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SkyTracker Pro D850: Heart & Soul Nebulae,
California Nebula & Pleiades, Orion

Posted: 9 January 2019

Cloudy skies returned on Saturday, 5 January 2019, and continued through Sunday, 6 January. Rain started late Saturday night and continued on Sunday totaling 1". Monday, 7 January, began clear with a clear sky forecast for that night. However, unforecasted clouds began arriving mid-afternoon and the forecast was then changed to include clouds. The forecast for Tuesday night, 8 January, had also been for clear skies but that was also changed to cloudy. Tuesday dawned mostly cloudy but cleared by mid-morning and the forecast returned to being clear that night.

There were some clouds in the west at sunset. And a Sundog:


Open: Tuesday, 8 January 2019, 1813 MST
Temperature: 64°F
Session: 1323
Conditions: Mostly clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece
2" 50mm eyepiece
SkyTracker Pro

iPhone 8 Plus

1823 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed the crescent Moon, 102X and 81X.

Took these handheld iPhone 8 Plus afocal 81X photos of the Moon using the app NightCap Camera:


I then set up the iOptron SkyTracker Pro with the Nikon D850 DSLR + Nikon 70-300mm lens on the observatory patio:


I also used the Scopestuff Red Dot Finderscope and Vello ShutterBoss on the Vello Extension Bar.

This tracked, f/4.5, 3 minutes, ISO 6400, focal length 70mm, White Balance 4000K photo shows the constellation of Cassiopeia, the Double Cluster, and the Heart and Soul Nebula:

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This tracked, f/4.5, 4 minutes, ISO 6400, focal length 70mm, White Balance 4000K cropped photo shows the California Nebula and the Pleiades:


This tracked, f/5.6, 3 minutes, ISO 6400, focal length 300mm, White Balance 4000K slightly cropped photo shows the California Nebula:


And the constellation of Orion, tracked f/4.5, 3 minutes, ISO 5000, focal length 70mm, White Balance 4000K

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2045 MST: ended imaging.

Viewed M42 (the Great Nebula in Orion), 102X and 49X.

2055 MST: High Precision ON.

Viewed the Flame Nebula, 49X. Tried for the Horsehead Nebula, 49X, but didn't see it. Thin clouds may have been a factor.

2100 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Tuesday, 8 January 2019, 2113 MST
Temperature: 53°F
Session Length: 3h 00m
Conditions: Mostly clear, breezy

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