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Lunar Crater Cassini, Lunar X

Posted: 18 April 2013

As forecast, Monday 15 April 2013, was a windy day and night:


The observatory was not opened. However, there was one major accomplishment that day. In order to mitigate the Kissing Bug activity that typically begins in late May and early June, we have begun to capture pack rats that have built nests near the observatory. The first attempt was not entirely successful; the pack rat died, although the bait was not labeled as poison. We switched to peanut butter and on Monday two live pack rats were captured from two different nests. They were released into a wilderness area miles from the observatory. Hope they enjoy their new home. We will continue efforts to capture and relocate more pack rats. We will then remove the nests from near the observatory. As I have done the last three years, I will probably still spray the areas of the nests sometime in May. If you are not certain what a Kissing Bug looks like, click the link. Kissing Bugs are bloodsuckers like mosquitoes, except they are more like beetles and are about 1" long and 1/4" wide. I have seen upwards to ten of them at one time in the observatory. They inject a numbing agent at the site of the attack and then suck your blood for up to 15 minutes. Not very nice.

The wind continued on Tuesday, 16 April:


Wednesday, 17 April, dawned with unforecast cloudy skies and the wind continued:


After a brief period of rain (also, unforecast), the sky began clearing mid-morning, although the strong wind continued. Finally, as sunset approached, the wind decreased to a tolerable speed and the sky was clear. The observatory was opened at 1834 MST, 68°F. At 1850 MST, viewed the moon using the 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece (83X). The view was very good, with the crater Cassini looking impressive. Switched to the 2" 9mm 100° eyepiece (222X) and did a tour of the lunar terminator. There were many great sights.

At 1859 MST, took a quick look at Jupiter, 222X. The four Galilean Moons were visible. Then returned to the moon for some imaging using the D7000 DSLR.

This is the moon at prime focus of the 8" LX200-ACF using the Meade 2" star diagonal (with 1.25" adapter), 1/320sec, ISO 400:


I then switched to eyepiece projection using a 1.25" 9mm eyepiece (222X) and the Meade Basic Camera Adapter. (I have previously mostly used the OPT Camera Adapter.) This is crater Cassini, "Hat Trick", ISO 800, cropped from the full-frame image:


And the Lunar "X", "Hat Trick", ISO 800:


I resumed lunar observing at 1922 MST with the 2" 9mm 100° eyepiece (222X). I then did a tour of the moon using the 1.25" 5.5mm eyepiece (364X). Seeing was initially good, but by 1930 MST, had begun to deteriorate.

At 1933 MST, viewed Jupiter, 364X. The disk of the moon Ganymede was clearly visible. The disks of the other Galilean Moons were not as obvious (due to the worsening seeing).

Took a last look at the moon at 1937 MST with the 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece (83X).

The observatory was closed at 1947 MST, 52°F.

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

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