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SkyTracker Pro Imaging: Milky Way, Pleiades

Posted: 7 November 2018

Open: Tuesday, 6 November 2018, 1807 MST
Temperature: 77°F
Session: 1299
Conditions: Clear

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


1813 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Saturn and 2 moons, then Mars, 102X.

1817 MST: slewed to M74 (galaxy), which I hoped to try to image with the 12" telescope later in the night. It was not yet visible against the bright twilight sky.

I set up the iOptron SkyTracker Pro with the D850 DSLR + 8mm fisheye lens just to the north of the observatory:


1848 MST: returned to the 12" telescope. M74 was now visible, 102X.

I then went back outside of the observatory to take all sky images with the D850 DSLR + 8mm fisheye lens pointed straight up. This is a tracked exposure at f/5, 2 minutes, ISO 3200, White Balance 4000K, taken at 1911 MST:

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North is at the top and east on the left. The Milky Way is obvious. Mars is the bright object at the very bottom center. The Pleiades (M45) is in the upper lefthand corner. The Andromeda Galaxy is also visible.

1922 MST: removed the camera from the SkyTracker Pro and returned to the 12" telescope. Viewed M74 (galaxy), 102X.

1923 MST: StarLock ON. I let the StarLock do some autoguiding to see how the seeing was this night. It appeared to be better than on the previous sessions when I was trying to image M74. I decided to image M74. Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus. 1935 MST: began trying to image M74. Autoguiding was terrible; I was able to only get a few seconds of exposure before guiding would run amuck. I gave up for this night. 1954 MST: StarLock OFF.

2000 MST: mounted the D850 DSLR + 70-300mm lens on the SkyTracker Pro. Did some tracked imaging of the Pleiades (M45). This is a cropped image taken at f/5.6, 2 minutes, ISO 12800, White Balance 4000K, focal length 300mm:


2031 MST: ended SkyTracker Pro imaging.

2040 MST: LX600 OFF.

Had to end this session earlier than I would have liked as a long day of activities was planned for the next day.

Close: Tuesday, 6 November 2018, 2050 MST
Temperature: 60°F
Session Length: 2h 43m
Conditions: Clear

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