaging and slewed to M100 galaxy in Coma Berenices. Added the focal reducer and viewed M100 with the 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece. Then viewed M99 and M98 (in Coma Berenices) and NGC4216 (in Virgo). Tried for NGC4222 and NGC4206 galaxies (in Virgo) but did not see them. Breezes had picked up again. Mounted the D7000 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer using the off-axis guider. Did a focus test on the star Spica using the Bahtinov Mask. Slewed to M100, but could not find a guide star. Did 10 1-minute, ISO 6400, exposures, unguided, of M100. This is a stack of 9 images (effective exposure time 9 minutes) using Lynkeos showing M100, NGC4312, NGC4322, NGC4328, and some other fainter galaxies:

M100 and other galaxies
Mouseover or tap to see labels

Also did 10 1-minute, ISO 6400, exposures, unguided, of M99, M98, and NGC4216. The breezes were very strong at times while imaging. These are the images, untrailed versions stacked using Lynkeos:

M99 (10 minutes)

M98 and NGC4192B (5 minutes)

M100 and other galaxies
Mouseover or tap to see labels

2141 MST: completed DSO imaging. It was fairly windy now.

2150 MST: viewed Mars, 83X and 222X. The North Polar Cap, Syrtis Major, and the south polar cloud were all easily seen at both 83X and 222X. Did not doing any imaging due to the wind.

Then viewed Saturn, 222X. Saturn was too low in the sky for good viewing. Ended observing at 2155 MST.

2210 MST: did sky quality measurements. Dark Sky Meter iOS app reported 20.72. The SQM-L meter reported 21.16. I suspect these readings are somewhat low due to strong winds that were blowing at the time of the readings. There was probably some dust in the sky.

Closed: Tuesday, 29 April 2014, 2218 MST
Temperature: 57°F

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