NOVACian Bob T.'s quest to photograph Pluto

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However, this Friday (7/8 Jun)/Saturday (8/9 Jun) at Savage, I accomplished something I have been attempting for about three years, photographing Pluto. Starry Nite charts showed me its relative position within Oph, and a narrower chart gave up a couple of field stars relative to the mag 13.8 planet. Now, I'm not the most experienced star hopper in the club, and it took me far too long to find it, but I finally convinced myself I was "on target." After 5, 10, and 20 minute prime focus pictures with Fuji 800 Superia, I felt I had my first shot. Now on to Saturday.

I set up at Crockett since it has better SE skys than Savage, and it's closer to home. I didn't have all nite to wait for that area of the sky to rotate to the south. Again, I had difficulty finding the pattern of background stars. Only after I broke out Uranometria did I realize that there was an "extra" star on my narrow FOV Starry Nite chart! (flyspeck?) I could blame faulty charts for how long it took to find the pattern, but let's just call it part of the learning curve. Finally, I felt confident I was on target. Another series of 5, 10 and 20 minute pictures later, I was packing up for home.

After processing at Penn Camera, a comparison of two pictures revealed that one "star" that had changed position from one nite to the next. Checking the charts confirmed that the moving object was where Pluto was spoze to be! I had finally captured the little bugger! I have digitized pics, but no place to post them. If you're interested, email me and I'll be happy to send them along. BTW, the 20 minute exposures worked best.

Sorry to take so long to describe this "campaign" but for me its a three year a personal goal achieved. Now I have "seen" ALL the planets. And, yes Ed, I am obsessed. Hopefully, I can now begin to let it go...

Thanks for letting me share,
Bob T.
Hey, anyone know where I can find a good Trans Neptunian Object?