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iPhone 5s: Jupiter, Lunar Montes Apenninus, Mars

Posted: 8 April 2014

Opened: Monday, 7 April 2014, 1819 MST
Temperature: 85°F
Session: 670
Conditions: Clear

1825 MST: viewed the near first quarter moon, 83X. I then began preparing for an upcoming International Space Station (ISS) pass. Updated the ISS TLE in the telescope. Switched to prime focus + 2X PowerMate and mounted the D7000 DSLR on the 8" LX200-ACF. Checked the finderscope alignment and telescope focus using the moon. Locked the telescope mirror. 1840 MST: ready to image ISS. 1851 MST: sunset. Synced the observatory clock to WWV (5 MHz). The pass would begin with the ISS in a tree and against a still bright sky. However, shortly after the pass began I picked up the Station in the finderscope and centered it. Tracking during the long pass was generally pretty good, even near the zenith. I did an HD video recording, 8m03s, 1/2000sec, ISO 5000. Unfortunately, the camera slipped just prior to the start of the pass and the image was out-of-focus.

1923 MST: after the ISS pass was over, I removed the camera from the telescope and viewed Jupiter, 222X. Two moons were visible in the eyepiece field-of-view. The Great Red Spot was just coming into view. Seeing was pretty good to start the night's observing. I began preparing for iPhone 5s imaging of Jupiter. Switched from the 2" eyepiece to a 1.25" 9mm eyepiece + 2X Barlow Lens (444X). The view to the eye was good. I did both 444X and 666X (using the 9mm eyepiece + 3X TeleXtender) slo-mo (120 fps) video recordings. No filter was used for Jupiter. This is a stack of 1132 frames, 666X:


After completing the iPhone imaging, viewed Jupiter, 444X (using the 2" 9mm eyepiece + 2" 2X PowerMate). I then switched to 83X (2" 24mm UWA) and noticed a third moon further out from the planet.

1954 MST: began lunar observing, 222X. There were some wonderful views. Mare Imbrium, partially illuminated by the sun, was fascinating. Montes Apenninus was super. I then set up for D7000 DSLR prime focus imaging. This image was taken at 1/320sec, ISO 400:


Added the 2X PowerMate and captured this image of Mare Imbrium, 1/320sec, ISO 2000:


2013 MST: ended lunar imaging. Did more lunar observing, 444X. The views were awesome at 444X. Seeing was very good. This handheld iPhone 5s afocal 444X photograph (slightly cropped) shows Montes Apenninus:


2048 MST: seeing was beginning to deteriorate. Ended lunar observing. Slewed to Mars, low in the southeast. It was too low for good viewing but the North Polar Cap was visible using 222X. While waiting for Mars to rise higher, I took a short break from 2117 MST to 2133 MST. 2138 MST: added one filter from the 2" Variable Polarizing Filter (VPF) set to reduce glare from bright Mars (one day prior to opposition). That slightly improved the view of the planet. I likely viewed some clouds at sunrise and sunset near the Martian equator. 2157 MST: tried viewing Mars with 444X but seeing was not good enough. Resumed using 222X + filter. Seeing would improve and then worsen as Mars rose higher in the sky.

At 2230 MST, I began preparing for iPhone 5s imaging of Mars even though seeing was not very good. Added one of the 2" VPF filters to a 1.25" adapter and then used 666X and 444X to image Mars beginning at 2242 MST. This is a stack of 1128 frames, 666X:

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2255 MST: resumed observing Mars, 222X + filter. Seeing was not good but the sunrise and sunset clouds were still visible, as was the North Polar Cap.

2300 MST: took a quick look at Saturn, low and through tree branches, 222X. Then took a last look at the moon, 222X and 83X.

Closed: Monday, 7 April 2014, 2315 MST
Temperature: 60°F

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