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DSLR Imaging: Asteroid 3200 Phaethon, Orion

Posted: 16 December 2017

In my review of the ScopeStuff Red Dot Finder for SLR I mentioned that I had ordered a Vello 4" Cold Shoe Extension to hold both the finder and the Vello Shutterboss remote receiver. It arrived on Friday, 15 December 2017:


It worked perfectly to hold both items.

Friday evening I attended a star party at Saddlebrooke Ranch, AZ, hosted by the Saddlebrooke SkyGazers Club. After returning home I opened the observatory.

Open: Friday, 15 December 2017, 2035 MST
Temperature: 52°F
Session: 1177
Conditions: Clear

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

D7200 DSLR

2043 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed M31 (Andromeda Galaxy), 102X.

Slewed to the star Mirach and SYNCed the AutoStar on it in preparation for observing and imaging Asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The asteroid was less than 24 hours from its closest approach to the Earth.

2055 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Used SkySafari Pro to GOTO Asteroid Phaethon. 2100 MST: located Phaethon, rapidly moving across the field-of-view of the eyepiece. Its motion was obviously greater this night than it had been on the two previous nights when it was slightly further away.

Slewed back to Mirach, mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer, focused using a Bahtinov Mask, and locked the mirror. Returned to Asteroid Phaethon using SkySafari Pro.

2111 MST: StarLock ON. Took this StarLock autoguided 1 minute, ISO 1600, White Balance 3570K, image of Phaethon:


I then did StarLock autoguided 10 seconds, ISO 3200, WB 3570K, images every 1 minute to show the rapid motion of the asteroid over a four minute period:


Compare the trailed image and the animated image with the images on my report from 13 December.

2118 MST: StarLock OFF, Wi-Fi OFF. Removed the DSLR from the 12" telescope.

Viewed M42 (Great Nebula in Orion), 102X.

I then began setting up for sky imaging using the DSLR on the iOptron SkyTracker Pro. You can see the new Vello Cold Shoe Extension was used to hold both the red dot finder and wireless remote receiver on the camera:


After taking a test image the wireless transmitter stopped sending. There was no low battery warning on the transmitter and the screen did not look too dim. I changed the batteries in the transmitter anyway and that solved the problem. I continued imaging. This is a tracked 1 minute, ISO 3200, WB Auto, FL 26mm, photo of the constellation of Orion:

Click or tap on image for larger version

The Orion Nebula is easily seen in the "sword" and the Flame Nebula is faintly visible by the leftmost star in Orion's "belt".

2300 MST: ended imaging.

Took a final look at the Orion Nebula with the 12" telescope, 102X.

2303 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Friday, 15 December 2017, 2315 MST
Temperature: 47°F
Session Length: 2h 40m
Conditions: Clear, breezy

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