Moon instead of MonsoonLast updated: 14 July 2011
Wednesday, 13 July, the skies were mostly clear as our weather pattern took a break from the monsoon storms. Opened the observatory at 1815 MST, 98°F. At 1833 MST, slewed to Spica, SYNCed, and focused. Then viewed Mercury at 77X, 133X, 206X, and 354X. Seeing was not great but a slightly less than "half-moon" phase was visible. At 1918 MST, saw two coyotes walking along the road about 100' from the observatory. At 1920 MST, viewed Saturn at 77X, 133X, and 206X. Nice views of the ringed planet.
At 1933 MST, the nearly full moon began rising over the hill to the southeast. And some clouds were now coming up from the south. Here's a photo of the rising moon, taken with the D7000 DSLR, 1/200sec, ISO 500, f/5.6, 300mm:
By 1944 MST, more high thin clouds were becoming evident over much of the sky. At 1946 MST, Titan became visible at 77X. I then slewed to our moon, which was still in the tree from the telescope's position. But it quickly got out of the tree and I took some images at prime focus of the 8" LX200-ACF using the D7000. The moon's image was larger than the camera FOV but I decided to not use the focal reducer to capture the moon's entire disk. Instead of took photos of each side of the moon's disk. During post-processing I would stitch two images into a single image.
I then did some brief lunar terminator viewing at 206X. Seeing was not good due to the low altitude and high clouds, but there were occasionally some nice views along the lunar limb where the terminator was located. Due to the clouds and bright moonlight, I decided to close up the observatory. Although this was a short evening, it was good to be back in the observatory after almost two weeks of monsoon clouds and storms.
Just as I parked and powered off the telescope, a "Proc Trap 2" error appeared on the AutoStar II display. I hadn't seen that error code in about a decade, the last time being on an early ETX Autostar #497. I figured I had better check it, so powered the LX200-ACF back on and let it go through its normal startups. Then did a GOTO Mercury. All worked fine. I PARKed the telescope again and powered off. No error this time.
Closed the observatory at 2020 MST, 79°F.
During image post-processing, the lunar images were good for stitching together to make the single lunar image. I used DoubleTake to do the imaging stitching. Here's the result with two, prime focus, 1/400sec, ISO 500, images:
Click the image to see a larger version.
On other matters, I have added a "search" capability on the Welcome page. It is currently located on the left side of the page, below the Reports listing. It searches all of weasner.com, so if you are looking for something specific you may see some results from my ETX Site as well. But that is actually a good thing. It may take a few days before Google indexes all the newly relocated Cassiopeia Observatory web pages.
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