More Weather, Critter; Crecent Moon, Earthshine;
Witch Head, Flame, Horsehead, Eskimo Nebulae
Posted: 12 January 2016
Friday, 8 January 2016, had periods of light rain, snow flurries, freezing rain, and up to pea-sized graupel:
The graupel ended up coating everything with a pretty thick cover. Shortly after I took the above photo this coyote came by:
Saturday, 9 January, began with partly cloudy skies and a forecast for a clear night. The 3.5" snow from Thursday had finally begun to melt. I went to the observatory mid-day to clear off the remaining snow from the dome:
While I was in the observatory I noticed a small water leak at one of the pivot points. The cause was obvious; a torn L-rubber gasket:
I replaced the torn gasket with a new one:
Unfortunately, there were thin high clouds Saturday night so I decided to not open the observatory. Sunday, 10 January, was overcast. Monday, 11 January, dawned clear with a forecast for a clear sky that night. On the way to the observatory I took this D7200 DSLR photo of the western sky with the crescent Moon at the top:
Open: Monday, 11 January 2016, 1805 MST
Conditions: Mostly clear
1812 MST: viewed the crescent Moon and Earthshine, 83X. Then set up for iPhone afocal imaging. Mounted the iPhone 6s Plus to the 8" LX200-ACF using the Orion SteadyPix Universal Smartphone Telescope Photo Mount. This is an afocal 77X image taken with the iOS Camera app:
And Earthshine with the iPhone:
This full-frame photo of the Moon and Earthshine was taken with the D7200 DSLR, f/5.6, 1/30sec, ISO 5000, FL 300mm:
And the western sky, iPhone 6s Plus, iOS app NightCap Pro (ISO 2000, 1/4sec, some digital zoom), slight crop:
1842 MST: did some Earthshine viewing, 83X. It was a nice view of our Moon.
I then slewed to IC2118 (Witch Head Nebula), which would be my first Deep Sky Object (DSO) imaging target for the night. Next, slewed to the star Rigel so that I could focus the illuminated reticle eyepiece (for manual guiding). Mounted the D7200 DSLR with 70-300mm lens piggyback on the 8" telescope and did a focus test on Rigel at FL 135mm using the Gerd Neumann Bahtinov Mask for Camera Lens. Slewed back to IC2118, found a good guide star, did a framing test exposure. Then took this guided, 5 minute, ISO 12800, FL 135mm image of the Witch Head Nebula:
Two faint satellites were also captured, with more visible in the original photo.
Slewed to the Horsehead Nebula, found a good guide star, and did a framing test exposure. Then took this guided, 5 minute, ISO 12800, FL 300mm, full-frame image of the Flame and Horsehead Nebulae:
This is the same image cropped and rotated to show just the Nebulae:
1948 MST: ended piggyback imaging.
2005 MST: viewed NGC2392 (Eskimo Nebula), 83X. Mounted the iPhone with the SteadyPix adapter and used NightCap Pro (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8000, 1/3sec, 30 seconds) for this afocal 154X image of the Eskimo Nebula:
The inset shows a magnified view.
Then began closing up.
Close: Monday, 11 January 2016, 2033 MST
Session Length: 2h 28m|
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