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Quail Family,
Coma Galaxy Cluster

Posted: 27 June 2021

Saturday, 26 June 2021, was mostly clear during the day. However, smoke from wildfires in the state did become more visible in the late afternoon.


On my way to the observatory I saw a large Gambel's Quail family. There were about 20 chicks. This photo only got a few of the chicks.


Open: Saturday, 26 June 2021, 1839 MST
Temperature: 91°F
Session: 1651
Conditions: Mostly clear, smoky

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
Focal Reducer


I relaxed on the observatory patio bench after opening the dome.

1845 MST: took this iPhone 11 Pro Max photo of the western sky showing the smoke in the sky.


1931 MST: took these D850 DSLR photos (slightly cropped) of the setting Sun (f/11, 1/800sec, ISO 400, FL 300mm, and f/8, 1/320sec, ISO 400, FL 300mm).


1939 MST: sunset.

1941 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X. Seeing was bad due to the smoke.

Slewed the 12" telescope to NGC4889 (galaxy) in the Coma Galaxy Cluster. Relaxed on the bench to watch the stars come out.

2045 MST: back inside the observatory. Viewed NGC4889 (galaxy), 102X. The sky was still too bright to see more galaxies in the cluster.

Did a quick StarLock autoguiding test to see if the smoky sky would impact autoguiding. It did not. Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging. Mounted it at prime focus + focal reducer, focused on the star Denebola, locked the 12" primary mirror, and slewed to NGC4889.

2109 MST: StarLock ON.

I did seven StarLock autoguided images of the Coma Galaxy Cluster, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, White Balance 5560K. One of the images was ruined by a passing satellite. I stacked six of the images using Affinity Photo for an effective exposure time of 30 minutes, with this result.


I used the Observatory program to "plate solve" the image. This image shows many of the galaxies labeled.


2151 MST: StarLock OFF.

Viewed the Coma Galaxy Cluster, 102X. More galaxies were now easily seen. Then viewed NGC5907 (Knife Edge Galaxy), 102X. Nice view on this edge-on galaxy.

2206 MST: the eastern sky was brightening from the rising waning gibbous Moon.

2207 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Saturday, 26 June 2021, 2218 MST
Temperature: 78°F
Session Length: 3h 39m
Conditions: Clear, smoky

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