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Mercury, Crepuscular Rays, Orion, Galaxies

Posted: 1 March 2019

Early Thursday morning some Javelinas were photographed by our wildlife camera. These are the smallest Javelina babies we've seen here.

Click or tap on image for larger version

Open: Thursday, 28 February 2019, 1809 MST
Temperature: 79°F
Session: 1335
Conditions: Mostly clear

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

iPhone 8 Plus>

1815 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1817 MST: viewed the planet Mercury, low in the western sky, 102X.

1821 MST: sunset.

Viewed Mercury, 271X and 542X, through thin clouds.

I handheld the iPhone 8 Plus over the 9mm eyepiece + 2X Powermate for these photos taken with the 1X lens and 2X telephoto lens using NightCap Camera:

1X lens

2X lens

1838 MST: using the D850 DSLR with 50mm lens I took this photo of some Crepuscular Rays (f/5, 1/100sec, ISO 400):


1849 MST: Mercury was now visible to the naked eye.

1851 MST: viewed the planet Mars, 102X. No details visible.

1854 MST: viewed M42 (the Great Nebula in Orion), 102X. The Trapezium star cluster and some nebulosity were visible 48 minutes before the end of Astronomical Twilight.

1905 MST: I then checked the positions of this night's targets for my Extragalactic Supernova Project: NGC2146, NGC2336, and NGC2403.

1918 MST: the Zodiacal Light was becoming visible. 1925 MST: took this handheld D850 DSLR photo (f/1.4, 1/2sec, ISO 3200, White Balance 4000K, FL 50mm) of the Zodiacal Light with the planet Mercury at the bottom:


The Zodiacal Light is not as obvious in the above photo as it is in the 8mm fisheye photo I took on the previous session.

I then took this handheld D850 DSLR photo (f/1.4, 1/4sec, ISO 6400, White Balance 4000K, FL 50mm) of the constellation of Orion, which was high in the southern sky:


Next, I began preparing for galaxy imaging. I mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope, focused on the star Regulus, locked the mirror, and SYNCed the AutoStar on Regulus.

1953 MST: High Precision ON. Slewed to NGC2146. 1956 MST: StarLock ON.

Took the following galaxy images, StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, White Balance 5000K:




Clouds were now increasing.

2053 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed NGC2403 (galaxy), 102X.

2104 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Thursday, 28 February 2019, 2114 MST
Temperature: 54°F
Session Length: 3h 05m
Conditions: Partly cloudy

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