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NGC1499 California Nebula with Piggyback 300mm lens

Posted: 31 March 2021

Cloudy skies returned on Monday, 29 March 2021. Tuesday, 30 March, was clear but very windy (again). The wind calmed down after sunset.

Open: Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 1901 MST
Temperature: 77°F
Session: 1617
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 50mm eyepiece
1.25" 26mm eyepiece

D7200 DSLR

1904 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Slewed to M52 (open star cluster) and Nova V1405 Cas. Neither were visible yet in the bright twilight sky.

1914 MST: Nova V1405 Cas was now visible, 102X.

Slewed to NGC1499 (California Nebula). It was not yet visible in the twilight sky. Then slewed to the star Capella.

Mounted the D7200 DSLR with 70-300mm lens piggyback on the 12" LX600 telescope. Attached the Explore Scientific 2" UHC filter to the camera lens using the Sensei Step-down Rings. Focused on the star Capella, FL 300mm. Slewed back to NGC1499 and began waiting for Astronomical Twilight to end.

1945 MST: StarLock ON.

After doing two framing test images of the California Nebula, I did six StarLock autoguided, f/5.6, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, White Balance 5560K, FL 300mm, exposures. Some of the images had two parallel satellite trails (probably SpaceX Starlink satellites). All of the images had slight star trailing. As StarLock autoguiding was perfect, I suspect the star trailing was due to the camera rotating on the piggyback adapter from the weight of the lens.

I stacked the six images in Affinity Photo. I reduced the image size to minimize the affect of the star trailing in the final image. This is an effective 30 minute exposure of NGC1499 (California Nebula).


2032 MST: StarLock OFF.

Viewed NGC1499, 102X and 49X. Some faint nebulosity was visible.

Then viewed M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy), 49X and 94X. The view at 49X was very good, with the spiral arms easily seen. At 94X, the spiral arms were visible using averted vision.

Next, viewed NGC3628 (Sarah's Galaxy), 49X and 94X. Both magnifications provided nice views.

Finally, observed the Leo Triplet of Galaxies (M65, M66, and NGC3628), 49X and 102X. All three galaxies nicely visible in the same field-of-view with both eyepieces.

2058 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 2107 MST
Temperature: 59°F
Session Length: 2h 06m
Conditions: Clear

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