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D7000 DSLR Photo: Jupiter, Galilean Moons, Venus Conjunction

Posted: 14 March 2012

The observatory was opened Tuesday, 13 March 2012, at 1809 MST, 80°F. The sky was mostly clear but there were some clouds low in the southwest. At 1814 MST, viewed Venus, then Jupiter, at 77X. By 1848 MST, the clouds that had been low in the southwest had now reached the zenith; fortunately, they were scattered. At 1852 MST, saw Mercury in the 8x50 finderscope on the 8" LX200-ACF. Viewed Mercury at 77X and 206X; a nice crescent phase was visible. Viewed Jupiter, 206X, at 1902 MST. The four Galilean Moons and the Great Red Spot were visible.

I then did sky photography of the Jupiter-Venus conjunction using the D7000 DSLR and the 70-300mm lens set to a focal length of 300mm. This is an f/8, 1/10sec, ISO 500, exposure. It shows Jupiter on the left and Venus on the right. Also, as seen in the magnified insert, the Galilean Moons were captured in the photograph. From top to bottom: Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, and Io.


As I finished the conjunction photography and started to remove the camera from the tripod that was set up on the observatory patio, I saw a tarantula. But before I could get a photo of it, it went under a POD bay. The little guy was about 2" in diameter, including the legs.

By 1930 MST, the clouds were covering the eastern half of the sky. I checked the latest IR satellite image using my iPhone 4; there were more clouds to the southwest. The current cloud cover seemed to have stopped moving eastward. At 1940 MST, I decided to give up for the night and began closing up. The forecast for the Wednesday night is clear.

The observatory was closed at 1950 MST, 61°F.


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