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D7200 DSLR imaging:
Owl Nebula, Crab Nebula, Sarah's Galaxy, Jupiter

Posted: 27 March 2016

Open: Saturday, 26 March 2016, 1833 MST
Temperature: 82°F
Session: 942
Conditions: Clear

1842 MST: sunset. StarLock OFF. Viewed Jupiter, 102X. The four Galilean Moons were visible.

1855 MST: began preparing the D7200 DSLR for Deep Sky Object (DSO) imaging. Then continued Jupiter observing, 102X.

1929 MST: ended Jupiter observing. Slewed to the star Regulus, which would be the focus test star. Mounted the DSLR at prime focus of the 12" f/8 LX600 and did a a focus test on Regulus using the Astrozap focus mask. StarLock ON. GOTO M97 (Owl Nebula) and did some framing test 30 second exposures. Then did 2 and 5 minute exposures. StarLock tracking was pretty good so took a 10 minute exposure, ISO 3200, White Balance 4000K. This is a cropped version:


GOTO M1 (Crab Nebula) and did some framing test 30 second exposures, followed by 2 and 5 minute exposures, ISO 5000, WB 4000K. The 5 minute exposure was slightly trailed. This is the 2 minute exposure, slightly cropped:


Some trailing occurred during the 2 minute exposure. Still need to tweak the StarLock settings, but that will wait until the pier and PZT are installed.

The last DSO imaged this night was NGC3628 (Sarah's Galaxy). Did framing test 30 second exposures, then 2 and 5 minute exposures. This full-frame image at ISO 12800 shows internal reflections at the left and bottom from nearby Jupiter:


But with the image cropped the galaxy shows nicely:


2116 MST: ended DSO imaging. The eastern sky was brightening due to the soon to rise waning gibbous Moon. StarLock OFF. Went to Jupiter for prime focus imaging. This 1/10sec, ISO 640 exposure (cropped) shows the configuration of the four Galilean Moons:


Then did HD video recordings, 20 seconds each, 1.3X crop factor, 60 fps, 1/200sec, at various ISO settings. This is a stack of 1239 video frames, ISO 400, upscaled 200%:


The Great Red Spot is visible in the image. But should have used White Balance Auto for the planet imaging but I forgot and had left it at 4000K.

2128 MST: ended imaging. Viewed Jupiter, 102X. Seeing was very good. The Great Red Spot was visible at 102X. Switched to the 2" Baader 8-24 Zoom Eyepiece and viewed Jupiter and the Great Red Spot at a magnification of 305X. This was the best view of Jupiter I've ever had at Cassiopeia Observatory. The wife came out to the observatory to see it.

With that, I began closing up for the night.

Close: Saturday, 26 March 2016, 2204 MST
Temperature: 57°F
Session Length: 3h 31m
Conditions: Clear

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