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SpaceX Starlink Satellites (?), Fishhead Nebula

Posted: 3 December 2021

Tuesday, 30 November 2021, had some clouds, and with a busy schedule the next day, I skipped opening the observatory this night. Wednesday, 1 December, was cloudy. The sky cleared by sunset on Thursday, 2 December.

Open: Thursday, 2 December 2021, 1803 MST
Temperature: 77°F
Session: 1701
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
Focal reducer
2" UHC filter

iPhone 13 Pro Max

1808 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter, 102X

Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging.

1815 MST: Relaxed on the observatory patio bench while waiting for the end of Astronomical Twilight.

I began noticing that some satellites I was seeing crossing the constellation of Perseus had the same path and speed. I suspected they were probably SpaceX Starlink satellites. I took the following handheld iPhone 13 Pro Max photos with the Camera app (Night Mode, 10 seconds, 1X lens) showing some of the satellites.

1816 MST
Mouseover or tap on image
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1821 MST

1827 MST

1829 MST

1831 MST

1843 MST: Back inside the observatory.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer + 2" UHC filter. Focused and SYNCed on the star Shedir in the constellation of Cassiopeia, then locked the 12" mirror.

This is a StarLock autoguided image of IC1795 (Fishhead Nebula), 5 minutes, ISO 12800, White Balance 5000K.


This is a stack of 6 StarLock autoguided images, 5 minutes, ISO 800, WB 5000K. It shows the fainter nebulosity better as the effective exposure was 30 minutes.


Removed the camera. Viewed M45 (the Pleiades) and M1 (Crab Nebula), 102X.

2023 MST: LX600 OFF.

2035 MST: Took a Sky Quality reading and reported the result to Globe at Night.

Close: Thursday, 2 December 2021, 2039 MST
Temperature: 61°F
Session Length: 2h 36m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.06

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