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Venus, Crescent Moon, DSO viewing,
M13 and M92 Globular Clusters

Posted: 9 August 2013

The observatory was opened on Thursday, 8 August 2013, at 1816 MST, 102°F. The sky was mostly clear with some clouds. Satellite images showed that the clouds would be moving off to the east as the evening progressed. At 1825 MST, viewed Venus, 83X. Gibbous phase clearly visible. I then tried to view the thin crescent moon but no luck. The sky was still too bright. Returned to Venus and did an afocal video recording using the iPhone 4 at 231X using the MX-1 Afocal Adapter. This is a cropped frame from a video:


Went back to the moon at 1843 MST, and at 1852 MST, picked up the moon in the finderscope. At 1853 MST, viewed the moon at 83X in the 8" LX200-ACF. It was very low contrast against the still bright sky. Took this afocal image with the iPhone, 77X, at 1856 MST:


The image above closely matched the view as seen by the eye at that time.

At 1911 MST, the moon became faintly visible to the unaided eye, if you knew where to look. Sunset occurred at 1920 MST. Took this iPhone afocal image at 1927 MST, showing some details on the lunar surface:


I resumed lunar observing at 1930 MST, 83X. As seen in the photo above, lots of details were visible. Took my last look at the moon through the telescope at 1941 MST, as it was now into the tree limbs west of the observatory.

Took this photo of the setting crescent moon (bottom) and Venus (top) using the D7000 DSLR, f/8, 1/60sec, ISO 1600, 70mm focal length:


At 2009 MST, with the sky clear of clouds now, I began some deep sky viewing at 83X, even though astronomical twilight had not ended yet. First was the nice double star Albireo. Then M57 (Ring Nebula) and M56 (globular cluster). Next was Epsilon Lyrae (Double-Double Star). At 2024 MST, a few clouds began appearing the southwest. At 2030 MST, I began the AutoStar "Tonight's Best" Guided Tour, selecting many of its offered DSOs for viewing: M7 (open cluster), M22 (globular cluster), M4 (globular cluster), M6 (Butterfly Cluster, open cluster), M8 (Lagoon Nebula), M15 (globular cluster), M27 (Dumbbell Nebula), M2 (globular cluster), M20 (Trifid Nebula), M17 (Swan Nebula), M82 (galaxy), M81 (galaxy), M11 (Wild Duck Cluster, open cluster), M5 (globular cluster), M52 (open cluster), M16 (Eagle Nebula), and M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy). Ended the tour at 2101 MST.

At 2108 MST, viewed M13 and M92 globular clusters in Hercules. At 2130 MST, although I was beginning to feel the affects of not enough sleep after the 7 hour previous session in the observatory, I began setting up for piggyback photography of M13 and M92. To avoid the optical alignment problem I had on the previous session, I centered the star Arcturus in the D7000 DSLR camera viewfinder and SYNCed the AutoStar on its location. That ensured that a GOTO M13 would be accurate for the camera's pointing. After a framing test exposure, I took this 5 minute, guided, f/8, ISO 1600, 52mm, exposure:


Can you see M13 and M92? If not, rollover (or tap) on the image to view labels.

I completed imaging at 2207 MST. Viewed Neptune, 83X, at 2218 MST, and then began closing up for the night.

The observatory was closed at 2229 MST, 76°F. Monsoon weather permitting, I plan a longer session in the observatory on Friday night.

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

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