Saturday, August 19, 2017

shot Milky Way core (Merritt Reservoir)

I wanted to do some tracked photography. My camera gear was ready with charged batteries.

7:24 PM MDT, Friday 18 August 2017. We went to the Snake River site.

7:44 PM. Humidity was 20%. Low. The temperature was 27.4°C. For now. The Sun was soft, coloured, presumably from particulate.

Tony had his Star Adventurer and Canon DSLR. I borrowed Ian's Star Adventurer and tripod for my Canon and grip and Rokinon fisheye.

Tony asked me where the Milky Way would be. I estimated the cardinal points. I wondered if once dark it would be over the road.

I asked Tony if he had the exact latitude handy. Chris said it was 42' 35".

Many vehicles travelled along the park road.

I asked Tony if he had the SA polar finder app. Checked the display and roughly aligned Ian's mount to Polaris.

Milky Way from Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area

Canon 40D, Rokinon, manually focused, f/5.6, 181 seconds, ISO 1000, daylight white balance, intervalometer, Star Adventurer, SLIK tripod, DPP.

8:41. I did some test shots with my camera.

Astronomical twilight was to end between 10:00 and 10:30.

9:14. I started my imaging run taking 2½ minute subs.

When Ed asked about tracking mounts, I showed him the Star Adventurer. He was very interested. Phil did not recommend the iOptron. I shared that the new versions allowed for firmware updates with additional controls. In fact, Tony was exploiting one of the enhanced features.

Before 10:27. Someone was using a GLP.

10:43. It was chilly and a bit damp.

Tony checked the conditions on my little weather device. 17°, 58%. Phil said it felt cooler.

Phil asked if we were losing the sky. We knew not the best this location could offer.

11:20. People were getting chilled. The wind had picked up.

The skies were getting worse.

Asked Tony if he shot his dark frames. He said he didn't need them. OK.

The sky to the north-east looked better, Ian thought. The Milky Way went almost to the horizon. Coming and going.

12:00 AM MDT, Saturday 19 August 2017. Tony noted the time.

As people packed up the big 'scopes, Tony wanted to leave his camera running. Me too. I intended to collect data to the last possible moment.

12:08 AM MDT. I checked the conditions. 16.2° and 74%. We continued to pack. Tony took his camera down.

12:20 AM. I completed my last shot of Milky Way. I had gathered 72 frames at 155 seconds each, ISO 1000. I started my darks run, turned off the SA, removed one battery, and collapsed the tripod.

12:27. Ian fired up the rig.

On the way back to camp, I shot darks. Until the camera battery died.

We returned around 12:30.

1:29. I warmed up in my tent.

I continued to shoot darks. But the battery died again quickly.

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