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International Space Station, Moon Southern Region

Posted: 6 August 2014

Opened: Tuesday, 5 August 2014, 1849 MST
Temperature: 100°F
Session: 708
Conditions: Clear, slight breeze

1858 MST: did some lunar observing, 83X. Switched to 222X; there were some nice views of the moon even though the sky was still bright a few minutes before local sunset. The southern region of the moon was especially nice, although seeing was not very good.

Updated the International Space Station (ISS) TLE for the telescope. I then mounted the D7000 DSLR on the 8" LX200-ACF at prime focus + 2X PowerMate. Used the moon to focus, locked the telescope focus, and checked the finderscope alignment (OK). 1919 MST: ready for the ISS pass to start at 1940 MST.

1921 MST: sunset. The ISS pass would start low in the southwest sky. The initial view would be hampered by a tree and a still bright sky.

I missed the start of the pass due to the tree and bright sky. After picking up the ISS with the naked eye, I finally managed to get it in the finderscope. Once centered, the ISS was about 30° up. Tracking was not ideal and required continuous manual corrections. Fortunately I was able to track the ISS through its mid-pass (closest approach was 455 km). Shortly after mid-pass I lost the ISS in the finderscope (due to tracking errors). As the pass neared its end I got the ISS centered again but it was now very distant (about 1000 km) and so the size was small, its brightness decreasing, and was low in the sky (looking through more atmosphere). The best images were at mid-pass:


These are not my best ISS images. See the Satellites album page for images from other passes.

After the ISS pass was over, I slewed to the moon and did some prime focus + 2X PowerMate imaging of the southern region. Seeing was still not very steady. This is a 1/400sec, ISO 1600, exposure:


2010 MST: did more lunar observing, 222X. Then viewed Saturn, 222X. Only two moons were visible. During brief moments of steady seeing Cassini Division was visible. I tried Mars at 222X but seeing was not good enough for a good view. Decided to close up for the night.

Closed: Tuesday, 5 August 2014, 2035 MST
Temperature: 81°F

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