Friday, October 25, 2019

#239 - Thursday, October 24, 2019 - Smoked Out

Fall in California means wildfire season.  And while none were particularly close to Berkeley, the smoke from the Kincaid fire, among others, was being blown all over the place.  People were preparing for another possible Smokepocalypse, buying masks and planning their transit routes.  The Astrospheric app I used showed some smoke forecasts, and it did not look good for astronomy!

Looking at the scale, purple is off-the-charts bad!

I decided to give it a shot and see how far along I could get before it got too bad.  I set up my DSLR to capture the sky in a timelapse, since it might be hard to see it well in the images.  

The weather was warm and breezy, and it was still nearly 80 degrees when I went out to set up my scope!  The cooler on my camera was running at 79% just to hit -15C.  I started the evening by re-aligning the mount after the clutch slip the previous night.

Things ran smoothly, and I checked my data in the morning. I had added Thor's Helmet to my list as the last target before sunrise, but the sequence didn't get that far for some reason.  The Rosette Nebula didn't run either.  M31, imaged near the meridian, were still having tracking issues, with several frames not having any tracking at all.  I'm still troubleshooting that.  M42 worked this time though!  However, they were out of focus, so I threw them out.

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