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iPhone Lunar Imaging: Craters Pythagoras, Hevelius, and Grimaldi

Posted: 5 December 2014

No observing for several nights at the end of November as I was out-of-town. Of course, the sky was clear during my absence! But when I returned the sky clouded up again, with even some much needed rain on Thursday, 4 December (1.09"). Since it was cloudy I did some work on the Cassiopeia Observatory Data page. Check out the new Moon Calendar and Sky Chart at the end of the page. You can change the Moon Calendar display month/year and the sky chart date/time and location by clicking those lines in the chart. The sky began clearing late afternoon after the rain ended on Thursday. I went to the observatory; no leaks from the rain, but I did clean off water from the outside of the dome in case it stayed clear and I could open the dome for observing. While in the observatory I also synced the observatory clock to WWV using the new shortwave radio. Nighttime opening of the observatory was delayed due to a meeting of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee.

Open: Thursday, 4 December 2014, 2027 MST
Temperature: 51°F
Session: 753
Conditions: Mostly clear with some clouds

After the day's rain, the humidity was still high at 78%. 2034 MST: viewed the moon, 83X. It was nearly full with a slight terminator visible. This handheld afocal 83X image was taken using an iPhone 5s:


I then did some lunar observing using the William Optics Binoviewers. At 100X the views were awesome. Added the 1.6X Barlow Lens to observe the terminator. Some really nice sights were seen. The craters Pythagoras, Hevelius, and Grimaldi looked really nice.

2047 MST: cloud cover was increasing. Decided I had better hurry if I wanted to take any more lunar photographs.

This is a slightly cropped handheld iPhone photo of Crater Pythagoras at the northern terminator, afocal 160X:


And this slightly cropped handheld iPhone photo shows the craters Hevelius and Grimaldi, 160X:


2059 MST: the sky was now completely overcast. Began closing up for the night. It had been nice to be back in the observatory, even for a very short session.

Close: Thursday, 4 December 2014, 2110 MST
Temperature: 50°F

Some of my iPhone astrophotography is featured in this article on an Italian web site. Also, my Baader Zoom Eyepiece review has been updated with a reader comment.

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