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Satellites Photobomb Asteroid Imaging

Posted: 14 May 2020

Open: Wednesday, 13 May 2020, 1812 MST
Temperature: 86°F
Session: 1475
Conditions: Clear, breezy

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 4X Powermate


1817 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X and 406X.

I then relaxed on the observatory patio bench as it would be a couple of hours before I would start imaging.

Watched some hawks hovering over the hill to the southeast.

1915 MST: Hawk a long ways away taken with the D850 DSLR, FL 300mm.


1918 MST: sunset.

1950 MST: prepared the D850 DSLR for asteroid imaging after the end of Astronomical Twilight (2048 MST).

2000 MST: the strong breezes had calmed down.

2019 MST: last look at the crescent Venus, 406X and 102X.

2026 MST: dome OFF.

2030 MST: mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer. Focused on the star Spica and locked the 12" primary mirror.

2045 MST: Wi-Fi ON.

Used SkySafari 6 Pro on the iPhone to GOTO Asteroid (1728) Goethe Link, Mag. +15.9.

2055 MST: StarLock ON.

2056 MST: began imaging Asteroid Goethe Link, StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, White Balance 5560K.

2105 MST: imaged the second of three planned asteroids for this session. Seeing was getting worse and autoguiding was deteriorating.

I relaxed on the patio bench during the one hour between exposures. Strong breezes returned.

2156 MST: tried to image Goethe Link again but seeing was too bad. I ended imaging. I will try again to image the three asteroids on the next clear night.

2201 MST: Wi-Fi OFF, StarLock OFF.

During post-processing of the 2056 MST image of Asteroid (1728) Goethe Link I saw that some satellites photobombed the image. This is the unedited photo showing the satellites. Could they be SpaceX Starlink satellites?


2213 MST: viewed M61 (galaxy), 102X. I was pretty certain I could see supernova 2020jfo using averted vision.

Viewed Omega Centauri (globular cluster), 102X. It was a very nice view of this large cluster even though it was very low in the southern sky. Also viewed Centaurus A (galaxy), 102X.

2219 MST: LX600 OFF.

2228 MST: took a Sky Quality reading. The neighbor's bright unshielded floodlights were on.

Close: Wednesday, 13 May 2020, 2232 MST
Temperature: 64°F
Session Length: 4h 20m
Conditions: Clear, breezy, SQM 21.24

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