Flame & Horsehead Nebulae,
Bode's & Cigar Galaxies
Posted: 28 March 2022
Cloudy skies began Friday morning, 25 March 2022. Sunset on Saturday, 26 March, was nice.
The sky was unexpectedly clear on Sunday, 27 March.
Open: Sunday, 27 March 2022, 1824 MST
Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging.
1843 MST: Sunset.
Relaxed on the observatory patio bench while waiting for the sky to get darker.
1907 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.
1910 MST: Did DSLR field-of-view alignment tests at prime focus and prime focus + focal reducer.
1922 MST: Relaxed on the bench.
1944 MST: The Zodiacal Light and the Winter Milky Way were nicely visible.
1945 MST: Back inside the observatory. With the D850 DSLR mounted at prime focus + focal reducer + UHC filter, focused on the star Betelgeuse and locked the 12" primary mirror.
1952 MST: High Precision ON.
Slewed to IC434 (Horsehead Nebula). Did some framing test images to get both NGC2024 (Flame Nebula) and IC434 Horsehead Nebula) in the same field-of-view.
1955 MST: StarLock ON.
Took six StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 1600, White Balance 5560K, images of the Flame and Horsehead Nebulae. The six images were stacked using Affinity Photo and cropped for this effective exposure of 30 minutes image.
Slewed to M81 (Bode's Galaxy) and did some framing tests to get both M81 and M82 (Cigar Galaxy) in the same field-of-view. Then took six StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 1600, White Balance 5560K, images of Bode's (left) and the Cigar Galaxy (right). Clouds obscured the final image and a passing satellite ruined another image. Four images were stacked using Affinity Photo and cropped for this effective exposure of 20 minutes image.
Ended imaging due to the clouds in much of the sky.
2128 MST: StarLock OFF.
Slewed to the Leo Triplet of Galaxies (M65, M66, NGC3628 Sarah's Galaxy) and did a field-of-view orientation check. Then viewed the Leo Triplet, 102X. The view was hampered by clouds.
2142 MST: LX600 OFF.
As I was closing the observatory I took this handheld iPhone 13 Pro Max photo using the Camera app (Night Mode, 3 seconds exposure, 1X lens).
The bright star Sirius is near the center and the constellation of Orion on the right.
Close: Sunday, 27 March 2022, 2155 MST
Session Length: 3h 31m|
Conditions: Mostly cloudy
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