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ETX-125 Observer tests;
Ghost of Jupiter, Comet Johnson, M102, M83, M5

Posted: 22 May 2017

Saturday, 20 May 2017, was clear. That night I attended the talk "Arizona's Night Skies: Past, Present, and Future" at Oracle State Park given by Dr. John Barentine of the International Dark-Sky Association, followed by a star party at the Park. The sky continued to be clear on Sunday, 21 May.

Open: Sunday, 21 May 2017, 1845 MST
Temperature: 91°F
Session: 1113
Conditions: Clear

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

D7200 DSLR

1857 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1900 MST: viewed Jupiter, 102X Three moons (Europa, Io, and Ganymede) were seen well before sunset. The sky was not dark enough yet to see Callisto.

1905 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Did some tests of the app ScopeBoss for the developer. 1913 MST: Wi-Fi OFF. Tests ended.

1923 MST: sunset. Relaxed on the observatory patio bench while waiting for the sky to get darker. Also set up the ETX-125 Observer telescope on the patio for more tests:


1957 MST: ETX-125 Observer ON. Did a few tests, which I will report on in my upcoming review. 2017 MST: ETX-125 SLEEP.

Returned to the 12" LX600 telescope. Mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus, focused on a star close to NGC3242 and locked the primary mirror.

2032 MST: StarLock ON. This is NGC3242 (Ghost of Jupiter), StarLock autoguided, 10 seconds, ISO 1600, White Balance 3570K:


2032 MST: StarLock OFF. Saw the first Kissing Bug of the season inside the observatory. Terminated.

Added the focal reducer, focused and SYNCed on the star Arcturus. 2042 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Used SkySafari 5 Pro on the iPhone 6s Plus to GOTO Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson. The comet was visible in the DSLR viewfinder.

2046 MST: StarLock ON. This is Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson, StarLock autoguided, 1 minute, ISO 12800, WB 3570K:


A slight tail is visible towards 1 o'clock.

2102 MST: StarLock OFF, Wi-Fi OFF. Terminated two more Kissing Bugs.

Slewed to M102 (galaxy) to begin doing more Messier Catalog object imaging for the update to my Messier Catalog astrophotography album. Did a test exposure with the focal reducer, but decided I wanted more magnification for the image. Removed the focal reducer. Then terminated Kissing Bug #4. Focused on a nearby star and locked the mirror.

M102 (galaxy), StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 3570K:


Slewed to the star Spica, focused, and SYNCed. M83 (galaxy), StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 3570K:


And M5 (globular cluster), StarLock autoguided, 1 minutes, ISO 3200, WB 3570K:


2202 MST: StarLock OFF. Ended imaging. Removed DSLR. Viewed M5 (globular cluster) and then Omega Centauri (globular cluster), 102X. Nice views of both.

2218 MST: ETX-125 WAKE. Did a "Tonight's Best" Guided Tour. Viewed many objects. 2245 MST: ETX-125 OFF.

Returned to the 12" telescope. Viewed Saturn, 102X. Seeing was not very good, but Cassini Division, some cloud bands, and 4 moons were visible.

2258 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Sunday, 21 May 2017, 2307 MST
Temperature: 69°F
Session Length: 4h 22m
Conditions: Clear

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