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Pleiades on SkyShed POD Dome

Posted: 5 January 2021

Saturday, 2 January 2021, was cloudy. Sunday, 3 January, also had some clouds. Monday, 4 January was clear until sunset, when clouds began approaching from the west. I decided to open the observatory to try a special imaging project.

Open: Monday, 4 January 2021, 1817 MST
Temperature: 65°F
Session: 1583
Conditions: Mostly clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 50mm eyepiece


1821 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Clouds were near Saturn and Jupiter, low in the southwestern sky. Viewed Saturn, then Jupiter and four moons, 102X. Both planets were too low in the sky for good viewing.

Viewed M45 (the Pleiades), 102X and 49X. Could not get all the major stars of the Pleiades in either eyepiece field-of-view. Also viewed the Pleiades, 12x50 binoculars.

I then projected the Pleiades onto the observatory dome using the 2" 50mm eyepiece (49X). I could not visually detect the stars on the dome, but I did several photographs of the dome with the D850 DSLR + 50mm lens with the hope that I would get the stars. Several photos successfully captured the stars which allowed me to best position the dome. This is an f/2, 30 seconds, ISO 6400, FL 50mm, photograph showing several of the stars in the Pleiades.

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

I then viewed NGC1977 (Running Man Nebula), 102X. The "man" was faintly visible. I added the Explore Scientific 2" UHC filter. It increased the contrast but did not improve visibility of the "man".

Next, viewed M42 (Great Orion Nebula), 102X + UHC filter. The structure of the nebula was more detailed with the filter than without it.

Cloud cover was increasing so I ended the session.

1918 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Monday, 4 January 2021, 1930 MST
Temperature: 54°F
Session Length: 1h 13m
Conditions: Partly cloudy

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