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Sunrise at Crater Plato and Mons Pico

Posted: 13 October 2013

Cassiopeia Observatory was opened Saturday, 12 October 2013, at 1807 MST, 79°F. The sky was clear. First viewed Mercury, Saturn, and Venus, 83X. Then went to the moon and using 206X began looking for a good crater along the terminator to do a sunrise sequence of images. I finally decided on the crater Plato and the nearby Mons Pico (mountain peak).

Beginning at 1830 MST, and every 30 minutes for the next four hours, I did a 30 second HD video recording with the D7000 DSLR at the 8" LX200-ACF prime focus + 3X TeleXtender, 1/125sec, ISO 3200. Seeing was not very good at times. Midway through the sequence I bumped the camera and changed its orientation. During post-processing I removed some of the image rotation that resulted from the bump. When not imaging, I used the 2X nightscope for some terrestrial and sky viewing. Saw a small rabbit a couple of times. I also monitored the lunar shadows in the D7000 viewfinder.

At 1902 MST, I used the iPhone 5s to photograph the magnified D7000 Liveview screen showing Mons Pico (top) and Plato (bottom), as reversed by the star diagonal:


This is an unmagnified view of what the D7000 was seeing at 1931 MST:


At 2103 MST, I took this iPhone 5s photo showing the telescope, camera, and moon in the sky:


This image (at proper orientation, with north at the top) is a frame from the HD video captured at 2030 MST:


Click on the image (or tap on it if using a touchscreen) to see a video (3.5 MB) of sunrise at crater Plato and Mons Pico over a 4 hour period.

I took a last look at the moon, 83X, at 2233 MST, and then began closing up the observatory.

The new neighbor to the south had his house exterior lights off this night. Thanks neighbor!

The observatory was closed at 2243 MST, 61°F.

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

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