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DSLR imaging: Thor's Helmet

Posted: 3 April 2016

I spent much of Saturday daytime, 2 April 2016, doing more work on the POD Zenith Table (PZT). I was pretty well pooped out after several hours of work so planned only a very short session in the observatory that night.

Open: Saturday, 2 April 2016, 1854 MST
Temperature: 77°F
Session: 945
Conditions: Clear, breezy

The Sun had set by the time I opened the observatory. Prepared the D7200 DSLR for Deep Sky Object (DSO) imaging. Used the wired AutoStar this night. And now that I have the long ScopeStuff HBX cable I expect to continuing using the wired AutoStar, at least until I repair the wireless AutoStar II handcontroller key presses.

1911 MST: StarLock OFF. Viewed Jupiter, 102X. The four Galilean Moons were visible. Monitored Jupiter while waiting for the sky to get darker.

1931 MST: GOTO NGC2359 (Thor's Helmet). Not yet visible in the telescope. 1943 MST: mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus + visual back + Optec focal reducer. GOTO Betelgeuse and did a focus test image using the Astrozap mask. 1955 MST: StarLock ON. Did a StarLock Automatic Guiding Rate Calibration using Betelgeuse. That set the guiding percentages to RA 10% Dec 18%. Then back to NGC2359. Did a 30 second, ISO 6400, framing test image. The image was slightly trailed. I increased the guiding percentages and did test 2 minute exposures. I first set both percentages to 25%, then to 50%. Using these percentages the images were all trailed by the same amount. Perhaps there was some airflow disturbance at the edge of the dome from the breezes. I was too tired to do any more troubleshooting and so just did a 5 minute, ISO 6400, White Balance 4000K, exposure. This is the resulting image of NGC2359 (Thor's Helmet), cropped from the full-frame image:


I will attempt to get a better image on the next session.

2026 MST: done imaging. Viewed NGC2359 (Thor's Helmet), 102X. Some nebulosity was visible. Then began closing up.

Close: Saturday, 2 April 2016, 2045 MST
Temperature: 60°F
Session Length: 1h 51m
Conditions: Clear, breezy

My review of the ScopeStuff AutoStar II Cable has been posted.

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