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More Herschel 400 Imaging & Observing

Posted: 13 January 2023

Thursday, 5 January 2023, was cloudy. On Friday, 6 January, I attended the Oracle Chamber Music Festival 2023. I had been invited to speak during the closing session dinner about my music and astronomy life as discussed in my autobiography Finding my Way to the Stars. My talk was cancelled at the last minute. After the dinner I had intended to show some night sky objects using my ETX-125 Observer telescope, but the sky was cloudy. Cloudy skies continued until Sunday, 8 January, but I did not open the observatory that night. Cloudy skies returned on Monday, 9 January, and continued until Thursday, 12 January.

Open: Thursday, 12 January 2023, 1814 MST
Temperature: 65°F
Session: 1818
Conditions: Mostly clear, breezy

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

iPhone 13 Pro Max

1820 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, 102X. Seeing was pretty bad.

1827 MST: High Precision ON.

Viewed NGC559 (open cluster), 102X.

Then I prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging the open star clusters in the Herschel 400 Catalog that I had observed on the previous session. Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus, focused on Deneb, and locked the 12" primary mirror. I then began waiting for the end of Astronomical Twilight (1904 MST).

1841 MST: Took this handheld iPhone 13 Pro Max photo showing M45 (Pleiades), the planet Mars, the Hyades cluster, and the constellation of Orion using the Camera app (Night Mode, 3 seconds, 1X lens).

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1855 MST: StarLock ON.

Took these StarLock autoguided images with the D850 DSLR (1 minute, ISO 1600, White Balance 4550K).

NGC559 (open cluster)

NGC637 (open cluster)

NGC654 (open cluster)

NGC659 (open cluster)

NGC663 (open cluster)

NGC752 (open cluster)

1945 MST: StarLock OFF.

Removed the camera from the 12" telescope.

Observed the following Herschel 400 galaxies, 102X: NGC524, NGC584, NGC596, NGC598 (M33, Triangulum Galaxy), and NGC613.

Due to increasing clouds, I ended observing Herschel 400 objects for this session. I have now observed 73 objects and imaged 68 objects in the Herschel 400 Catalog.

Viewed M42 (Orion Nebula) before the clouds reached Orion, 102X.

2009 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Thursday, 12 January 2023, 2023 MST
Temperature: 56°F
Session Length: 2h 09m
Conditions: Partly cloudy, windy

Arizona State Parks & Trails recently posted this short video about star parties, starring me!

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