Elephant’s Trunk Nebula (IC1396) and Pleiades (M45)

My initial objective for this session was to collect more L subs on IC1396. I collected 45 minutes of L on it on Wednesday night, and I was hoping to add another 2 hours to that tonight and then add RGB on subsequent nights. I added two more targets and shot 1 hour of L and another hour of RGB.

The sky was milky white all day yesterday due to smoke in our area. The Astrospheric forecast is for 0% clouds and low humidity, but transparency is poor due to smoke. Seeing is forecast to be above average, so if not for the smoke, this would be one of those exceptional nights that you get just once or twice a year. My concern that smoke might affect color balance was confirmed as I noticed Jupiter was distinctly red as it crossed the meridian. Because of this, I am not sure how anything that I shot will turn out. At the very least, though, I got in some good practice with NINA.

Tonight was a very different start up. I still have not changed the camera rotation, or anything else on the scope since I calibrated on Tuesday night. I powered up, loaded up my software, connected to devices and I was ready to go. I did tweak my alignment for a couple of minutes with the PHD DA tool, and it seemed that the telescope had settled a lot.

After DA, I found that the table was dewy, so I made sure that the controller was on high and headed inside to monitor. The front glass stayed dry all night.

I loaded the IC1396 target sequence into NINA, and was able to execute it without adjustments. This sequence ran until about 2300 when IC1396 crossed the meridian. While this sequence was running I entered a follow on sequence for Andromeda, and then another one for Pleiades.

Guiding was pretty good during the night. Initial guiding total RMS was 0.69” with the error equally divided between RA and Dec. Later in the session I was seeing numbers like .59 and .78. I did notice that the guide star SNR was around 20 to 25 probably due to smoke. I usually see SNRs of 80 to 120.

I seem to have the wifi drops under control. On Wednesday I disabled the 5GHz channel, and there were no more drops for the rest of the day. I did find yesterday morning that the nano-router had jumped from the network that it hosts to the home network. Unlike before, I had no difficulty in re-establishing connection to the mini-computer, and it has remained stable all day. I have declared success before and was punished for it, so I’m going to monitor to see what happens.

Elephant Trunk Nebula (IC1396) - 2022-09-16 - Preliminary Image
Elephant’s Trunk Nebula
Pleiades (M45) - 2022-09-16 - Preliminary Image

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