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Silver Streak Galaxy, iPhone Milky Way

Posted: 13 June 2021

Saturday, 12 June 2021, was clear. While doing a bike ride through Oracle, I took this iPhone photo (cropped) showing the smoke from the Telegraph Fire 70 miles to the north of Oracle.


By Saturday morning the Telegraph Fire had burned 87,078 acres (45% contained) and the Mescal Fire (50 miles east of the Telegraph Fire) had burned 72,250 acres (82% contained).

Open: Saturday, 12 June 2021, 1847 MST
Temperature: 98°F
Session: 1646
Conditions: Mostly clear, smoky

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" UHC filter
Filter Slider

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Set up the iPhone 11 Pro Max on the iOptron SkyTracker Pro for later sky imaging.


Relaxed on the observatory patio bench. Did some birdwatching using the Vortex 12x50 binoculars.

1929 MST: viewed the crescent Moon, 12x50 binoculars.

1936 MST: sunset.

1937 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1939 MST: took this photo of the western sky showing the effect of the smoke.


Viewed the gibbous Venus, 102X. Then viewed the Moon, 102X.

1946 MST: returned to the bench to watch the stars come out.

2006 MST: took this handheld iPhone afocal 102X photo of the Moon using NightCap Camera (ISO 320, 1/150sec, 1X lens).


2010 MST: dome OFF.

Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging.

Returned to the bench.

2017 MST: iPhone photo of the western sky showing the crescent Moon, Earthshine, Venus (near the trees), and the observatory.


2019 MST: Kissing Bug #1 terminated.

2032 MST: observed the recently discovered nova in Hercules, 12x50 binoculars. Then viewed M13 (Great Globular Cluster in Hercules), M57 (Ring Nebula), Omega Centauri (globular cluster), and M4 (globular cluster), 12x50 binoculars.

2056 MST: back inside the observatory.

Viewed NGC4302 and NGC4298 galaxies, 102X. Viewed NGC4216 (Silver Streak Galaxy), 102X.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus using the Filter Slider, inserted the 2" UHC filter, focused on the star Denebola, locked the 12" mirror, and slewed to NGC4302.

2109 MST: StarLock ON.

Once again, could not get a good guide star lock on, perhaps due to the smoky sky. No good images.

Slewed to NGC4216. StarLock autoguiding was better. Getting breezy.

This is a stack of six, StarLock autoguided, 5 minute, ISO 12800, exposures (effective exposure 30 minutes) of NGC4216 (Silver Streak Galaxy). The galaxies NGC4222 (upper left) and NGC4206 (lower right) are also visible.


2152 MST: Kissing Bug #2 terminated.

Slewed back to NGC4302 but still could not get good autoguiding.

2200 MST: Kissing Bug #3 seen.

2206 MST: StarLock OFF.

Ended prime focus imaging.

Viewed NGC4302 and NGC4298 (galaxies), 102X. Then viewed M4 (globular cluster), 102X.

2225 MST: dome ON.

Set up the SkyTracker Pro in a good location to image the rising Milky Way.

2230 MST: relaxed on the bench and did some 12x50 binoculars observing.

2257 MST: back in the observatory.

2259 MST: Kissing Bug #4 terminated.

Viewed the following, 102X: M22 (globular cluster), M20 (Trifid Nebula), M8 (Lagoon Nebula), and M17 (Swan Nebula).

2305 MST: LX600 OFF.

2310 MST: mounted the iPhone 11 Pro Max on the SkyTracker Pro. Polar aligned the SkyTracker Pro. Calm now. I did some tracked iPhone imaging of the Milky Way as an experiment. The iOS Camera app in Night Mode (30 seconds, 1X lens) did a better job of capturing the Milky Way than NightCap Camera. This is a stack of four 30 seconds exposures (effective exposure 2 minutes).


2338 MST: ended Milky Way imaging.

2342 MST: Kissing Bug #5 seen.

2349 MST: took a Sky Quality reading. The smoky sky was fairly bright.

Close: Saturday, 12 June 2021, 2353 MST
Temperature: 79°F
Session Length: 5h 06m
Conditions: Clear, smoky, SQM 21.12

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