2010 Observing Sessions

January   9 - 10
Time: 00:00 - 2:00 EST Telescope: 10-inch LX200 GPS
Location: My backyard Activity: Deep sky observing and imaging

First time observing in 2010. I opened the observatory during twilight. The roof was a bit frozen but it opened with a bit of force.  I left the roof open a little so the equipment would cool off and plugged in the CCD camera so it would acclimatize.  Very clear, low humidity, but cold at minus 10C.

In the evening I took dark frames with the CCD temp between minus 5 and minus 7.  Took 1 min, 2 min, 4 min, and 8 min darks. Five frames each. 

I went out observing around midnight. It was very cold at minus 14C. All the equipment worked well, but the keypad screen was quite sluggish and had to read at times.  The DSI Pro2 was mounted on the 80ED at prime focus, along with the newer Atik filter wheel.  The 10-inch LX200GPS was used for visual observing, but cannot reach focus with the F6.3 focal reducer is placed in front of the micro-focuser, so I had to switch things around: scope micro-focuser F6.3 reducer 2-inch diagonal eyepiece.  This is necessary with both 2-inch and 1.25-inch eyepieces.  

Although the sky was a deep blue during the day, it was not that "dark" probably due to light pollution reflecting off the snow and into the sky. My usual Sky Quality Meter reading is about 18.3 to 18.5, but tonight it was just 17.7. 

I had a good look at M42, M43, and the Eskimo with and without a narrow band filter (Orion Ultrablock). I then saw M78, but as expected the narrow band filter did not improve the view since M78 is a reflection nebula (rather than an emission nebula, which would improve thru a narrowband filter). Mars was tiny and unimpressive. Next I just barely saw a couple of fainter NGC galaxies (NGC 2683 and NGC 2903) and took 10-minute exposures of each thru the 80ED scope at prime focus with a DSI Pro2 (1 min sub-exposures). There is nothing special about these images, other than it was great seeing what
they actually look like on the computer screen, just minutes after visually observing them. An interesting point: a one second exposure with the CCD camera produced a better view than what I saw visually!! 

NGC 2683                                                        NGC 2903


1:00 am     NGC 2683       G         Lynx                 mag 9.8, surface brightness 12.9, size 9'x2.5'
        Barely visible at 115x, slight elongation

1:30 am     NGC 2903       G         Leo                  mag 9.0, surface brightness 13.6, size 12'x5.5'
        Barely visible at 115x, although averted vision helps considerably, appears round

By 2 am I could hardly feel my fingers. When I came into the house and my fingers started to warm up they hurt like heck.



Time:   Telescope:  
Location:   Activity:  


Time:   Telescope: 10-inch LX 200 GPS
Location: My backyard Activity:  

Time:   Telescope: 10-inch LX 200 GPS
Location: My backyard Activity:  






Year End Stats
No. of observing sessions  
Approx. telescope time  hours
No. of imaging sessions  
Approx. imaging time  hours
"New" deep sky objects found  
No. of comets seen  
No. of auroral displays seen  
Total deep sky objects observed  

Observing / Imaging Frequency
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Final Comments


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