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iPhone 5s Night Sky Photography, DSO Observing

Posted: 23 October 2014

Opened: Wednesday, 22 October 2014, 1823 MST
Temperature: 76°F
Session: 731
Conditions: Clear with some clouds low in west

1828 MST: viewed Mars, 83X. No details visible. Then SYNCed observatory clock to WWV using new shortwave radio and SYNCed telescope to the star Altair in preparation for the next day's Partial Solar Eclipse.

1852 MST: began preparing for sky imaging using the iOS app "NightCap Pro". Mounted the iPhone 5s on my GorillaPod. Once again had some difficulties achieving focus and maintaining it even with focus locked enabled. But I was able to get this 1 minute exposure (using Night Mode, Long Exposure, and Light Boost):


The constellation of Cassiopeia is above center with the constellation of Perseus at the bottom. The Double Cluster is visible near the center. Pretty good for a smartphone camera. 1953 MST: ended sky imaging.

Spent some time viewing M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) and its companion galaxies M32 and M110, 83X. Then viewed the Bubble Nebula (NGC7635), 83X. Some nebulosity was faintly visible. Added a 2" O-III filter; didn't help. Viewed M27 (Dumbbell Nebula), 83X + O-III filter. Some details in the structure were visible using averted vision. The view was better without the filter. Next viewed was M57 (Ring Nebula), 83X, always a nice view. Last DSO viewed this night was M33 (Triangulum Galaxy), 83X. Spiral arms were nicely visible.

2032 MST: did some sky quality measurements using a Unihedron SQM-L (#6254) and the iOS app "Dark Sky Meter" on my iPhone 5s. Using DSM calibration settings provided by the developer (0.5/1.1) I got the same readings on both devices for the first time. It was 20.90. Still not my darkest reading; humidity was still higher than it should be.

Then began closing up. The next day would be a long and busy day.

Closed: Wednesday, 22 October 2014, 2048 MST
Temperature: 64°F

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