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Asteroid 12 Victoria

Posted: 11 September 2014

Clouds from an approaching Monsoon 2014 storm system entered our skies on Wednesday, 3 September 2014. No observing. But the good news was that the replacement for my failed Nikon AC Adapter arrived the same day. A monsoon thunderstorm passed near Oracle Thursday evening, 4 September. Lots of lightning and 0.25" rain. Another monsoon storm went through Oracle Monday morning, 8 September, dropping 0.19" of rain in 15 minutes and 0.67" in less than one hour (allowing me to submit my NWS Trained Spotter report; a Flash Flood Warning was put out shortly after I submitted my report). And then another almost 0.5" in 15 minutes, for a storm total of 1.63". After the rain ended mid-afternoon I headed out to the observatory to check on things:


There was just a small amount of water that apparently bounced in beneath the dome on the north side and dripped down on a bay floor. Nothing damaged. By the way, check out the low clouds in the distance in the webcam image above.

The sky finally cleared on Wednesday, 10 September.

Opened: Wednesday, 10 September 2014, 1830 MST
Temperature: 92°F
Session: 717
Conditions: Mostly clear, high humidity

1839 MST: sunset. 1840 MST: Quick look at Mars, 83X; no details visible. Then Saturn, 83X and 222X; due to poor seeing and low altitude, the view was not very good. Cassini Division was barely visible at times.

I then connected the new Nikon AC Adapter EH-5b (replacement for one that failed at the end of last month) to the observatory electrical system. It worked fine with my D7000 DSLR. One difference with the EH-5b model is that it has no power-on LED, unlike the original EH-5a model. Also, the cord to the camera seems a little bit shorter than the 5a cord, but that should not be a problem.

1900 MST: resumed Saturn observing, 222X. Seeing still not good. Thin clouds were becoming a factor.

1905 MST: did a GOTO to the star Altair to check AutoStar alignment. The star was placed near the center of the eyepiece (222X) field-of-view. Centered the star and SYNCed the AutoStar in preparation for imaging Asteroid 12 Victoria, which had been at opposition on 8 September 2014. 1921 MST: slewed to the star Markab, near to the location of the asteroid in the constellation of Pegasus. Surprisingly, Asteroid 12 is not in the AutoStar database, although #11 and #13 are. I would use the GC Wi-Fi Adapter and SkySafari Pro 4 on my iPhone 5s to GOTO the asteroid when ready to begin imaging it.

1930 MST: more clouds in sky now. 1938 MST: began setting up for asteroid imaging at prime focus of the 8" LX200-ACF. Mounted the D7000 DSLR using the 2" TPO Adapter. Did a focus test on the star Markab using the Bahtinov Mask. 1948 MST: eastern sky beginning to brighten from rising waning gibbous moon. Powered on the Wi-Fi Adapter and did a GOTO Asteroid 12 Victoria using the iPhone. There were now some clouds in Pegasus.

Did a 30 second, ISO 1600, exposures at 2000, 2030, and 2100 MST. Several times between the exposures clouds covered the asteroid. 2031 MST: the waning gibbous moon rose over the hill to the east of the observatory, increasing the sky brightness. This image is a merge of the three exposures:

Mouseover or tap to see an animated GIF version

2101 MST: slewed to the moon. Removed the D7000 DSLR as the moon's disk was too large to completely image without adding a focal reducer. 2107 MST: took this iPhone 5s handheld afocal photograph using the 24mm UWA eyepiece (83X). This is actually an in-camera HDR image, slightly cropped.


2110 MST: did some quick lunar observing, 83X. Then began closing up. It had been great to be back in the observatory after all the recent cloudy nights.

Closed: Wednesday, 10 September 2014, 2122 MST
Temperature: 72°F

I have posted my review of "Celestial Sleuth". You will like this book.

I represented the Oracle Dark Skies Committee at the first GLOW event of 2014 at Triangle L Ranch on Saturday, 6 September. I have posted a few photos on the ODSC web site.

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