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Sunspot AR1944, Hello Daytime Venus, Sunset and Kitt Peak

Posted: 7 January 2014

Opened: Tuesday, 7 January 2014, 1126 MST
Temperature: 75°F
Session: 641
Conditions: Partly cloudy, calm

Although there were high thin clouds in the sky, I decided to view sunspot AR1944 with the 8" LX200-ACF. After opening the observatory, I viewed the sun with the naked eye through the Orion full aperature solar filter. The sunspot was easily visible without any magnification. I then mounted the filter on the 8" LX200-ACF telescope and viewed the sun at 1136 MST using 83X. AR1944 was very impressive even through the thin clouds. Next, I began preparing for D7000 DSLR prime focus imaging.

For orientation, I took a full disk solar image after closing the observatory using the D7000 DSLR with a solar filter attached to the telephoto lens. This photo was taken through thin clouds using f/11, 1/400sec, ISO 400, 300mm, and cropped from the full frame image:


This full frame photo was taken at prime focus of the 8" telescope, 1/320sec, ISO 800:


Due to the poor seeing from the thin clouds I didn't due any high magnification imaging of the sunspots, but this edited image was cropped from the above full frame image and shows some of the details that were visible in the large sunspot:


By 1213 MST, the cloud cover was increasing. I ended imaging of the sun, removed the solar filter from the 8" telescope, and slewed to Venus. Since Venus was very close to the sun, I positioned the dome to block the sun from reaching the telescope. At 83X, Venus showed a beautiful very thin crescent phase through thin clouds. This image, cropped from a full frame HD video, prime focus + 2X PowerMate, 1/1000sec, ISO 1250, shows Venus at 1225 MST:


Ended imaging of Venus at 1226 MST, and viewed it at 166X. Seeing was lousy but the crescent was nice to see.

Closed: Tuesday, 7 January 2014, 1245 MST
Temperature: 77°F

The clouds continued to get thicker and more extensive during the afternoon. By sunset, the sky was mostly overcast. The clouds did make for a pretty southern Arizona sunset, as seen in this iPhone 5s photograph (slightly cropped):


Just beyond my observatory, seen at the lower left, is Kitt Peak National Observatory, 65 miles away. This image is cropped from the above iPhone 5s photo:


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