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iPhone Planets, D850 HA-OIII Messier Nebulae

Posted: 7 September 2020

Open: Sunday, 6 September 2020, 1828 MST
Temperature: 95°F
Session: 1516
Conditions: Mostly clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
1.25" 15mm eyepiece
2" 2X Powermate
1.25" Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector
Filter Slider System; HA, OIII filters

iPhone 11 Pro Max

After I arrived at the observatory I took this iPhone photo of the southwestern sky.

The photo shows some thin clouds that might have been smoke from California wildfires.


1835 MST: I then began relaxing on the observatory patio bench. There were some clouds to the north, running to the southwestern sky.


1842 MST: sunset.

1900 MST: back inside the observatory.

1902 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Jupiter and four moons, 102X and 325X. Seeing was fairly good. Added the ZWO Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector. The ADC really improved the view.

Mounted the iPhone 11 Pro Max on the 15mm eyepiece using the Levenhuk adapter. This is a single afocal 325X + ADC photograph of Jupiter and two moons taken with the iOS app NightCap Camera (ISO 100, 1/30sec, 1X lens).


And Saturn, afocal 325X + ADC, NightCap Camera (ISO 100, 1/15sec, 1X lens).


Then viewed Saturn, 325X + ADC. Nice view.

I then began preparing the D850 DSLR for prime focus imaging using the Starizona Filter Slider System and the Optolong SHO Filters.

I viewed M8 (Lagoon Nebula), 102X. It would be my first DSO imaging target for the night.

1935 MST: returned to the bench to watch the stars come out.

2000 MST: although it was tough to stop looking up at the night sky and the Milky Way overhead, I returned to the observatory and began preparing to begin prime focus imaging.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus using the Filter Slider System, focused on the star Antares through the HA filter using the Meade Bahtinov Mask, then locked the 12" primary mirror.

2010 MST: StarLock ON.

I imaged M8 (Lagoon Nebula), M16 (Eagle Nebula), and M17 (Swan Nebula) before seeing got too bad for accurate autoguiding. I imaged M8 and M16 through the HA, OIII, and SII filters, although only the HA and OIII images were used during post-processing. I imaged M17 using HA and OIII. Here are the resulting images.

M8 (Lagoon Nebula)

M16 (Eagle Nebula)

M17 (Swan Nebula)

With seeing getting bad and breezes getting stronger I ended the imaging.

2125 MST: StarLock OFF.

Over the past few sessions I have experienced an increasing number of random shutter triggers with the Vello ShutterBoss on my D850 DSLR using the wireless receiver. No random triggers occurred when using the wired mode. I will be looking for a replacement wireless intervalometer.

Viewed M17 (Swan Nebula), 102X.

2135 MST: the eastern sky was brightening from the rising waning gibbous Moon. Mars was visible low in the eastern sky.

2138 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Sunday, 6 September 2020, 2150 MST
Temperature: 82°F
Session Length: 3h 25m
Conditions: Mostly clear, breezy

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