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Short Session: Visitor, iPhone 5s Saturn

Posted: 20 June 2014

After my last session in the observatory, clouds and winds returned to Oracle. And then I was very busy with Oracle Dark Skies Committee work. No observing. But on Thursday, 19 June, the sky cleared and the wind calmed down. After I returned home from an Oracle Dark Skies Committee meeting, I opened the observatory for a short session.

Opened: Thursday, 19 June 2014, 2035 MST
Temperature: 84°F
Session: 696
Conditions: Clear, calm

When I entered the observatory and turned on the inside red lighting, I noticed something odd on one wall of the POD. Got my flashlight and discovered this visitor:


After terminating the scorpion I continued getting the observatory ready for observing.

2049 MST: viewed Mars, 83X and 222X. Seeing was not good but was able to observe a small sunset cloud near the North Polar Cap. The planet's phase was very gibbous.

Then viewed Saturn, 222X. Four moons were visible. Seeing was a little better at Saturn, so I decided to do some iPhone 5s imaging (slo-mo video recording, 120 fps).

I stacked two videos of 301 frames and 290 frames using Keith's Image Stacker. I then stacked the two resulting images using Lynkeos. Finally, the image was edited (levels, saturation, sharpening) in GraphicConverter. This is the resulting image, afocal 444X:


2107 MST: Slewed to Comet C/2012 K1 (PanSTARRS) and viewed it at 83X. A nice coma and a short tail were easily seen. I do plan to image the comet on an upcoming session.

Began closing the observatory.

Closed: Thursday, 19 June 2014, 2119 MST
Temperature: 80°F

I had to keep this session short due to an important meeting near Phoenix the next day to discuss the Oracle State Park "International Dark Sky Park" proposal being prepared by the Oracle Dark Skies Committee.

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