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ISS Imaging Attempt, Moon-Jupiter Conjunction

Posted: 2 November 2012

Opened the observatory Thursday, 1 November 2012, at 1808 MST, 76°F. I updated the ISS TLE for the night's ISS pass, then mounted the D7000 DSLR at prime focus of the 8" LX200-ACF. Did a focus test on the star Altair using the Bahtinov Mask. Locked the telescope focus and checked the finderscope alignment. All was ready for the upcoming ISS pass (I thought).

While the pass was not very high in the sky, tracking was good this night. The 6 minute, 45 second, HD video recording, 1/2000sec, ISO 2500, had the ISS well positioned on nearly all frames. However, the image was out-of-focus! Apparently the focus had shifted after I did my focus test image. When I removed the camera from the telescope, I had noticed that the eyepiece holder screw was slightly loose, which apparently allowed the camera to move slightly. Rats.

After the ISS pass was over, I removed the camera from the telescope and did some product testing for an upcoming review. I completed the testing at 1935 MST.

By now, the eastern sky was beginning to brighten from the rising waning gibbous moon. At 2012 MST, Jupiter appeared above the hill to the east. The moon would follow shortly. I took a quick look at the Pleiades in the 8" telescope, 77X. At 2014 MST, viewed Jupiter, very low in the sky, 77X. The four Galilean Moons were visible, but Jupiter was too low for good viewing. After the moon rose, I did some photography of the moon with Jupiter above it. This photo, f/5.6, 1/125sec, ISO 100, 300mm, shows Jupiter near the top of the photo:


I then did some wider field imaging of the moon, Jupiter, and the Hyades. This photo, f/4.5, 1/20sec, ISO 1600, 95mm, shows the moon (way overexposed) having just appeared above the hill (with some trees at the top), Jupiter and one of its moons, and the Hyades (at upper right):


At 2039 MST, I returned to the telescope and viewed Jupiter, 77X, then went to the moon. A nice terminator was visible on the moon at 77X. However, the moon was still too low for good high magnification observing. I had to end the session early due to planned activities the next day.

Closed the observatory at 2055 MST, 64°F.

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