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Venus, M61 Supernova 2020jfo

Posted: 18 May 2020

Open: Sunday, 17 May 2020, 1830 MST
Temperature: 92°F
Session: 1478
Conditions: Clear, windy

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

iPhone 11 Pro Max

1845 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X and 203X.

Took this handheld iPhone 11 Pro Max photo of Venus using NightCap Camera (ISO 32, 1/16000sec, 1X lens).


I then began relaxing on the observatory patio bench.

1920 MST: sunset. Calm now.

Viewed Venus, 203X. Then viewed Mercury, 203X. Mercury showed gibbous disk.

1926 MST: viewed Venus, 12x50 binoculars. The crescent was easy to see. Also viewed Mercury, 12x50 binoculars. It was bright.

1930 MST: dome OFF.

Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging. Then relazed on the bench again to watch the stars come out while waiting for the end of Astronomical Twilight (2052 MST).

2030 MST: back in the observatory. Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + 2X Powermate, focused on the star Regulus, and locked the mirror. Slewed to M61 (galaxy).

2045 MST: StarLock ON.

Did some framing test exposures of M61. I took 10 StarLock autoguided, 1 minute, ISO 6400, White Balance 5560K, exposures. Seven good exposures were stacked using the macOS app Observatory for this image.

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for pointer to supernova

I then mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer to image a faint (Mag. +17.5) asteroid.

2120 MST: Wi-Fi ON.

Used SkySafari 6 Pro on the iPhone to GOTO the asteroid. Did two StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, WB 5560K, exposures separated by one hour. During post-processing I "blinked" these images looking for movement of the asteroid. Unfortunately, there was no asteroid detected. It was probably lost in the Tucson skyglow as the asteroid was so faint and low in the southern sky. I will try again when the asteroid is better positioned in my sky.

2232 MST: StarLock OFF, Wi-Fi OFF.

2241 MST: LX600 OFF.

2249 MST: dome ON.

2252 MST: took a Sky Quality reading. Reported the results to Globe at Night.

Close: Sunday, 17 May 2020, 2258 MST
Temperature: 68°F
Session Length: 4h 28m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.26

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