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Ceres; Quasar 3C273; M100 Galaxy;
Omega Centauri, M13, M92 Globular Clusters; Jupiter

Posted: 9 May 2018

Sunday, 6 May 2018, dawned clear but clouds began showing up in the western sky mid-morning, with a forecast of cloudy skies for the night. Monday, 7 May, was partly cloudy. Tuesday, 8 May, dawned clear with a clear sky forecast for the night.

Open: Tuesday, 8 May 2018, 1833 MST
Temperature: 81°F
Session: 1226
Conditions: Mostly clear

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


1840 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X. Gibbous phase nicely visible. 1857 MST: Venus naked eye visible (with difficulty).

Decided to relax on the observatory patio bench for awhile. 1914 MST: sunset. Continued relaxing on the bench waiting for the stars to come out and listening to music from the original Cosmos TV show.

1945 MST: back in the observatory. Viewed Venus, 102X.

Began preparing the D850 DSLR for the night's prime focus imaging.

1953 MST: Wi-Fi ON. SYNCed on the star Regulus. Used SkySafari 6 Pro to GOTO Dwarf Planet (asteroid) Ceres. Viewed Ceres, 102X. Then began waiting for the sky to get darker.

2021 MST: mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope. Focused on the star Regulus using a Bahtinov Mask.

2026 MST: the Zodiacal Light was brightly visible in the western sky. It was neat seeing it so late in the Spring.

2031 MST: Wi-Fi OFF, StarLock ON.

Did three images of Ceres at 15 minute intervals, StarLock autoguided, 10 seconds, ISO 3200, White Balance 4000K, to show its motion over a 30 minute period:


Slewed to the star Spica and SYNCed. Then slewed to Quasar 3C273 (last imaged in April 2013 using a D7000 DSLR on a 8" LX200-ACF).

2112 MST: dome OFF.

This is Quasar 3C273, StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 4000K:


Slewed to M100 (galaxy) to retake its image (for better tracking). StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 4000K:


Next, slewed to Centaurus A (galaxy), very low in the southern sky. I took this StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 4000K:


As the image is slightly out-of-focus I will redo it on a future session.

I tweaked the focus and then did some images of globular clusters. These StarLock autoguided images are full-frame and at the same scale to show the apparent size difference. 2221 MST: dome ON.

Omega Centauri (30 seconds, ISO 2500, WB 4000K)

M13 (30 seconds, ISO 1600, WB 4000K)

M92 (30 seconds, ISO 1600, WB 4000K)

2236 MST: StarLock OFF.

Added the 2X PowerMate and did some video recordings of Jupiter (at opposition this night), 2160p 30 fps. This is a stack of 500 frames, 1/60sec, ISO 8000, White Balance Auto:


2256 MST: ended imaging.

Viewed Jupiter, 203X and 102X. The four Galilean Moons were visible.

2307 MST: viewed M4 (globular cluster) and then M57 (Ring Nebula), 102X.

2310 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Tuesday, 8 May 2018, 2318 MST
Temperature: 70°F
Session Length: 4h 45m
Conditions: Clear

I had several random triggers of the replacement Vello ShutterBoss III Wireless Remote this session. I will be reporting it to Vello.

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