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Observing: Quasar CTA 102;
Imaging: Polar-Ring Galaxies, More Galaxies

Posted: 23 January 2017

Thursday, 19 January 2017, started with an overcast sky from the first of three winter storms. Some light rain arrived mid-day (0.01"). Received 0.88" rain on Friday, 20 January. Missed out on a transit of the Sun by the Hubble Space Telescope due to the clouds. Got another 0.62" rain on Saturday morning, 21 January, but strong winds continued blowing under partly cloudy skies that night. Sunday, 22 January, dawned partly cloudy, became overcast mid-day, but had a correct clear sky forecast for that night.

Open: Sunday, 22 January 2017, 1946 MST
Temperature: 51°F
Session: 1061
Conditions: Clear

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

D7200 DSLR

1952 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

First, viewed Venus, 102X.

Then slewed to the star KAP PEG and SYNCed the AutoStar. Slewed to the star HD212989, which is near Quasar CTA 102. Then, using the star chart from the Sky & Telescope article Quasar CTA 102: Historically Bright, Violently Variable, starhopped to Quasar CTA 102. I was able to observe the quasar in the 12" LX600 telescope, 102X, even though it was low in the western sky. I hope to image the quasar on a future session when it is higher in the sky.

2009 MST: GC Wi-Fi Adapter ON. Did some brief beta version tests with the iOS app ScopeBoss using my iPhone 6s Plus. 2016 MST: tests completed. Wi-Fi OFF.

Slewed to NGC660 (a polar-ring galaxy). The galaxy was faintly visible, 102X.

Slewed to the star EPS AND, which would be my focus star for astrophotography. Mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope. Focused on the star using the Bahtinov Mask and locked the telescope primary mirror. 2035 MST: StarLock ON. Began imaging several galaxies. All of these images are 5 minute exposures at ISO 6400, White Balance 4000K, StarLock autoguided, and are cropped somewhat from the full-frame images.

NGC68, NGC70, NGC71, and several more galaxies:

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for labels

NGC660 (polar-ring galaxy):


And for my Messier Catalog Astrophotography update, M32 and M110:



Turned High Precision ON to GOTO NGC2685 (polar-ring galaxy). The ring is faintly visible:


2145 MST: ended imaging. StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF. Removed the camera.

2155 MST: viewed NGC2685 (polar-ring galaxy), 102X. The primary galaxy was faintly visible.

2200 MST: the Winter Milky Way was bright and beautiful this night, running from the southeast to the northwest through the zenith.

Lastly, viewed M42 (Great Orion Nebula), 102X, always a lovely sight. 2204 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Sunday, 22 January 2017, 2212 MST
Temperature: 43°F
Session Length: 2h 18m
Conditions: Clear

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