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Crater Aristarchus and Vallis Schröter

Posted: 6 January 2012

I opened the observatory Thursday, 5 January 2012, at 1804 MST, 63°F. The sky was mostly clear but there were some clouds around. I watched a nice ISS pass just after opening the dome. Due to its timing, I was unable to get set up in time to image it. At 1812 MST, I viewed Jupiter at 77X. Only two moons were visible this night. I then went to the moon and using 77X and 206X, I selected a target for imaging: the crater Aristarchus and Vallis Schröter. Seeing was just slightly better this night than on the past few nights, but still not ideal for high magnification imaging. I switched to the visual back and mounted the D7000 DSLR at prime focus of the 8" LX200-ACF. I then discovered that a focal reducer was needed to capture the entire illuminated disk of the moon due to its closeness to the Earth and its gibbous phase. I removed the camera and visual back, attached the Antares f/6.3 focal reducer, and reattached the visual back and camera.

This is a 1/1000sec, ISO 320, slightly cropped, exposure:


This is a cropped, "Hat Trick", ISO 400, exposure, showing the crater Aristarchus and Vallis Schröter:


At 1848 MST, I removed the camera, visual back, and focal reducer, and switched to the diagonal for some lunar viewing at 206X. There were some nice views at times when the seeing cooperated. The sky was getting more clouds by this time and after observing the moon, I decided to close up after a one hour session.

Closed the observatory at 1904 MST, 57°F.


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