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Astrophotography Ring Nebula,
M4 Globular Cluster, Dumbbell Nebula

Posted: 4 June 2018

Open: Sunday, 3 June 2018, 2016 MST
Temperature: 78°F
Session: 1245
Conditions: Clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 2X PowerMate
12x50 binoculars


2022 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X. Viewed Jupiter, 102X. The Great Red Spot and the four Galilean Moons were visible.

Began preparing the D850 DSLR for astrophotography.

2038 MST: viewed Jupiter, 203X. The (actually Not So) Great Red Spot looked nice. But oh, it is so much smaller that it was when I first began observing it back in the early 1960s. The red color has dimished too. If Pluto can be demoted from a full-fledged planet to a Dwarf Planet, maybe it is time to change "Great Red Spot" to "Large Pink Spot".

2045 MST: viewed Omega Centauri (globular cluster), 12x50 binoculars. It was very low in the southern sky, but still a nice view in binoculars. Surprisingly, I was able to see it with the naked eye.

Viewed Jupiter, 12x50 binoculars. All four moons were visible.

Also viewed M57 (Ring Nebula), M13 (Great Globular Cluster in Hercules), and M4 (globular cluster), 12x50 binoculars.

Then viewed M4 (globular cluster), 102X.

2108 MST: slewed to M57, which would be the first imaging target of the night. SYNCed on it. Then began waiting for it to rise higher in the sky. 2140 MST: mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + 2X PowerMate. Focused on the star Vega. M57 was visible in the D850 viewfinder.

2148 MST: StarLock ON.

M57 (Ring Nebula), StarLock autoguided, 3 minutes, ISO 4000, White Balance 4000K, full-frame:


2156 MST: StarLock OFF.

Slewed to M27 (Dumbbell Nebula). It was faintly visible in the camera viewfinder. It was currently too low for imaging.

I decided to image M4 (globular cluster). Slewed to the star Antares, SYNCed, and checked focus (OK).

2216 MST: StarLock ON.

M4 (globular cluster), StarLock autoguided, 2 minutes, ISO 4000, White Balance 4000K, full-frame:


2226 MST: StarLock OFF.

Slewed to the star Altair, SYNCed, checked focus (OK). Then slewed to M27 and began waiting for it to rise higher.

While waiting a did a tour along the Milky Way, 12x50 binoculars. Saw some pretty sights. Also viewed Saturn, 12x50 binoculars. The Ring System was visible.

2300 MST: StarLock ON.

M27 (Dumbbell Nebula), StarLock autoguided, 3 minutes, ISO 5000, White Balance 4000K, full-frame:


2318 MST: StarLock OFF.

Ended imaging. Removed camera.

Viewed M27, 102X. Viewed Saturn, 102X. Four moons were visible.

2330 MST: eastern sky brightening from rising waning Moon.

Viewed NGC6888 (Crescent Nebula), 102X. Some parts of the nebula were faintly visible.

2334 MST: LX600 OFF.

Nine Kissing Bugs were seen and terminated this night between 2039 MST and 2340 MST. I had accidently stepped on two of them in the dark.

Close: Sunday, 3 June 2018, 2344 MST
Temperature: 75°F
Session Length: 3h 28m
Conditions: Clear

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