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The Box of Galaxies (Hickson 61)

Posted: 5 May 2021

Tuesday, 4 May 2021, was clear. Our wildlife camera caught some neighbors having a get-together in Oracle.


Open: Tuesday, 4 May 2021, 1756 MST
Temperature: 86°F
Session: 1631
Conditions: Clear, breezy

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece


After opening the observatory I relaxed on the observatory patio bench and watched the first hour of the Explore Alliance Virtual Global Star Party on my iPhone.

1905 MST: back inside the observatory.

1907 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1910 MST: viewed Venus, 102X. Viewed the planet through the trees as it was very low in the western sky. A nearly full phase was visible.

1911 MST: sunset. Calm now.

1912 MST: viewed Mercury, 102X and 271X. A slight gibbous phase was visible.

1922 MST: returned to the patio bench to watch the stars come out.

2000 MST: back inside the observatory. Slewed the 12" telescope to NGC4169 (galaxy), part of the Hickson 61 group of galaxies known as "The Box". NGC4169 is the brightest of the galaxies at Mag. +13.3.

2005 MST: dome OFF.

Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging.

2014 MST: viewed NGC4169 (galaxy), 102X. None of the other fainter galaxies were visible.

2020 MST: the Zodiacal Light was nice in the western sky.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus, focused on the star Arcturus, locked the 12" mirror, and slewed back to NGC4169.

2035 MST: StarLock ON.

After doing some framing test images, I did six 5-minute, StarLock autoguided, ISO 12800, White Balance 4550K, exposures of "The Box". This is one of the full-frame images.


I stacked the six images (effective exposure 30 minutes) and cropped the image with this result.

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

2114 MST: StarLock OFF.

Observed NGC4169 (galaxy), 102X. Could not see the other fainter galaxies.

2124 MST: LX600 OFF.

2128 MST: dome ON.

2140 MST: took a Sky Quality reading and reported the result to Globe at Night.

Close: Tuesday, 4 May 2021, 2143 MST
Temperature: 63°F
Session Length: 3h 47m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.18

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