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Mercury, Zodiacal Light,
NGC1087 & NGC1637 Galaxies

Posted: 28 February 2019

Cloudy skies returned on Sunday, 24 February 2019, with cloudy nights until Wednesday, 27 February.

Open: Wednesday, 27 February 2019, 1816 MST
Temperature: 72°F
Session: 1334
Conditions: Partly cloudy

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
SkyTracker Pro

iPhone 8 Plus

1819 MST: sunset. The sky was clearing up rapidly, although some breezes came up later.

SYNCed observatory clock to WWV time signals.

1824 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1827 MST: viewed the planet Mercury, 102X and 271X. The planet's half phase was nicely visible.

Mounted the iPhone 8 Plus on the 2" 9mm eyepiece using the Levenhuk Smartphone Adapter. Took this afocal 271X photograph of Mercury using the iOS app NightCap Camera (ISO 22, 1/610sec):


I then set up the SkyTracker Pro with the D850 DSLR + 8mm fisheye lens and Extendá Plus Wi-Fi Camera Controller:


1900 MST: polar aligned the SkyTracker Pro. Began waiting for the western sky to get darker. 1915 MST: the Zodiacal Light was becoming visible in the west.

1926 MST: using the D850 DSLR + 8mm fisheye lens I took this tracked photo of the western sky (f/5, 30 seconds, ISO 1600, White Balance 4000K). It shows the Zodiacal Light at the center, several constellations, the Pleiades, and the planets Mars (middle) and Mercury (bottom, in the glow).

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1939 MST: returned to the 12" telescope and viewed the galaxy NGC1087, 102X. Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus, focused on the star Hamal, and locked the 12" primary mirror using the ScopeStuff LX600 12" Primary Mirror Lock.

1947 MST: High Precision ON. Slewed to NGC1087 (galaxy). 1949 MST: StarLock ON. I then imaged the galaxies NGC1087 and NGC1637 for my Extragalactic Supernova Project, StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, White Balance 5000K. Seeing was not very good and getting these images was a challenge.



2019 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Removed the camera. Viewed NGC1637 (galaxy), 102X.

2032 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Wednesday, 27 February 2019, 2042 MST
Temperature: 53°F
Session Length: 2h 26m
Conditions: Clear, breezy

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