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A Camera Oops,
Observing Galaxy Trios, Eskimo Nebula

Posted: 6 February 2021

Open: Friday, 5 February 2021, 1813 MST
Temperature: 66°F
Session: 1590
Conditions: Clear, breezy

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" UHC filter
2" OIII filter
Filter Slider System


SYNCed the observatory to WWV time signals.

1820 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Updated the TLE in the AutoStar for the evening's pass of the International Space Station (ISS).

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus, focused on the star Rigel, and locked the telescope mirror using the ScopeStuff LX600 12" Primary Mirror Lock.

The ISS seemed to arrive earlier than predicted and tracking was not good. I lost the ISS in the finderscope about mid-way through the long pass. I then discovered that at some point during the rapid slewing of the telescope the power cord to the D850 DSLR had been disconnected and the camera was off. This was the first time that I have ever had this happen. I reconnected the cord and powered the camera on. No video was recorded. I saw "Err" on the camera display. Not good. I switched to the battery and still had the Err code. I did a lot of troubleshooting to try to clear the error, but nothing worked. I was beginning to think that I would have to return the camera to Nikon for a repair. The camera would power on and I could use the menus, but I could not adjust the shutter speed or the ISO setting. I then noticed that the reflex mirror was still up, which it would have been during the video recording when the power failed. I had set the camera release mode dial to Mup (Mirror up) for my later imaging. With the camera powered on, I turned Mup off and the mirror dropped back to the normal position. This cleared the Err. Whew! Memo to Self: use battery power when tracking the ISS.

SYNCed the telescope on the star Procyon.

1917 MST: I began observing some "Galaxy Trios" listed in Miles Paul's "Atlas of Galaxy Trios". I have been working my way through this list since September 2020. This night I observed the following at 102X:

NGC1531/1532/IC2041 (Mag. +12.1, +9.9, +13.6), IC2041 was lost in the skyglow low in the southern sky
NGC1618/1622/1625 (Mag. +12.7, +12.5, +12.3)
NGC1721/1725/1728 (Mag. +12.3, +12.3, +12.9)
NGC2292/2293/2295 (Mag. +10.8, +10.7, +12.7)

1950 MST: the Zodiacal Light was nicely visible in the western sky.

1953 MST: observed NGC2359 (Thor's Helmet), low in the southeastern sky, 102X. Next, I observed NGC2392 (Eskimo Nebula), 102X. I then observed NGC2903 (Ghost of Jupiter Nebula), low in the eastern sky, 102X.

Mounted the (now working) D850 DSLR at prime focus using the Starizona Filter Slider System, added the Explore Scientific 2" UHC Filter, focused on Procyon, and locked the 12" mirror.

2013 MST: High Precision ON.

Slewed to NGC2392 (Eskimo Nebula).

2015 MST: StarLock ON.

I took this StarLock autoguided, 1 minute, ISO 2500, White Balance 4550K, image (cropped) of the Eskimo Nebula.


I also imaged the nebula using the Optolong 2" OIII filter but adding that image to the UHC image did not add anything.

2035 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

2046 MST: viewed M97 (Owl Nebula), low in the northeastern sky, 102X.

2048 MST: LX600 OFF.

2055 MST: did a Sky Quality reading and reported the result to Globe at Night.

Close: Friday, 5 February 2021, 2100 MST
Temperature: 44°F
Session Length: 2h 47m
Conditions: Clear, breezy, SQM 21.00

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