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More Herschel 400 imaging

Posted: 22 December 2022

Clouds arrived late afternoon on Thursday, 15 December 2022. That evening I attended a special Christmas dinner for volunteers in Oracle. Each of us received this woodcut ornament.


After sunset on Friday, 16 December, I took this D850 DSLR photo (f/5, 1/4sec, ISO 200, FL 170mm) of Mercury (upper left) and Venus (near horizon) in the southwestern sky. Some of the clouds are also visible.

Click or tap on image for larger version

Saturday morning, 17 December, there was an "ice spike" in one of our bird baths.


Cloudy skies continued until Monday, 19 December, but I didn't open the observatory that night. Clouds returned on Tuesday, 20 December. The sky cleared Wednesday morning, 21 December.

Open: Wednesday, 21 December 2022, 1804 MST
Temperature: 62°F
Session: 1814
Conditions: Clear

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


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

Viewed Venus, very low in the southwestern sky, 102X.

Viewed Mercury, also low in the southwestern sky, 102X.

I then stepped outside of the observatory and took this handheld photo of the observatory and the planets using the D850 DSLR (f/6.3, 1/2sec, ISO 1600, FL 48mm).

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for labels

Next, I viewed Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, 102X.

1826 MST: High Precision ON.

I viewed two more Herschel 400 Catalog objects, 102X: NGC225 (open cluster) and NGC246 (planetary nebula).

I then prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging. I mounted the camera at prime focus, focused on the star Deneb, and locked the telescope mirror. Slewed to NGC40 (planetary nebula) to begin more Herschel 400 objects for my Herschel 400 Catalog Astrophotography Album.

1846 MST: StarLock ON.

Took the following StarLock autoguided images at various exposure settings (1 to 5 minutes, ISO 1600-5000).

NGC40 (planetary nebula)
NGC129 (open cluster)
NGC136 (open cluster)
NGC157 (galaxy)
NGC185 (galaxy)
NGC246 (planetary nebula)
NGC205 (M110, galaxy)

Autoguiding on NGC246 (planetary nebula) was very erratic (thin clouds?). I plan to re-image it on the next session. I also imaged NGC225 (open cluster) but had a pointing error. I will re-image it on the next session.

2037 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed M1 (Crab Nebula), 102X. Viewed M42 (Orion Nebula), 102X.

2050 MST: LX600 OFF.

2057 MST: Took a Sky Quality reading and reported the result to Globe at Night.

Close: Wednesday, 21 December 2022, 2102 MST
Temperature: 43°F
Session Length: 2h 58m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.00

Watch the new video trailer for my autobiography Finding my Way to the Stars.

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