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Abell 70 Planetary Nebula

Posted: 19 November 2016

Open: Friday, 18 November 2016, 1807 MST
Temperature: 70°F
Session: 1045
Conditions: Clear, some breezes

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
Wired AutoStar II handset
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece

D7200 DSLR

1814 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

SYNCed the AutoStar on the star Altair, then viewed Venus, 102X.

1819 MST: GC Wi-Fi Adapter ON. Began doing some ScopeBoss iOS tests for the developer. 1842 MST: tests ended. Wi-Fi adapter OFF.

Viewed Mars, 102X. Gibbous phase visible.

1847 MST: Wi-Fi adapter ON. Used SkySafari 5 Pro on the iPhone 6s Plus to GOTO Abell 70 (planetary nebula). I had previously imaged this faint (Magnitude +14.5) planetary nebula with the 8" telescope and D7000 DSLR in September 2012, so I wanted to try it with the 12" telescope and D7200 DSLR. Mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus and focused on the star Altair using the Astrozap Astrocap Bahtinov Mask. Locked the focus using the mirror lock add-on. Using SkySafari again slewed back to Abell 70, then turned the StarLock ON. Did a 1 minute, ISO 6400, White Balance Auto, test exposure. Then nebula was captured. I then did a 5 minute exposure, but the StarLock autoguiding did not guide accurately. I saw guiding corrections >11 in Right Ascension. I adjusted the guiding rates several times, each time taking a 5 minute exposure. Unfortunately, breezes were increasing and the seeing was obviously not good enough for accurate autoguiding. I finally decided that the poor seeing was not going to allow DSO imaging this night.

So, here is the 1 minute exposure of Abell 70, cropped from the full-frame image:


The bright object at the top of the nebula is actually a distant galaxy (PGC187663). I will try again to image this neat object on a future session.

1930 MST: Wi-Fi ON for more ScopeBoss tests. 1945 MST: tests ended, Wi-Fi OFF.

1950 MST: viewed M33 (Triangulum Galaxy) and M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) and its companion galaxies M32 and M110 using 7x50 binoculars. Nice views.

2002 MST: decided to close due to poor seeing and breezes that were getting stronger.

2010 MST: Lx600 OFF.

Close: Friday, 18 November 2016, 2017 MST
Temperature: 60°F
Session Length: 2h 17m
Conditions: Clear, breezy

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