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ISS, Ring Nebula, Moon

Posted: 25 November 2018

Thursday, 22 November 2018, was overcast. That night I took this cropped photo of the Full Moon through thin clouds, D850 DSLR + 300mm lens (f/5.6, 1/2000sec, ISO 400, cropped):


Friday, 23 November, was partly cloudy. We set up a new wildlife camera (a Browning Strike Force Pro XD). We have previously tried several other cameras but were never happy with the images. We are pretty pleased with the results from this one (in a temporary position):


The sky cleared on Saturday, 24 November.

Open: Saturday, 24 November 2018, 1723 MST
Temperature: 69°F
Session: 1309
Conditions: Clear

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

iPhone 8 Plus

First, I SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV.

1728 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1731 MST: viewed Saturn, 102X. Checked the alignments of both finderscopes. Then viewed Mars, 102X. Rechecked the finderscopes alignments and made slight adjustments in preparation for the upcoming good pass of the International Space Station (ISS).

SYNCed the AutoStar on the star Vega. Updated the ISS TLE in the AutoStar. Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus, focused on the star Vega, and locked the 12" primary mirror. 1804 MST: all was ready for the start of the ISS pass at 1810 MST.

Initial pointing was off several degrees, but once I centered the ISS tracking was pretty good for the first half of the pass. I lost the ISS in the second half of the pass. Here are four frames from the 1080p, 30fps, 1/2000sec, ISO 1250, video recording, slightly upscaled:


The solar panels are faintly visible in the rightmost image.

I then did some test video recordings of Saturn and Mars using the D850 DSLR at prime focus. I was not happy with the results as the image scale was too small.

Added the 2X Powermate, focused on Vega, and locked the mirror. 1851 MST: High Precision OFF. Slewed to M57 (Ring Nebula). 1854 MST: StarLock ON.

Did several StarLock autoguided exposures of M57 at prime focus + 2X Powermate. This is a 5 minute, ISO 1600, White Balance Auto, cropped image:


1911 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF. The eastern sky was brightening from the rising waning gibbous Moon.

Viewed M57 (Ring Nebula), 102X.

1943 MST: the Moon began rising over the hill to the east. Once it cleared a nearby tree I took this handheld afocal 81X photo of the still low in the sky Moon using the iPhone 8 Plus with NightCap Camera (ISO 22, 1/1250sec):


Then viewed the Moon, 81X and 102X.

2003 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Saturday, 24 November 2018, 2010 MST
Temperature: 50°F
Session Length: 2h 47m
Conditions: Clear

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