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iPhone: Epsilon Lyrae (the "Double-Double" Star)

Posted: 29 May 2013

Another pack rat near the observatory was captured and released on Tuesday, 28 May 2013. Count is now 16 live pack rats and 2 dead ones.

The observatory was opened at 1930 MST, 83°F. I had waited until after sunset before going to the observatory in the hopes that the wind would die down. It was still very breezy when I did go. I delayed opening the dome until 1953 MST. There was still a strong breeze blowing at that time. My main goal for the night was to do some sky photography to test the stacking software "StarStaX", if the breezes went away.

One nice thing I did notice is that the bright private streetlight on top of the hill to the east was off again this night (it had been off on the previous night too). Thanks neighbor! It really makes a difference.

I powered on the 8" LX200-ACF at 2000 MST and viewed Saturn, 83X. Four moons were visible: Titan, Rhea, Dione, and Tethys.

The breezes were still strong at 2022 MST. I slewed to Epsilon Lyrae, the "Double-Double" star. It was still low in the northeast, but all four stars were nicely visible at 206X (9.7mm eyepiece). I decided to try to image them. I attached the iPhone 4 to the telescope using the MX-1 afocal adapter and 9mm (222X) eyepiece. Using the Camera app, I did some still imaging and a video recording. This is the best frame (not cropped) from the video:


I also tried using the D7000 DSLR at prime focus and prime focus + 2X Barlow Lens to image Epsilon Lyrae, but never got a good image (the main stars were overexposed and hid the secondary stars).

I ended imaging at 2105 MST. Since it was still too breezy for sky imaging, I decided I would close up for the night. At 2110 MST, I took a final look at Saturn, 83X.

The observatory was closed at 2121 MST, 71°F.

As I left the observatory, I was blinded by the bright floodlights (unshielded and horizontally aimed) from the neighbor to the north. With the light on the hill off and astronomical twilight ended, the negative impact of these bright lights was very obvious. The entire hillside and surrounding landscape was illuminated. I'm not certain why the neighbor wants to illuminate the entire neighborhood. A few minutes later, the lights were turned off. has notified me of an ISS-Moon transit to occur Friday, 31 May 2013, at 0643 MST. Weather permitting, I plan to try to image it.

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

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