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NGC3628 Sarah's Galaxy, EclipseView 114 observing

Posted: 10 April 2021

Thursday, 8 April 2021, was a partly cloudy, Red Flag Warning day with strong winds. The Margo Fire broke out Thursday morning 22 miles from Oracle, forcing an entire community to be evacuated. This wildfire is yet another demonstration of why I have been working for over 8 years trying to get Congress to fix the dangerous and unfair STELA Federal legislation. The top photo shows the smoke visible from my driveway. The bottom photo shows a water dropping helicopter that passed over the observatory en route to the fire. At least 12 homes were destroyed.


Wind continued into the night. Friday, 9 April, was mostly clear and calm.

Open: Friday, 9 April 2021, 1811 MST
Temperature: 85°F
Session: 1621
Conditions: Mostly clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
EclipseView 114
1.25" 26mm eyepiece
1.25" 9mm eyepiece


I set up the Meade EclipseView 114 telescope (f/4, FL 450mm, Newtonian) on the observatory patio.


1824 MST: began relaxing on the observatory patio bench to wait for the sky to get dark.

1851 MST: sunset.


1914 MST: back inside the observatory. Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging.

1920 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Slewed to NGC3628 (Sarah's Galaxy, also known as the Hamburger Galaxy). It was not yet visible in the twilight sky.

Back relaxing on the bench.

1939 MST: observed M42 (the Great Orion Nebula) using the EclipseView 114, 17X. Nice view. Switched to the 9mm eyepiece (50X). That was an even nicer view. The Trapezium star cluster was very distinct.

1944 MST: returned to the 12" telescope in the observatory. NGC3628 was now faintly visible, 102X. Viewed the Leo Triplet of Galaxies (M65, M66, and NGC3628) in the same field-of-view, 102X.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + UHC filter, focused on the star Regulus, and locked the 12" mirror. Slewed to NGC3628.

1956 MST: StarLock ON.

Did some framing test images. Then began taking StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 12800, White Balance 5550K, images. The first image was ruined by a passing satellite.


The next six images were good. This is a stack of the six images (effective exposure 30 minutes) using Affinity Photo and then cropped from the full-frame image.


2039 MST: StarLock OFF.

Viewed the Leo Triplet, 102X. Very nice view of all three galaxies.

2049 MST: LX600 OFF.

2056 MST: began doing some observing using the EclipseView 114m. Using a magnification of 17X I viewed M45 (Pleiades), M42 (Orion Nebula), Double Cluster, and the Leo Triplet (M65, M66, and NGC3628). The view of the Leo Triplet galaxies was surprising good. It was fun using this f/4, manual, Alt/Az mounted, telescope for Deep Sky Observing.

2122 MST: took a Sky Quality reading and reported the result to Globe at Night.

Close: Friday, 9 April 2021, 2126 MST
Temperature: 63°F
Session Length: 3h 15m
Conditions: Mostly clear, SQM 21.17

Reminder: Oracle State Park, our local IDA "International Dark Sky Park", will be having its first Virtual Star Party in conjunction with International Dark Sky Week, 5-12 April 2021. For the virtual event I will be monitoring the Oracle State Park Facebook page (which may be available to non-FB members). The show will air at 7 PM MST on Saturday, 10 April (0200 GMT, 11 April).

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