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Crescent Moon

Posted: 13 February 2013

Monday, 11 February 2013, dawned with cloudy skies. Snow started falling about noon. By sunset, about an inch had accumulated. I posted a 39 second time-lapse video from my live webcam. Tuesday, 12 February, dawned with mostly clear skies. Although most of the snow had melted by mid-day, I went to the observatory to clean remaining snow and ice from the dome:


The observatory was opened for a planned short session at 1807 MST, 55°F, to mostly clear skies. At 1810 MST, viewed Mercury, 77X and 364X. Its slightly more than half-illuminated disk was clearly visible, but seeing was not very good. I then slewed the 8" LX200-ACF to the crescent moon and viewed it at 77X and 364X.

I switched to the visual back and mounted the D7000 DSLR at prime focus. Took this photo of the crescent moon, 1/250sec, ISO 640:


I then began photographing the moon using the "Hat Trick" Method, ISO 500, in order to capture the Earthshine. This image was taken at 1840 MST, with the sky still bright (and a star in the lower righthand corner):


At 1851 MST, just before closing the observatory, took this photo of the moon (top) and Mercury (bottom), f/4.8, 1/10sec, ISO 400, 48mm:


The observatory was closed at 1855 MST, 42°F.

In these reports, I occasionally mention doing time-lapse videos from my live webcam. If you like time-lapse videos of weather, check out Mike Olbinski's "The 2012 Arizona Monsoon in Timelapse". It runs about 19 minutes of HD video and is definitely worth the wait to download it and watch it.

And some breaking news:
If you have an iOS or Android device or a Mac with SkySafari and a Wi-Fi or serial connection to your telescope, and want to track Friday's close approach of Asteroid 2012DA14 see below:

It's official - SkySafari Pro is now the only mobile app (and may also be the only desktop app!) which can find asteroid 2012DA14 correctly. Apple approved our latest updates this morning. Here are the details:

There's an associated 6-minute YouTube video here:

If you want the inside story about how and why this came to be, here's a blog post on our Yahoo! forum:

Southern Stars / SkyCube /

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

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