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Lunar Southern Region, ETX-105PE Observing

Posted: 7 August 2014

Opened: Wednesday, 6 August 2014, 1829 MST
Temperature: 104°F
Session: 709
Conditions: Mostly clear, breezy

I set up my ETX-105PE telescope in front of the observatory:


It has been a long time since I've used the ETX-105PE (I have used my ETX-70AT, ETX-90RA, and ETX-125AT more frequently). But since I plan to use it for this event Saturday evening:

Click to visit Oracle State Park web site

I decided I had better check it out.

After setting up the ETX-105PE (but before powering it on), I did some lunar viewing with the 8" LX200-ACF. At 222X, the southern polar region looked impressive again this night. 1906 MST: some clouds were approaching from the southwest; at the observatory, not on the moon.

1910 MST: began doing some initial work with the ETX-105PE. I had removed the internal batteries and switched it to use the Celestron PowerTank. In addition, I had swapped the AutoStar from the ETX-125AT to use it on the ETX-105PE. These changes required that I CALIBRATE MOTOR and TRAIN DRIVES on the AutoStar. 1921 MST: sunset. I had a lot of hiccups resulting from the AutoStar switch, but by 1938 MST I had resolved them and the telescope was working properly. I would do some observing with the ETX-105PE after the sky was dark enough to see more than just the moon.

1940 MST: started doing some initial tests of a 2" prime focus camera adapter for my D7000 DSLR. I will post a comparison report of the 2" adapter vs a 1.25" adapter after I have some opportunities to use it more. 2005 MST: ended tests.

Resumed lunar observing. This is a photograph of this night's southern pole region, 1/500sec, ISO 1250, prime focus + 2X PowerMate:


Viewed Saturn through some thin clouds, 222X. Three moons visible.

2025 MST: returned to the ETX-105PE. Viewed the moon, 56X, with and without a moon filter. The moon will be nearly full on the night of the event at Oracle State Park so using the moon filter will be required. (Unfortunately, the current forecast calls for a return of monsoon storms this weekend.) The view was very nice through the ETX. At 150X, the terminator looked crisp. Slewed the ETX to Saturn and viewed it at 150X (through thin clouds). Cassini Division was visible briefly as the clouds went by. Titan was also visible. Should make a nice object for Saturday night (weather permitting). Then viewed M13 (Great Globular Cluster in Hercules) and M57 (Ring Nebula), 56X. Even with the bright moonlit sky, these objects looked good through the ETX. I was now satisfied that the ETX would perform admirably for visitors at Oracle State Park this weekend.

2052 MST: took a final look at Saturn through the 8" LX200-ACF, 83X. Then began closing.

Closed: Wednesday, 6 August 2014, 2109 MST
Temperature: 80°F

My review of the book "Getting Started: Visual Astronomy" is now available on the Reviews page. Check it out. Hint: it's an excellent book!

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