Sun; Pluto, More Messier Globular Clusters
Posted: 19 September 2017
I opened the observatory during the day on Monday, 18 September 2017, for an attempt to capture a transit of the Sun by the Chinese Tiangong-2 space station, per the notice I received from CalSky.com.
Open: Monday, 18 September 2017, 1313 MST
Conditions: Clear, windy
I SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV. Then prepared the D7200 DSLR for prime focus imaging. I attached a full aperture solar filter to the 12" telescope.
1328 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.
Using the "Sun as Asteroid" technique, I did a GOTO the Sun. There was a small sunspot visible, 102X. However, seeing was not good at times.
I mounted the DSLR at prime focus and took this 1/1600sec, ISO 100, White Balance Auto, photo:
I was then ready for the transit to begin at 135050 MST. 1350 MST: began HD video recording, 1/60sec, ISO 100, WB Auto. I let the recording run for 1m13s. Unfortunately, due to the poor seeing and my error in overexposing the image (oops), I did not get the space station.
1354 MST: LX600 OFF.
Close: Monday, 18 September 2017, 1407 MST
Session Length: 0h 54m|
Conditions: Clear, windy
Open: Monday, 18 September 2017, 1815 MST
1828 MST: sunset.
Prepared the D7200 DSLR for this night's prime focus imaging. I then relaxed on the observatory patio bench while waiting for the sky to get darker.
1902 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.
1903 MST: viewed Saturn, 102X. Four moons visible.
1918 MST: watched an Iridium "flare", as predicted by SkySafari 5 Pro on my Apple Watch.
1925 MST: mounted the DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope. Began waiting for the end of Astronomical Twilight (1949 MST).
1944 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Used SkySafari 5 Pro on the iPhone to GOTO the planet Pluto. 1948 MST: StarLock ON for autoguiding.
1949 MST: imaged Pluto, 1 minute, ISO 6400, White Balance 3570K. By "blinking" this night's image with the previous image (taken about 23 hours earlier) I was able to identify Pluto:
Here is the "blinking" version:
1950 MST: Wi-Fi OFF.
I then began imaging more Messier globular star clusters for my Messier Catalog Astrophotography Album update. All images were StarLock autoguided, 30 seconds, ISO 3200, WB 3570K.
At 2003 MST I moved the observatory dome OFF onto the PZT in order to image objects near the Zenith.
Imaging was a challenge this night as seeing was not very good. Autoguiding had some issues at times with the poor seeing and I had to retake many images to the get ones above.
2046 MST: StarLock OFF. Ended imaging. Viewed M15 (globular cluster), 102X.
2102 MST: dome ON.
2103 MST: LX600 OFF.
Close: Monday, 18 September 2017, 2111 MST
Session Length: 2h 47m|
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