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Moon and Mars, Spirograph Nebula

Posted: 19 February 2021

Cloudy skies returned on Monday, 15 February 2021, and continued until Wednesday, 17 February, which was clear in the morning. Unfortunately, unforecast clouds arrived in the early afternoon. Fortunately, the clouds began going away late afternoon. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing even stronger than it had been for several days.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021, was the 5th anniversary of "First Light" with my 12" LX600.

Thursday, 18 February, was clear with less wind.

Open: Thursday, 18 February 2021, 1823 MST
Temperature: 61°F
Session: 1597
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
2" UHC filter
2" OIII filter
Filter Slider System


1834 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed the Moon, 102X, without and with the Astrozap Mask. The view was crisper with the Mask. Then viewed the Moon, 271X, with and without the Mask. The view was crisper with the Mask but noticeably dimmer. I had last tried using the Mask in 2020 for bright planets viewing.


1850 MST: the Moon and Mars taken with the D850 DSLR (f/5.6, 1/125sec, ISO 400, FL 300mm). The Perseverance Rover had successfully landed on Mars during the day.

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1858 MST: viewed IC418 (Spirograph Nebula, planetary nebula), 102X and 271X. It was small but bright.

1908 MST: dome OFF.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus using the Filter Slider. Took this image of the Moon (1/250sec, ISO 400).


Slewed to the star Rigel, focused with the UHC filter, and locked the 12" mirror. Slewed to IC418.

1925 MST: StarLock ON.

Did StarLock autoguided images of IC418 (Spirograph Nebula) with the UHC (30 seconds, ISO 250) and OIII (30 seconds, ISO 400) filters. IC418 was low in the southern sky so imaging was not very good. I had last imaged IC418 in 2014 using a 8" LX200-ACF with a D7000 DSLR without filters. The UHC image was not useful, but the OIII was fairly good. This is the unedited, full-frame OIII image to show the size of the planetary nebula.


This is an edited image of IC418 (Spirograph Nebula).


1942 MST: StarLock OFF.

1952 MST: dome ON.

Viewed M42 (Orion Nebula), 102X.

1954 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Thursday, 18 February 2021, 2003 MST
Temperature: 44°F
Session Length: 1h 40m
Conditions: Clear

I have posted my review of Affinity Photo Astrophotography Editing.

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