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iPhone Imaging: Mercury, Saturn

Posted: 19 June 2012

Opened the observatory Monday, 18 June, at 1921 MST, 96°F. The sky was clear but very hazy. At 1928 MST, viewed Mercury, low in the west, 77X and 206X. Seeing was not very good. I set up for iPhone 4 video recording with the 8" LX200-ACF and MX-1 afocal adapter, 222X and 444X. I used the iPhone earbuds as a remote shutter release. Due to distortion from poor seeing, none of the videos were any good for stacking. However, I did find one frame that showed a fair representation of Mercury's phase. The image on the left is that frame (edited) and the image on the right is a computer generated image from US Naval Observatory web site.

photo photo

After I ended imaging, I did some viewing of Mercury; 133X provided the best view of it.

At 1946 MST, slewed to Spica and SYNCed on it. Then slewed to Saturn, 15 minutes after sunset (1933 MST) and began watching for moons to appear using 77X. Titan appeared at 1950 MST, Rhea at 1957 MST, Dione at 1958 MST, and Tethys at 1959 MST. At 2001 MST, I switched to 206X but seeing was not very good. I then did some 5 minute, afocal 444X, iPhone video recordings of Saturn. This is a stack of 7210 video frames using Keith's Image Stacker.


Unfortunately, the lousy seeing impacted the results. I obtained a better stacked iPhone image of Saturn on the previous session.

At 2039 MST, I did some more Saturn observing, 133X. I could intermittently see the moon Enceladus using averted vision.

At 2048 MST, I began doing some DSO observing. First was M57, the Ring Nebula, 77X and 133X. Then M27, the Dumbbell Nebula, 77X and 133X. Finally, M13, the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, 133X and 77X.

At 2130 MST, I decided that the hazy sky was impacting viewing too much. I could hardly see the Milky Way, which was unusual from my dark sky location. I began closing for the night.

Closed the observatory at 2146 MST, 79°F. One Kissing Bug was seen and terminated this night.

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

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