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Critter; Messier Globular & Open Clusters,
Einstein Cross attempt

Posted: 25 September 2017

I had planned to open the observatory Tuesday night, 19 September 2017, but strong winds came up late afternoon. On my way back from the observatory after turning off the air conditioner I saw this little critter:

Click or tap on image for larger version

The wind calmed down somewhat on Wednesday, 20 September, but clouds came in. Strong winds along with partly cloudy skies were back on Thursday, 21 September. I was able to do some Earthshine visibility tests for IDA as the western sky was mostly clear. Here's an iPhone photo showing the very thin crescent Moon (but no Earthshine):

Click or tap on image for larger version

Winds and clouds continued on Friday, 22 September.

Saturday, 23 September, I gave a presentation at Oracle State Park to a standing room only enthusiastic crowd:


That was followed by a well-attended and highly successful star party at our local "International Dark Sky Park".

Sunday, 24 September, was clear so I opened the observatory.

Open: Sunday, 24 September 2017, 2012 MST
Temperature: 63°F
Session: 1143
Conditions: Clear

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

D7200 DSLR

2018 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed M72 (globular cluster), M73 (open star cluster), and M2 (globular cluster), 102X. Then began setting up to image the last of the Messier objects for my Messier Catalog Astrophotography Album.

2042 MST: StarLock ON.

These images were taken with the D7200 DSLR, StarLock autoguided, 30 seconds, ISO 3200, White Balance 3570K:

M72 (globular cluster)

M73 (open cluster)

M2 (globular cluster)

2102 MST: dome OFF (to image M2).

2113 MST: StarLock OFF.

2115 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Used SkySafari 5 Pro to GOTO Einstein Cross (RA 22h 40m 30.3s, Dec +3° 21' 31"). 2121 MST: StarLock ON.

This black and white image shows my attempt at the Einstein Cross, autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 3570K. The faint galaxy PGC 1248678 (Mag. +15.89) is labeled and the circled area is where I believe the Einstein Cross should be.

Click or tap on image for larger unlabeled version

I do not think that the Einstein Cross is visible in the larger image, although many very faint galaxies were captured (visible in the larger image).

2135 MST: StarLock OFF. Added the focal reducer. 2148 MST: dome ON.

2152 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Did some testing of the iOS app ScopeBoss. 2210 MST: Wi-Fi OFF.

2213 MST: StarLock ON. Imaged two Messier open star clusters, autoguided, 30 seconds, ISO 3200, WB 3570K:

M29 (open cluster)

M39 (open cluster)

2220 MST: StarLock OFF. Done imaging.

Viewed M39 and M29, 102X. Then viewed M57 (Ring Nebula), 102X.

2234 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Sunday, 24 September 2017, 2245MST
Temperature: 57°F
Session Length: 2h 33m
Conditions: Clear

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