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Moon-Jupiter Conjunction, Crater Plato

Posted: 3 January 2012

I opened the observatory Monday, 2 January 2012, at 1806 MST, 64°F. The sky was clear, but after a day-long wind event, there was still a strong breeze blowing. At 1813 MST, view Jupiter at 77X and 206X. The four Galilean Moons were visible. Then slewed the 8" LX200-ACF to the moon. Seeing was very bad, but I tried to find a good high magnification imaging target using 206X. I decided on the Crater Plato, and the nearby Montes Alpes and Montes Teneriffe.

At 1831 MST, I took this photo of the Moon and Jupiter conjunction with the D7000 DSLR, f/16, 1/320sec, 230mm, ISO 500:


I then began setting up for prime focus imaging. Switched to a visual back and attached the D7000 on the 8" telescope. This is a 1/500sec, ISO 500, exposure:


I then did a short imaging delay in the hopes that seeing would improve. Based on a discussion on the LX200GPS Yahoo Group, I decided to check the free memory space on the AutoStar II. It was 370.9 KB. I will monitor this over future sessions to see how much the free space decreases over time.

I resumed imaging even though seeing had not improved. I captured this (cropped) eyepiece projection (222X) image, "Hat Trick" method, ISO 640, of the Crater Plato and the two mountain ranges:


Given the poor seeing, this was the best image and turned out surprisingly good.

At 1900 MST, I ended imaging and switched back to the diagonal. Resumed lunar observing, but seeing was still very bad. A strong breeze was still blowing. At 206X, it was almost impossible to get a good focus, even with the JMI MicroFocus. Switched to a 15mm (133X) eyepiece, which helped somewhat and provided a slightly better view of the moon. After a few minutes of observing the moon, I decided to close up for the night.

Closed the observatory at 1915 MST, 61°F, ending my first observing session of 2012.


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