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D7000 DSLR and 8" LX200-ACF: Venus, Moon

Posted: 3 May 2012

Prior to opening the observatory before sunset on Wednesday, 2 May, I took a little walkabout near the observatory. Took these cactus flower photos:




The observatory was opened at 1817 MST, 88°F, to mostly clear skies. The cloud band I mentioned on the previous report was still in place today. Talk about a "stationary front"! At 1828 MST, viewed Venus at 77X and 206X. I then photographed Venus at prime focus using the D7000 DSLR, 1/1600sec, ISO 1600, for this cropped image:


(The sky was darkened during image processing to better show the planet.)

I added the focal reducer and switched to a visual back on the 8" LX200-ACF. While waiting for the sun to set, I used 7x50 binoculars to view Venus. The crescent phase was just detectable. The moon was lovely in the binoculars. Since the sky was still bright, the moon itself was not blindingly bright in the binoculars.

Two minutes after sunset I took this prime focus + focal reducer, 1/250sec, ISO 100, image:


I removed the focal reducer and visual back, switched to the star diagonal, and did some lunar touring at 206X. Seeing was not good but there were still some nice sights. Then viewed the moon at 133X and 77X.

Closed the observatory at 1940 MST, 73°F. A short session, but it is always good to be in the observatory.

My attempts at imaging the ISS in the 8" telescope do not come close to what Thierry Legault has done. See this Scientific American article for an interesting perspective: "Spy-High: Amateur Astronomers Scour the Sky for Government Secrets".

Comments are welcome; use the Comments section below, or you can Email Me. Thanks.

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