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D850 DSLR imaging: Orion Rising

Posted: 2 January 2021

Open: Friday, 1 January 2021, 1811 MST
Temperature: 59°F
Session: 1582
Conditions: Clear

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

iPhone 11 Pro Max

1814 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Saturn and its moon Titan, 102X. Viewed Jupiter and two of its moons, 102X.

I set up the D850 DSLR with a 14mm UWA lens outside of the observatory. This handheld iPhone 11 Pro Max photo taken with the Camera app (Night Mode, 3 seconds, 1X lens) shows the observatory, camera, and Jupiter and Saturn low in the southwestern sky.

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1822 MST: D850 DSLR photo (f/3.5, 1 second, ISO 1600, FL 14mm UWA) of the observatory and southwestern sky.


1832 MST: back at the 12" telescope I viewed M1 (Crab Nebula), 102X.

I then spent some time on this first night of the New Year just enjoying looking up at the night sky from my dark site.

1908 MST: I repositioned the D850 DSLR and photographed Orion rising (f/5.6, 25 seconds, ISO 1600, FL 14mm UWA). Also visible in the photo is the Pleiades (top), with the Hyades star cluster below it and the planet Mars to the right of the Pleiades.

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1918 MST: viewed M42 (Great Orion Nebula), 102X.

The Winter Milky Way was nicely visible from Auriga to Orion.

I returned to the Crab Nebula to do some StarLock autoguiding tests. For the past almost five years of using the LX600 w/StarLock I have used StarLock Guide Rates of RA 66% and Dec 67%. Other owners use RA 10% and Dec 11%. When I tried those settings after first getting the LX600 in 2016 I did not get good autoguiding, and found 66/67% better. This night I did some more Guide Rate tests.

RA 10%, Dec 11%: Status showed values 0 to 5
RA 20%, Dec 21%: Status showed values 0 to 1
RA 66%, Dec 67%: Status showed values 0 to 3

At least on this night StarLock autoguiding was best using RA 20% and Dec 21%. I will use these settings on future StarLock autoguided imaging.

Took a final look at M1 (Crab Nebula), 102X.

1939 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Friday, 1 January 2021, 1947 MST
Temperature: 44°F
Session Length: 1h 36m
Conditions: Clear

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