Cassiopeia Observatory logo

D850 DSLR Imaging: Moon, Galaxies, Jupiter

Posted: 6 June 2019

Monday, 3 June 2019, had hazy skies with some clouds and strong winds beginning mid-morning. Although the winds decreased as sunset approached, the hazy sky continued. As I was pretty well wiped out from the day's activities I skipped opening the observatory that night. The forecast called for not good seeing anyway, but originally was to improve and be clear the next night.

Tuesday, 4 June, began less hazy and calm. During the day a crew from Technicians For Sustainability came to begin the work to install a Tesla Powerwall battery for our house. TFS had done the original solar power system for our house in 2009. The Powerwall will provide power for half the house (critical loads) during our frequent Federal Government run electric company power outages. The observatory is one of the "critical loads" so I'll be able to use the observatory when everyone else's lights are off! The installation and re-wiring will take a few days to complete.

The forecast for Tuesday night changed on Tuesday to be partly cloudy with rain and lightning in the area! Clouds did start appearing mid-day. And the wind came up mid-afternoon with Monsoon Season like storm clouds appearing:


Wednesday, 5 June, dawned clear and calm with a clear sky forecast for the night. And even though I had an early morning commitment this next day I went to the observatory with the hopes of getting some galaxy imaging for my Extragalactic Supernova Project before the Moon gets too bright in the coming nights.

Open: Wednesday, 5 June 2019, 1914 MST
Temperature: 85°F
Session: 1360
Conditions: Clear

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


1921 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed the crescent Moon, 102X.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope.

1931 MST: sunset.

2002 MST: saw a Kissing Bug fly into the observatory. It landed on the telescope near the camera. It was terminated. Two minutes later another Kissing Bug flew into the observatory, but it escaped me.

2010 MST: took this photo of the Moon, 1/250sec, ISO 800, prime focus:


2012 MST: ended Moon imaging and began waiting for the sky to get darker before imaging some galaxies.

2022 MST: Kissing Bug #2 terminated. 2034 MST: Kissing Bug #3 terminated.

2036 MST: slewed the telescope to the star Regulus, focused, SYNCed the AutoStar, and locked the 12" primary mirror.

2053 MST: High Precision ON.

Slewed to the first galaxy.

2056 MST: StarLock ON.

Began imaging. For the first two galaxies imaged this night, autoguiding was a challenge (probably due to the seeing). I was not able to get 5 minutes exposures of these two galaxies, and even getting 1 minute exposures was difficult. I finally got 5 1 minute, ISO 6400, White Balance 5000K images of the first two galaxies. Those images (NGC3344 and NGC3351) were stacked using the Mac application Observatory. I was able to get a 5 minute exposure of NGC3371 (the top galaxy in the photo below).



NGC3371 (NGC3373 left, M105 right)

While I was imaging the galaxies Kissing Bug #4 was terminated.

2209 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

2211 MST: slewed to the planet Jupiter and imaged it and three of the four Galilean Moons at prime focus. The top image (1 second, ISO 100) shows three moons with Jupiter exposed. The bottom image 1/100sec, ISO 100) shows the planet and its cloud belts. Both images are cropped from the full-frame images.


2217 MST: ended imaging.

Viewed Jupiter and the three moons, 102X.

2224 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Wednesday, 5 June 2019, 2238 MST
Temperature: 71°F
Session Length: 3h 24m
Conditions: Clear

I have now completed the master images for my Extragalactic Supernova Project. 90 galaxies of Mag. +11.5 or brighter were imaged between 7 June 2018 and 5 June 2019. I will now begin taking potential supernova "discovery" images for comparison to the master images.

Comments are welcome using Email. Twitter users can use the button below to tweet this report to their followers. Thanks.

Previous report

Cassiopeia Observatory Home Page

Back to Top

Copyright ©2019 Michael L. Weasner /