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Critters, Snow,
Extragalactic Supernova Project imaging

Posted: 29 December 2018

Look who came for Christmas Eve dinner! Our Javelina family neighbors!


But they did make such pigs of themselves...

Had some periods of light rain on and off beginning late Tuesday, 25 December, through mid-day Wednesday, 26 December (total 0.16"). The sky dawned mostly clear on Thursday, 27 December, but began clouding up mid-morning with rain/snow/wind in the forecast for that night. It began snowing Thursday night and by sunrise Friday, 28 December, we had received about 1/4 inch of snow. This photo taken before sunrise shows the snow, the observatory at the left, low clouds, and the "Belt of Venus" along the northwestern horizon on the right:


And then two coyotes came to visit and sing to us:


The sky began clearing at sunrise, with a clear sky forecasted for Friday night. About noon I went out to the observatory to remove the snow from the dome and off most of the PZT.

Open: Friday, 28 December 2018, 1815 MST
Temperature: 46°F
Session: 1319
Conditions: Clear

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


First, I SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV time signals.

1821 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Mars, 102X. Seeing was bad.

SYNCed the AutoStar on the star Aldebaran.

1830 MST: High Precision ON.

Viewed the galaxies NGC676 and NGC772, 102X. These would be my first imaging targets for this session for my Extragalactic Supernova Project.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus, focused on the star Aldebaran, and locked the telescope primary mirror.

1845 MST: StarLock ON.

I began imaging NGC772. It was high in the sky and close to the dome. I did manage to get this StarLock autoguided image, 221 seconds, ISO 6400, White Balance 5000K:


I tried to get my normal 5 minute exposure but the seeing would not allow that.

I tried to image NGC676. It was also high in the sky and close to the dome. I could have moved the dome OFF onto the POD Zenith Table (PZT), but I decided to not do that due to the snow and ice that was still on the table and ground. With the poor seeing this night I could not get any usable images of NGC676.

I will image these two galaxies on a future session.

I was able to get this good image of NGC891 (galaxy), StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB5000K:


I also imaged the galaxy NGC908, StarLock autoguided, ISO 6400, WB5000K, but 124 seconds was the longest I could do due to the poor seeing.


I will also re-image NGC908 on a future session.

I then did several images of M1 (Crab Nebula) but seeing was too bad for good autoguiding and none of the images were usable.

1947 MST: StarLock OFF.

Ended imaging as seeing was just not good enough this night.

2000 MST: High Precision OFF.

Viewed M1 (Crab Nebula), NGC2392 (Eskima Nebula), and M42 (Great Nebula in Orion), 102X.

With the temperature near freezing I decided to end the session.

2003 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Friday, 28 December 2018, 2010 MST
Temperature: 33°F
Session Length: 1h 55m
Conditions: Clear

I have posted my review of the Meade LED Headlamp.

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