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Crescent Moon, NGC4302/4298 Galaxies,
Cat's Eye Nebula

Posted: 12 June 2021

Monday, 7 June 2021, dawned clear with some smoke visible along the north and western horizons. The wildfires about 70 miles to the north continued to grow overnight: Telegraph Fire (41,109 acres burned, 0% contained) and Mescal Fire (49,631 acres burned, 8% contained). Several evacuations were ordered in the areas affected by the fires. Clouds began appearing mid-morning with the sky being overcast mid-day and increasing wind by late afternoon. The Telegraph Fire increased to 61,211 acres burned during the day. Tuesday, 8 June, dawned mostly clear and calm, but became mostly cloudy mid-morning with increasing wind. The Telegraph Fire was now at 71,756 acres with 0% containment and the Mescal Fire at 65,825 acres burned, 23% contained. Wednesday morning, 9 June, was partly cloudy. The Telegraph Fire was now at 76,260 acres with 18% containment and the Mescal Fire at 70,066 acres burned, 23% contained. Cloudy skies continued on Thursday, 10 June. The Telegraph Fire was at 84,860 acres burned (34% contained) and the Mescal Fire was at 72,250 acres burned (23% contained). The sky finally cleared on Friday, 11 June. The Telegraph Fire was at 86,529 acres burned (40% contained) and the Mescal Fire was still at 72,250 acres burned (77% contained).

Open: Friday, 11 June 2021, 1829 MST
Temperature: 93°F
Session: 1645
Conditions: Clear

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

iPhone 11 Pro Max

SYNCed observatory clock to WWV time signals.

1841 MST: began relaxing on observatory patio bench.

1900 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1902 MST: viewed the planet Venus, 102X. A gibbous phase was obvious.

Returned to the bench.

1935 MST: sunset.

1951 MST: viewed the thin crescent Moon, 102X. Took this handheld iPhone 11 Pro Max afocal 102X photo using NightCap Camera (ISO 32, 1/80sec, 1X lens).


Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging and then returned to the bench to the watch the stars come out.

2011 MST: I was attacked by a Kissing Bug. I quickly brushed it off.

2025 MST: took this iPhone photo (slightly cropped) of Venus, the cresent Moon, and the observatory using the Camera app (2X lens).


2045 MST: back inside the observatory.

2048 MST: viewed NGC4302 and NGC4298 (galaxies), 102X. Then slewed to the star Denebola, mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope using the Starizona Filter Slider System, inserted the UHC filter, focused on Denebola, and locked the primary mirror using the ScopeStuff LX600 12" Primary Mirror Lock. Then slewed to NGC4302.

2059 MST: StarLock ON.

Began imaging NGC4302 and NGC4298. Unfortunately, the StarLock had difficulty autoguiding during even 1 minute exposure for some reason, perhaps due to smoke in the atmosphere. This is a 5 minute, ISO 12800, image of the two galaxies. Some trailing is evident. The faint galaxy UGC7436 is to the upper left of the two galaxies in the center.


I will re-image the galaxies on the next session.

Slewed to NGC6543 (Cat's Eye Nebula) and took several images using the UHC and OIII filters. This is a stack of two StarLock autoguided images, 15 seconds, ISO 4000K each, using each filter.


2140 MST: StarLock OFF.

Viewed NGC6543 (Cat's Eye Nebula), 102X and 271X. Then viewed M57 (Ring Nebula), 271X and 102X.

2200 MST: LX600 OFF.

2203 MST: took a Sky Quality reading.

Close: Friday, 11 June 2021, 2206 MST
Temperature: 75°F
Session Length: 3h 37m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.21

My autobiography "Finding my Way to the Stars" has been highlighted on the Astronomy Technology Today web site.

For those who might have missed the announcement: Orion Announces Acquisition of Meade Instruments. It remains to be seen what the long-term prospects are for Meade products.

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