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D7000 DSLR: Nearly Full Moon

Posted: 27 December 2012

The wind and clouds that hampered my imaging of the ISS-Moon transit on Thursday, 20 December 2012, continued through Wednesday afternoon, 27 December 2012. On 25 December, I received an alert from CalSky that the International Space Station would transit the sun on Monday, 31 December:


When I received the alert, the forecast for that day was for partly cloudy skies. By 26 December, possible rain was in the forecast. I did a "tree obstruction check" on 26 December to confirm that the sun would not be hidden by a tree at the time of the transit. The sun will be clear of the tree at the time of the transit, but just barely. I also wanted to do a transit "dry run" to test HD video recording exposure settings, but clouds prevented that. (I still hope to do that prior to the actual ISS-Sun transit.)

Late afternoon on Wednesday, 26 December 2012, the clouds went mostly away. The observatory was opened at 1815 MST, 50°F. There were frequent strong breezes blowing. I first viewed Jupiter with the 8" LX200-ACF at 77X. The four Galilean Moons were visible, as was the Great Red Spot (actually, more like a Small Pale Spot). Switched to the 2" 9mm 100° eyepiece (222X); seeing was not very good but each of the four moons showed a distinct disk. I then viewed the nearly full moon, 222X.

At 1833 MST, clouds were making their way overhead. I began setting up for prime focus lunar imaging with the D7000 DSLR. Switched to the visual back and mounted the camera. Oops, needed to use the focal reducer to capture the entire lunar disk in the camera field-of-view. Removed the camera and visual back, added the focal reducer, and re-attached the camera and visual back. Captured this cropped, highly saturated (to bring out the colors), sharpened, 1/320sec, ISO 100, image:


I finished imaging at 1902 MST and viewed Jupiter at 77X. Seeing still had not improved. Due to the clouds, strong breezes, bright moon, and poor seeing, I decided to end the session.

The observatory was closed at 1910 MST, 44°F.

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