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Ghost of Cassiopeia, Double Cluster, Pleiades,
Rising Moon

Posted: 27 October 2018

Open: Friday, 26 October 2018, 1809 MST
Temperature: 80°F
Session: 1294
Conditions: Clear

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


1814 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1816 MST: viewed Saturn and two moons, 102X. Viewed Mars, 102X. The South Polar Cap and a large dark surface area were visible on Mars.

I then began preparing the D850 DSLR for astrophotography after the end of Astronomical Twilight (1902 MST).

1827 MST: slewed to IC59 (nebula), which along with IC63 (Ghost of Cassiopeia Nebula), would be the first imaging target for the night. Neither nebula were visible yet against the still bright sky.

1839 MST: some nebulosity was now visible, 102X.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer, focused on the star Gamma Cassiopeia using a Bahtinov Mask, and locked the primary mirror.

1856 MST: High Precision ON, StarLock ON.

I first did some framing test images of IC59 and IC63. Then I did this StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, White Balance 4000K, image (cropped):

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

The bright star at the bottom is Gamma Cassiopeia.

1923 MST: the eastern sky was brightening from the rising waning gibbous Moon.

Slewed to the Double Cluster (open star clusters) for this StarLock autoguided, 30 seconds, ISO 1600, WB 4000K, image:


1936 MST: StarLock OFF.

Removed the camera from the 12" telescope and viewed the Double Cluster, 102X. Always a pretty sight.

At this point I heard what might have been a packrat outside of the observatory.

1950 MST: viewed M45 (Pleiades), low in the eastern sky, 102X.

1953 MST: LX600 OFF.

I stepped outside of the observatory and began waiting for the Moon to start appearing over the hill to the east. While waiting I took this handheld D850 DSLR photo of the Pleiades, f/5.6, 1/4sec, ISO 6400, FL 300mm:


2009 MST: the Moon began rising. Took these handheld D850 DSLR photos (cropped), f/5.6, 1/200sec, ISO 200, FL 300mm:


Close: Friday, 26 October 2018, 2015 MST
Temperature: 65°F
Session Length: 2h 06m
Conditions: Clear

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