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Asteroid Barentine, Galaxies,
iPhone Messier Objects

Posted: 10 April 2018

Tuesday, 3 April 2018, dawned clear but clouds returned mid-day. Thursday, 5 April, and Friday, 6 April, were cloudy. I would not have opened the observatory on those nights had it been clear as I attended the "2nd Last A-7D Reunion" in Tucson. I had also attended the "Last A-7D Pilots Reunion" in 2013.

Saturday, 7 April, had a clear sky, but the wind was too strong to open the observatory. Sunday, 8 April, dawned clear but still windy. Clouds arrived mid-afternoon with continuing strong wind. Saw a Cooper's Hawk having dinner:

Click or tap on image for larger version

Monday, 9 April, began cloudy but the wind was gone and by mid-day the sky was mostly clear.

Open: Monday, 9 April 2018, 1814 MST
Temperature: 81°F
Session: 1219
Conditions: Mostly clear, hazy

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
Scope 60mm refractor
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece
Focal Reducer

iPhone 8 Plus

SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV.

I then began setting up a 60mm refractor (focal length 700mm) that had been donated to the Friends of Oracle State Park. I wanted to check it out.



1849 MST: Venus was visible to the naked eye.

1850 MST: sunset.

I tested the refractor using the planet Venus. The optics need cleaning but otherwise are OK. The focuser needs adjusting, which I hope to do soon.

1910 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X. I then tested some eyepieces that had been donated to the Friends of Oracle State Park. All were OK but several will need cleaning. 1948 MST: ended tests.

Slewed the 12" telescope to the star Denebola; SYNCed the AutoStar. Began setting up to do some faint asteroid imaging. Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer and focused on Denebola using a Bahtinov Mask.

1958 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Used SkySafari 6 Pro to GOTO the first target asteroid. 2001 MST: StarLock ON. Tried imaging but autoguiding was not good enough for some reason (poor seeing?). I will try that asteroid again on a future session.

Using SkySafari Pro with Wi-Fi did a GOTO Asteroid 14505 Barentine. Took StarLock autoguided (which was better), 5 minutes, ISO 6400, prime focus + focal reducer, images at 2021 MST and 2121 MST. I used a White Balance of 5000K as a test for this night's imaging. I successfully imaged Asteroid Barentine (Mag. +17.1), named in honor of Dr. John Barentine, who I know from his work at the International Dark-Sky Association. This cropped image shows Asteroid 14505 Barentine:


The two images, separated by one hour, were "blinked" to identify the faint Asteroid Barentine (center). A brighter asteroid also was also captured (left of Barentine), and a faint satellite crossed the field during the second image.


I then slewed the telescope to NGC4290 (galaxy). I originally planned to do some galaxy imaging at prime focus this night, but with the potential for poor seeing I decided to leave the focal reducer attached. Did some 1 minute framing test exposures. Then did a StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 5000K, image, seen here cropped:

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for labels

The image above also shows M40 (double star; left) and NGC4284 (galaxy; right), with NGC4290 (galaxy; center). There is also a faint galaxy just to the left of NGC4290. (mouseover or tap on the image for labels)

I then tried imaging NGC4411 (galaxy) but autoguiding was not good (seeing?). This is a StarLock autoguided image of NGC4411, 1 minute, ISO 6400, WB 5000K, cropped:

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for labels

Several galaxies are visible (mouseover or tap on the image for labels).

Next, slewed to NGC4298 and took this StarLock autoguided image, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 5000K, cropped:

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for labels

The galaxies NGC4298 (right) and NGC4302 (left), as well as the faint galaxy UGC7436 (top left) are visible in the image (mouseover or tap on the image for labels).

I will image all of these galaxies again on a future session, but at prime focus (no focal reducer). I will also test a White Balance of 4000K (I had been using 3570K on previous sessions).

2216 MST: StarLock OFF. Ended DSLR imaging.

Viewed NGC4298/NGC4302 (galaxies), 102X. Nice view.

2220 MST: the planet Jupiter was rising over the hill to the southeast.

Viewed M49 (galaxy), 102X and 81X. Mounted the iPhone 8 Plus on the 2" 30mm eyepiece for afocal 81X imaging of some Messier galaxies for my iPhone Messier Catalog album.

2228 MST: StarLock ON.

Took the following StarLock autoguided afocal 81X Messier galaxies images with the iPhone 8 Plus using the iOS app NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8448, 1/3sec, 1 minute exposure):





M64 (Blackeye Galaxy)

2245 MST: StarLock OFF. Ended iPhone imaging.

Viewed the galaxies M84, M64, M61, M60, M59, M58, and M49, 102X.

2302 MST: viewed Jupiter, 102X. Seeing was not good and the view was through a tree. The equatorial belts and the four Galilean Moons were visible.

2305 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Monday, 9 April 2018, 2314 MST
Temperature: 64°F
Session Length: 5h 00m
Conditions: Mostly clear

I have posted a review of the satellite tracking iOS app Orbitrack.

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