Eclipse night DSO imaging

After letting two clear, dark sky nights pass me by, I WAS going to image during our last night in Los Alamos for the annular solar eclipse. I imaged two targets, but the data from the second (NGC1909 Witch Head Nebula) wasn’t enough to stand on its own. But not to fret…you’ll be seeing it soon!)

SH2-119 Clamshell Nebula; captured from Urban Park, Los Alamos, New Mexico with the Southern Cross on 14 October 2023

SH2-119 Clamshell Nebula

Our “dark skies” trip for October was in conjunction with the trip for the annular solar eclipse.  We originally planned to get a campsite at Chaco Canyon to watch the eclipse from there, but were defeated by the NPS campsite reservation system (multiple days in a row!).  So, we settled on Los Alamos as a spot within the path of maximum eclipse (knowing that trying to get a hotel room in Albuquerque during the second weekend of Balloon Fiesta would be as fruitless as our attempts at a Chaco Canyon campsite).  The North Road Inn provided the perfect venue for our weekend in Los Alamos, especially because of its proximity to Urban Park (caddy corner from the inn). We watched the eclipse from there, making several new friends in the process. The “local” we met, a French scientist working at Los Alamos, confirmed that my imaging equipment would be safe (expect perhaps from the wandering bears) to leave unattended in the park while I napped in-between the times it needed attention. So, that’s what I did…imaging SH2-119 Clamshell Nebula from dark until 0100MDT, then switching to NGC1909 Witch Head Nebula for the “rest” of the night.

See the gallery entry for the fun facts, equipment and other capture stories and details: