We had four relatively clear nights in a row. Some didn’t start great but all four produced usable imaging time even if the nights aren’t much more than 4 hours of astronomical darkness this time of year.
A couple shots with the Canon 6D DSLR and a Rokinon 135mm wide open at f/2.
vdB 123 – Taken with FSQ-106ED and QHY268C OSC CMOS Camera on an AP900GTO Mount, 58 x 5min exposures totaling 4.8 Hours Exposure across two nights.
Sh2-136 Taken with FSQ-106ED and QHY268C OSC CMOS Camera on AP900GTO Mount, 79 x 5 minute exposures totaling ~6.6 Hours Exposure time across two nights.
M20 – The Trifid Nebula: ZWO 533C OSC CMOS Camera with AP92 Refractor on Atlas EQ-G Mount. 57 x 5min exposures for a total of 4.75 hours captured across two nights.
First light test of the QHY268C CMOS camera on the Tak FSQ-106ED. For a very short total exposure time and a low southern target results were better than expected.
This trip to Cherry Springs State Park promised an amazing clear stretch but was marred by dense smoke obscuring much of the sky from the wildfires raging in CA and other parts of the US.
We had some great weather for the annual star party at Pickett State Park, TN last new moon. This star party is still young and looking to grow. The park rangers are doing a great job, it’s a great venue for presentations and a great field for observing / photography. I’m not sure why it still remains a hidden gem of sorts.
Overall sky quality, other than some early clouds, was excellent. With SQM measurements around 21.77 mag/arcsec^2 this was the darkest I’ve seen Pickett. I would note too that of the other dark sky sites I routinely visit, this quality of night is nothing to complain about.
With weather looking wet and wild for the 2019 Cherry Springs Star Party and things looking slightly less soggy at Calhoun we decided to cancel on Cherry Springs and gamble on Calhoun. Good thing we were setup on the top of a ridge so we never had to deal with muddy conditions considering all the rain we didn’t know was coming.