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D850 DSLR UHC Filter imaging: Sculptor Galaxy, Pleiades

Posted: 5 December 2020

Although Tuesday, 1 December 2020, was clear, I skipped opening the observatory that night due to activities the next day. Wednesday, 2 December, was clear but windy. Thursday, 3 December, was also clear but with strong wind. Fifteen years ago on this date I went to "Oracle Observatory" for my 10th visit.

Friday, 4 December, was clear and calm.

Open: Friday, 4 December 2020, 1739 MST
Temperature: 62°F
Session: 1565
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" UHC Filter
Focal Reducer


1745 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Jupiter and four moons, 102X. Viewed Saturn and one moon, 102X. Then viewed Mars, 102X.

Viewed Jupiter and Saturn, 12x50 binoculars. The planets are getting closer together on the way to their very close conjunction on 21 December 2020.

A neighbor to the south had their front porch lights on, as seen in this photo. Jupiter and Saturn are at the far right.


1807 MST: shortly after I took the above photo the neighbor turned off the light. Thanks neighbor!

1813 MST: viewed NGC253 (Sculptor Galaxy), 102X. It was faintly visible in the twilight sky.

I stepped outside of the observatory and took this photo of Jupiter and Saturn.

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for labels

1830 MST: mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer + UHC filter. Focused on the star Fomalhaut using a Bahtinov Mask, and locked the 12" primary mirror. Slewed to NGC253.

1842 MST: StarLock ON.

Took this (slightly cropped) StarLock autoguided, 15 minutes exposure, ISO 6400, White Balance 5000K, image of NGC253 (Sculptor Galaxy).


Then took this (uncropped) StarLock autoguided, 10 minutes exposure, ISO 6400, White Balance 4000K, image of M45 (the Pleiades).


Some vignetting is visible.

1923 MST: StarLock OFF.

Viewed M45 (Pleiades), 102X.

1937 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Friday, 4 December 2020, 1945 MST
Temperature: 46°F
Session Length: 2h 06m
Conditions: Clear

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