Tuesday, July 28, 2015

#4 - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The moon was so bright that I barely needed my red headlamp.  It was blinding in the telescope without the neutral density filter, which we quickly put on.  I got some great pictures of the moon.  We also looked at:
  • M6, the Butterfly Cluster – very pretty group of stars, and color is easily visible in the 10-second exposure photos I took.  Finally figured out how to focus the telescope with my camera attached.
  • Altair and its nearby neighbors.  Altair is a pretty bright star that I’ve ended up using several times for alignment.
  • I think we looked at Neptune, but it was difficult to tell whether the bright dot I was looking at was actually Neptune or not.
I also took some 5-10 second exposures of the sky and trees with my camera on its tripod, and the moon was so bright that it looked like day but with stars.  The sky was blue and the trees green.  I even took a picture of my moonshadow.  I finally have a dew shield now for the telescope, and while there was still some dew on the corrector plate by the end of the night, it took much longer than usual.  We still had trouble with the telescope behaving erratically, though, so we didn’t get to look at much that we couldn’t find ourselves.

[I later learned that this seemingly erratic behavior - bad gotos, other issues - was because I was running the NexStar mount off of its internal AA batteries, which it runs down very quickly!]

Daytime with stars??
Nikon D3100, 18mm @ f/4.5, 20s, ISO-1600.

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