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SkyTracker Pro & DSLR imaging:
Comet Johnson, Omega Centauri Globular Cluster

Posted: 23 May 2017

Open: Monday, 22 May 2017, 1839 MST
Temperature: 97°F
Session: 1114
Conditions: Mostly clear, breezy

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
SkyTracker Pro

D7200 DSLR

1849 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1852 MST: viewed Jupiter, 102X. No moons visible yet.

1853 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Did some brief tests of the iOS app ScopeBoss for the developer. 1857 MST: Wi-Fi OFF.

1906 MST: SYNCed the 12" telescope on the star Spica. Slewed to Omega Centauri (globular cluster), which had been a planned imaging target for the night, although it was not yet visible.

1907 MST: terminated Kissing Bug #1. Then relaxed on the observatory patio bench while waiting for darkness.

More clouds began appearing in the west and north:


1922 MST: the setting Sun was hidden by clouds. Cloud cover was increasing. The forecast for the night was for a clear sky.

1925 MST: viewed Jupiter again, 102X. The four Galilean Moons were visible.

1928 MST: calm now but clouds becoming a problem.

1957 MST: set up the iOptron SkyTracker Pro with the Nikon D7200 DSLR and 18-140mm lens on the observatory patio and roughly polar aligned it using Polaris:


2008 MST: last look at Jupiter with the 12" telescope. Then slewed to Omega Centauri, but it was currently behind a tree. Kissing Bugs #2 and #3 were seen inside the observatory. Both initially got away but were terminated later.

I then reclined on the bench and used the Vortex 12x50 Binoculars to view Jupiter and four moons. Next, I checked the exact location of Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson using SkySafari 5 Pro on my iPhone. It was in the constellation of Boötes. 2020 MST: viewed Comet Johnson using the 12x50 binoculars; it was faintly visible. I was then attacked by a Kissing Bug! It tried to land on my lips! Argh!!!! (Kissing Bugs like landing on lips and once there will inject a numbing agent and suck blood for up to 15 minutes.)

Polar aligned the SkyTracker Pro using its iOS app on the iPhone. Took some photographs of Comet C/2015 V2 Johnson. This first one shows its location in Boötes, SkyTracker Pro guided, f/3.5, 1 minute, ISO 6400, White Balance 3570K, FL 18mm, slightly cropped:

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for pointer to Comet Johnson

Comet Johnson (at center), SkyTracker Pro guided, f/5.6, 1 minute, ISO 12800, WB 3570K, FL 105mm, slightly cropped:


I then checked on Omega Centauri using the 12" telescope. It was now visible low in the southern sky. Viewed Omega Centauri using the 12x50 binoculars. Pretty sight. With clouds approaching the location of Omega Centauri I quickly aimed the D7200 DSLR at the globular cluster. This is a SkyTracker Pro guided, f/5.6, 1 minute, ISO 6400, WB 3570K, FL 140mm, slightly cropped image:


2100 MST: SkyTracker Pro OFF. Ended imaging with the sky now mostly cloudy.

Terminated Kissing Bug #4 inside the observatory.

2110 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Did a quick ScopeBoss test. Terminated another Kissing Bug (#3). 2113 MST: Wi-Fi OFF.

2116 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Monday, 22 May 2017, 2125 MST
Temperature: 75°F
Session Length: 2h 46m
Conditions: Mostly cloudy

I have posted a review of the book Eclipse Bulletin: Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21.

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