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Venus, Jupiter Moons, NGC157 Galaxy,
2013 Year End Report

Posted: 31 December 2013

Opened: Tuesday, 31 December 2013, 1807 MST
Temperature: 61°F
Session: 638
Conditions: Clear, calm

At 1812 MST, viewed Venus, 83X. Seeing was good so I immediately began setting up for iPhone 5s imaging. This image is a stack of 1112 frames using Keith's Image Stacker from a slo-mo (120 fps) video, afocal 444X + #21 orange filter + moon filter and desaturated and cropped:


I resumed observing Venus at 1828 MST, 222X + moon filter and 166X (no filter). The view was still pretty good although Venus was getting very low in the sky and into some trees. Switched to 83X at 1834 MST. Lots of atmospheric coloration (chromatic dispersion) now appeared.

Slewed to Jupiter at 1840 MST. It had just risen over the hill to the east and so was low in the sky. The four Galilean Moons were visible at 83X, but no cloud bands were visible. Took this iPhone 5s photo, afocal 83X, handheld at 1848 MST, showing the moons:


At 1854 MST, the Jovian equatorial belts were now visible using 83X.

At 1900 MST, the Zodiacal Light was very visible, extending all the way to the meridian.

Slewed to NGC157 (galaxy) at 1902 MST and viewed it at 83X. A very nice, small, faint galaxy. I decided to image it and began setting up for 8" LX200-ACF prime focus imaging using the D7000 DSLR with off-axis guider. Did a focus test using the Bahtinov Mask on the star Beta Cetus. Slewed back to NGC157 and located a good guide star. Did a 1 minute, ISO 6400, framing test exposure; it was OK. At 1919 MST, began a guided, 5 minute, ISO 6400. This is the result, cropped from the full-frame image:


Ended imaging at 1924 MST, and took a final look at Jupiter, 83X, at 1929 MST. Nice view to end 2013. Began closing up.

Closed: Tuesday, 31 December 2013, 1939 MST
Temperature: 51°F

2013 was a good year for imaging Earth man-made satellites and astrophotography of DSOs, some supernova in other galaxies, asteroids, and some comets from Cassiopeia Observatory. I spent 512 hours in the observatory during the 175 day and night sessions in 2013 and took 3472 photographs and videos (not all of which appeared on these reports). The number of sessions was a significant increase over that in each of the prior years:


This graph shows the length of each of the sessions since the observatory was opened in August 2009:


This montage shows some of the photos from the year:

Click or tap for a larger version (1.5 MB)

Thanks to everyone who joined me this year, both in person at the observatory and via these reports. A goal for 2014 is to improve planet photography, starting out the year with Mighty Jupiter.

Clear Skies to everyone in 2014!!!

Comments are welcome using Email. Thanks.

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