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Short Observing Session:
Jupiter, NGC3628 (Sarah's Galaxy), M1 (Crab Nebula)

Posted: 25 March 2016

Open: Thursday, 24 March 2016, 1836 MST
Temperature: 82°F
Session: 940
Conditions: Mostly clear

1840 MST: Jupiter visible to naked eye in the east. 1841 MST: sunset.

1847 MST: StarLock OFF. Viewed Jupiter, 102X. The four Galilean Moons were visible. 1859 MST: took this handheld iPhone 6s Plus photo afocal 102X, cropped to simulate eyepiece view, showing Jupiter (overexposed) and the four moons:


This screen shot from the iOS app "Gas Giants" shows the positions of the visible moons:


1910 MST: switched to 443X, but seeing was not good enough for that much magnification. Jupiter was too bright as well with the 12" for the large view of the planet. Added one of the Variable Polarizing Filters, which helped. Disks of the moons were nicely visible at very brief moments of good seeing.

1922 MST: switched back to 102X. GOTO the star Regulus and SYNCed the AutoStar. Then did a GOTO NGC3628 (Sarah's Galaxy, part of the Leo Triplet of Galaxies). It was not yet visible due to the twilight sky. I hope to image it on the next session. This night the waning gibbous Moon would rise at about the same time as the end of Astronomical Twilight, 2000 MST. 1940 MST: NGC3628 was now faintly visible, 102X. Unfortunately, the glare from nearby Jupiter impacted the view through the 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece + visual back. I could block Jupiter with the observatory dome, but that also blocked off part of the telescope's aperture. Jupiter will stay about 7° from NGC3628 for awhile so I might have to defer NGC3628 imaging until it is further away. Will see how badly it impacts imaging on the next session.

1946 MST: eastern sky brightening due to rising Moon. Zodiacal Light was visible in the western sky.

1954 MST: switched to using the star diagonal. Jupiter glare on the view of NGC3628 at 102X was reduced.

Next, viewed M1 (Crab Nebula). The AutoStar GOTO (with StarLock still OFF) placed M1 at the edge of the 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece (102X) field-of-view. (I haven't yet done a mount polar alignment; waiting for the pier and PZT.) Turned StarLock ON and did a GOTO M1. The StarLock centered M1 in the eyepiece. Nice! I am anxious to complete the remaining observatory upgrades (PZT and pier) to complete StarLock fine tuning and then be able to take advantage of the LX600 capabilities. With these last items now shipping, I hope to complete the upgrades in early April.

2015 MST: the whole sky was now bright from the rising waning gibbous Moon. Decided to end the session.

Close: Thursday, 24 March 2016, 2025 MST
Temperature: 58°F
Session Length: 1h 49m
Conditions: Clear

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