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iPhone Astrophotography
M46 Open Cluster & NGC2438 Planetary Nebula

Posted: 18 February 2022

Tuesday, 15 February 2022, was clear but very hazy (dusty) from strong winds. With a forecast of rain and possible snow on Wednesday, I put the Dome Cover ON. Clouds arrived as sunset approached. Wednesday morning, 16 February, had some brief snow flurries (total precipation 0.05"). Thursday, 17 February, the sky began cloudy, but cleared mid-afternoon.

Open: Thursday, 17 February 2022, 1756 MST
Temperature: 62°F
Session: 1723
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece

iPhone 13 Pro Max

1803 MST: Dome Cover OFF.

1807 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1811 MST: Sunset.

1812 MST: Viewed the planet Jupiter, low in the western sky, 102X.

Slewed the 12" telescope to M46 (open cluster). It was not yet visible in the bright twilight sky.

SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV time signals.

1835 MST: Took this iPhone photo inside the observatory.


1852 MST: Some stars in M46 (open cluster) were becoming visible, 102X.

1901 MST: More stars in M46 were visible and NGC2438 (planetary nebula) was faintly visible in the still bright twilight sky, 102X. Switched to the 2" 30mm eyepiece. NGC2438 was easily seen, 81X.

Mounted the iPhone 13 Pro Max on the 30mm eyepiece.

1911 MST: StarLock ON.

Began afocal 81X imaging of some open star clusters with the iPhone using the iOS app NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, 1sec, 1 minute exposure, 1X lens).

M46 & NGC2438 (ISO 32000)

M47 (ISO 10000)

M48 (ISO 10000)

1925 MST: The eastern sky was brightening from the rising waning gibbous Moon.

1929 MST: StarLock OFF.

1934 MST: Viewed M48 (open cluster), M47 (open cluster), and M46 (open cluster) with NGC2438 (planetary nebula), 102X.

1936 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Thursday, 17 February 2022, 1943 MST
Temperature: 46°F
Session Length: 1h 47m
Conditions: Clear

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