Short Session: Critter, Mars, Setting Sun
Posted: 15 May 2014
On my way to the observatory saw this bunny:
Opened: Wednesday, 14 May 2014, 1826 MST
Conditions: Clouds, dust, or smoke in sky
When I prepared to go to the observatory, the sky had looked clear. But after opening the dome, with the sun lower in the sky and shining upward, I saw that much of the sky had thin clouds, dust (the day had been very windy), or perhaps even smoke (from the southern California fires). I decided to do some observing anyway.
1836 MST: Mercury, 83X and 222X. Half phase seen. No imaging though due to clouds/dust/smoke.
1839 MST: Jupiter, 222X, seen through thin clouds (or something).
1845 MST: Mars, 222X, which was in a clear portion of the sky. Mars looked very nice against the bright blue sky. The North Polar Cap, a sunset cloud near the equator, and possibly a sunrise cloud about latitude 60° N were visible. I decided to image Mars before the clouds (etc) arrived at Mars. Set up for iPhone 5s afocal, 666X, imaging. Added one of the Variable Polarizing Filters. By the time I was ready, the clouds (etc) had arrived at Mars, so the results were not very good. This is a stack of 5313 frames from a slo-mo video (120 fps) taken at 1858 MST:
After finishing with Mars, I took this iPhone photo showing a thicker portion of the clouds (dust, smoke) in the southern sky:
1907 MST: resumed Mars observing, 222X + filter. There was definitely a sunset cloud visible near the equator. A dark area was visible just south of the North Polar Cap. Sunrise cloud at 60° N was still visible.
As sunset approached (at Cassiopeia Observatory), more clouds (dust, smoke) became visible in my sky. Took this photo of the setting sun using the D7000 DSLR, f/5.6, 1/2500sec, ISO 400, 105mm:
1919 MST: sunset. Took a final look at Mars, 222X and 83X. Began closing up due to the clouds (etc).
Closed: Wednesday, 14 May 2014, 1930 MST
After closing the observatory, I took some nighttime photos of a couple of local businesses. The Oracle Dark Skies Committee hopes to convince the owners to improve their outdoor lighting to support the Oracle State Park "International Dark Sky Park" Nomination.
Comments are welcome using Email. If you are on Twitter you can use the button below to tweet this report to your followers. Thanks.
Cassiopeia Observatory Home Page