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Moon Craters Aristoteles & Maurolycus, 2011 Year End Report

Posted: 31 December 2011

I opened the observatory Saturday, 31 December, at 1716 MST, 75°F. There were some clouds in the western and northern skies, along with thin clouds in much of the sky. But I opened up the observatory anyway to do some lunar crater imaging. As the sun set at 1726 MST, I took a quick look at Venus, 77X. I then stepped out of the observatory and took this photo of the western sky and the SkyShed POD:


I returned to the observatory and began doing some lunar observing at 1740 MST at 77X, 133X, and 206X. Seeing was not very good due to the thin clouds. I picked out two craters for imaging: Aristoteles and Maurolycus. Switched to the visual back and did some D7000 DSLR prime focus lunar imaging. This is a 1/320, ISO 800, exposure:


I then did some eyepiece projection (222X) imaging. This is the Crater Aristoteles, "hat trick", ISO 1000, cropped from the full-frame image:


Due to the poor seeing, the image is not very good, but the debris field and some other details are visible.

I got a little luckier with the Crater Maurolycus. This image is a cropped to the same scale, "hat trick", ISO 1000:


I tried some HD video recording of Maurolycus for stacking individual frames, but the poor seeing resulted in a stacked image that was worse than the single frame image above. Oh well. I will try again on a future session.

At 1814 MST, I ended imaging. I viewed Jupiter at 77X. The four Galilean Moons were visible. Tried viewing at 206X, but seeing was not good enough. Went back to the moon for a final look in 2011.

Closed the observatory at 1840 MST, 58°F. This was another short session, but it capped off a nice year of observing and imaging at Cassiopeia Observatory.

As a 2011 Year End Report, I thought I would provide some statistics. Since "First Light" at Cassiopeia Observatory on 18 August 2009, and through 31 December 2011, I have a spent a total of 1076 hours 22 minutes in the observatory over 321 sessions, for an average of 38% of the nights. Here is the annual breakdown:

  2009 - 133h 23m -  54 sessions - 40%
2010 - 453h 53m - 136 sessions - 37%
2011 - 489h 06m - 131 sessions - 36%

This is a chart showing the length of the sessions for each night:


Gaps are due to weather, vacations, other schedule conflicts, health (colds, Swine Flu once), and other reasons (usually NFL games). Overall, I am still thrilled to have my own observatory (thanks to the CFO, also known as "the wife"). I am looking forward to an exciting 2012, with lots of astronomical events throughout the year.


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Copyright ©2011 Michael L. Weasner /