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Critter, Local Telescope Help,
iPhone imaging: Crater Pythagoras, Saturn

Posted: 23 May 2013

Clouds prevented any observing on Tuesday, 21 May:


Two more live pack rats were captured and released on Wednesday. This is a frame from an iPhone video showing one of them being released:


Count is now 13 live pack rats and 2 dead ones.

Wednesday afternoon I received a call from an Oracle resident who had purchased a telescope from Costco at Christmas 2012, but had never really used it. She wanted some help setting it up. She recalled my local newspaper interview from earlier this year and was able to track me down. I am always glad to help out and I drove to her house about sunset. Unfortunately, the Celestron NexStar handcontroller came up in Russian. We spent a lot of time trying to step through the menu tree to find a language restore, but we were not able to get it set to English. We finally gave up and I pointed the telescope at an object, giving her and her husband their first look at Saturn through a telescope. That is always a thrill. They also got to look at the moon. I showed them how to photograph the moon through a telescope using a smartphone camera. We will continue to try to resolve the language setting issue.

After I returned home from helping with the telescope, I opened the observatory Wednesday, 22 May 2013, at 2103 MST, 78°F. The sky was mostly clear, but there were a few clouds in the sky.

At 2110 MST, viewed the moon, 83X and 222X. Crater Pythagoras on the terminator was really nice. The central peak was illuminated and casting a sharp shadow on the crater wall. I then viewed Saturn, 222X. Four moons were visible. Seeing was better this night.

Returned to the moon and mounted the iPhone 4 on the 8" LX200-ACF using the MX-1 afocal adapter. I did still images using the iOS Camera app and videos using FiLMic Pro, afocal 222X and 444X. This is the best frame (slightly cropped) from a video, 444X, showing crater Pythagoras:


Details captured are pretty amazing for a smartphone.

I also imaged Saturn using the iPhone 4. This is a stack of 1160 frames from a FiLMiC Pro video, 444X, using Keith's Image Stacker:


I resumed observing Saturn and the moon, 222X, at 2144 MST. Clouds were more extensive now and I began closing up.

The observatory was closed at 2157 MST, 73°F.

Photos of our recent trip to the US Pacific Northwest are now online. Mostly botanical gardens and some beach scenes, but also visited an aviation and space museum. Even saw an A-7D from Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, SC, where I was stationed in the mid-1970s as an USAF A-7D pilot. Check out the photos if interested.

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

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