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Mars, M104 Sombrero Galaxy, Centaurus A Galaxy,
Omega Centauri, Saturn

Posted: 21 April 2014

Opened: Sunday, 20 April 2014, 2113 MST
Temperature: 68°F
Session: 677
Conditions: Clear

2122 MST: viewed Jupiter, 83X. Four moons visible. At 222X, had a nice view of the planet but it was a little too low for imaging.

2126 MST: Mars, 222X. Really nice view. The North Polar Cap, some dark areas, and some clouds were visible. Began setting up for iPhone 5s afocal imaging. This is a stack of 1709 frames from a slo-mo video (120 fps), 666X + 1 Variable Polarizing Filter:


This image of Mars is a single photograph, 666X + 1 Variable Polarizing Filter, taken with the Camera app at full digital zoom and is a full-frame image:


After completing the iPhone imaging, did some more Mars observing at 666X, 222X, and 444X, all with one of the Variable Polarizing Filters. There were really good views at times.

2204 MST: slewed to M104 (Sombrero Galaxy) and viewed it at 83X. Set up for D7000 DSLR prime focus imaging. Added a focal reducer and mounted the camera at prime focus using the off-axis guider. After doing a focus test image on the star Spica using the Bahtinov Mask, slewed back to M104 and searched for guide star. Did not find one so did 15 1-minute, ISO 6400, unguided exposures. One of the images had a flaring satellite:


This is a stack of 12 images that did not have some star trailing for an effective exposure of 12 minutes:


Then slewed to Centaurus A (galaxy), but found no guide star. Did 15 unguided 1-minute, ISO 6400, exposures. This is a stack of the 15 images (15 minutes effective exposure):


Slewed to Omega Centauri (globular cluster) and did 10 unguided 30-second, ISO 3200, exposures. This is one of the exposures:


This is the 10 images stacked for an effective exposure of 5 minutes:


2317 MST: completed DSO imaging. Viewed Omega Centauri and Centauri A. The globular cluster was very nice at 83X.

2332 MST: saw a bright meteor in the southwest moving to the southwest. It was probably a Lyrid.

2340 MST: viewed Mars, 444X + filter. Seeing was not very good. Then viewed Saturn, 444X + filter. The view was fairly good. Cassini Division and 3 moons were visible. Removed the filter, which provided a better view at 444X. Four moons were visible: Titan, Tethys, Rhea, and Dione. Next, did some iPhone 5s afocal imaging. This is a single frame image taken with the Camera app with some digital zoom, afocal 666X + filter:


Also did some afocal slo-mo video imaging. At 666X, Saturn was too underexposed to be useful. However, using 444X the video was usable and this is a stack of 1724 frames:


0015 MST: ended Saturn imaging. Took a final look at Saturn, 83X, and then began closing up for the night.

Closed: Monday, 21 April 2014, 0030 MST
Temperature: 64°F

After closing the observatory, I did two sky quality measurements using the Dark Sky Meter iOS app using my iPhone 5s. Got consistent results of SQM 21.91 (Mag. +7.01). Not too bad!


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