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Asteroid 12 Victoria Observing; iPhone 5s Lunar Photography

Posted: 12 September 2014

Opening was delayed to attend a meeting of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee at Oracle State Park.

Opened: Thursday, 11 September 2014, 2058 MST
Temperature: 78°F
Session: 718
Conditions: Clear

The sky was already beginning to brighten from the rising waning gibbous moon when I opened the observatory. 2111 MST: the moon was rising over the hill to the east. I slewed the 8" LX200-ACF to the RA/Dec for Asteroid 12 Victoria (which I had imaged on the previous session). I viewed the asteroid at 83X and then 222X. Since the asteroid's motion was clearly evident during the previous night's 1 hour imaging session, I wanted to see if I could detect the motion visually. Unfortunately, there were no bright stars close to the asteroid, which would have made motion detection easier. I monitored the asteroid using 222X. By 2137 MST, no motion had been obviously seen. I powered on the GC Wi-Fi Adapter and used SkySafari Pro on the iPhone to GOTO Asteroid 12. The same object was centered in the eyepiece, so I knew I had the right object. At 2147 MST I finally noticed that the asteroid had indeed moved in relation to some of the faint stars in the eyepiece field-of-view.

2150 MST: slewed to the moon and did some lunar observing at 83X and 222X. Although still low in the eastern sky, the view at 222X was nice. Mare Crisium had some nice shadows.

I began setting up for iPhone imaging. I mounted the iPhone 5s using the modified MX-1 Afocal Adapter and used the earbuds/mic volume control as a remote shutter release. This photo of the moon was taken using 77X and is an in-camera HDR image. I increased the saturation during post-processing.


This is Mare Crisium, afocal 222X, cropped from the full-frame HDR image:


This is the crater Tycho and a portion of the southern polar region, afocal 222X, cropped from the full-frame image:


2213 MST: resumed lunar observing, 222X and 83X.

Closed: Thursday, 11 September 2014, 2232 MST
Temperature: 73°F

I normally do a major cleanup in the observatory on 18 August each year, which is the anniversary date of "First Light" in the observatory. Typically, it can be an all-day affair. This year I was at a Dark Skies Conference on the anniversary date so the cleanup was put off. After I returned from the conference, weather was a factor in my not doing the cleanup. And now that I am getting closer to having a pier for the observatory, I have decided to delay the cleanup even further as I will have to do some major work in the observatory before, doing, and after the pier installation.

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