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More ETX-125 Observer tests;
DSOs, Supernova 2017eaw

Posted: 20 May 2017

Sunday, 14 May 2017, was mostly cloudy with strong winds mid-day (Red Flag Warning). Monday, 15 May, was mostly clear, but hazy with strong winds (gusts to 56 MPH). Tuesday, 16 May, was partly cloudy and windy, with some unforecasted rain in the afternoon (0.023"). Wednesday, 17 May, was mostly clear but too windy to open the observatory. Thursday, 18 May, was partly cloudy with strong winds continuing into the night. This windy period had been preventing my doing additional work with the new ETX-125 Observer telescope and with imaging the recently discovered Supernova 2017eaw in galaxy NGC6946. Friday, 19 May, the sky was clear and the wind finally calmed down.

Open: Friday, 19 May 2017, 1832 MST
Temperature: 87°F
Session: 1112
Conditions: Clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
ETX-125 Observer
1.25" 26mm eyepiece

D7200 DSLR
iPhone 6s Plus

Upon arrival at the observatory I set up the new ETX-125 Observer telescope on the observatory patio to do more tests. This night it would be used in Polar Mounting mode.


I then SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV. I relaxed on the patio bench while waiting for the sky to get dark enough to begin observing.

1921 MST: sunset. LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Jupiter, 102X. Three moons were visible (Io was in eclipse).

1932 MST: slewed the 12" LX600 to NGC3242 (Ghost of Jupiter, planetary nebula), which would be the first Deep Sky Object (DSO) imaging target after the end of Astronomical Twilight. I wanted to re-image it after the focus issue on the previous session.

1948 MST: the North Star Polaris was now visible. Began preparing to use the ETX-125 Observer. 1952 MST: ETX-125 ON. Viewed Jupiter, 73X. Then did some tests which I'll discuss in my upcoming review. 2035 MST: ETX-125 SLEEP.

Returned to the 12" LX600 telescope and began preparing to image the Ghost of Jupiter nebula. First, viewed it at 102X. Then mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus, focused on the star Regulus, and locked the primary mirror. 2053 MST: StarLock ON. Took this full-frame image of NGC3242 (Ghost of Jupiter), StarLock autoguided, 10 seconds, ISO 1600, White Balance 3570K:


Unfortunately, the focus changed again so will have to re-image it on a future session.

2100 MST: dome OFF. SYNCed on the star Arturus. Took this StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 3570K, image of M89 (galaxy):


And this image of M90 (galaxy), StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 3570K:


Had some more focus shifting while trying to image M68 (globular cluster). Finally focused on the nearby star Alpha Corvus and got this image of M68, StarLock autoguided, 30 seconds, ISO 5000, WB 3570K:


2208 MST: StarLock OFF, dome ON. Slewed the 12" telescope to NGC6946 for imaging of the recently discovered Supernova 2017eaw once the galaxy was higher in the sky.

2218 MST: resumed tests with the ETX-125 Observer. Viewed M65 and M66 galaxies, M13 (Great Globular Cluster in Hercules), and Saturn, 73X. 2248 MST: ETX-125 Observer OFF.

2257 MST: focused and SYNCed the 12" telescope on the star Deneb. Then back to NGC6946.

2307 MST: StarLock ON. This is a StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 3570K, image of NGC6946 and the Supernova 2017eaw:

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for supernova pointer

2318 MST: StarLock OFF. Unmounted the DSLR camera.

2330 MST: getting breezy. Viewed NGC6946 and viewed the Supernova 2017eaw, 102X.

Then SYNCed the AutoStar on the star Arcturus. Viewed Saturn, still low in the southeast, 102X. Seeing was not good, but four moons were visible.

2355 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Saturday, 20 May 2017, 0007 MST
Temperature: 58°F
Session Length: 5h 35m
Conditions: Clear, breezy

I have posted a review of the app Solar Eclipse Timer. If you plan to observe the Total Solar Eclipse on 21 August 2017 you should check it out.

Comments are welcome using Email. Twitter users can use the button below to tweet this report to your followers. Thanks.

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