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Orion Nebula with iPhone 5s and NightCap Pro App,
Comet C/2014 Q2 Observing

Posted: 24 December 2014

Opening the observatory was delayed so that I could go to Catalina State Park and take a Sky Quality Measurement. I also took a reading at Oracle State Park before returning home to open the observatory.

Open: Tuesday, 23 December 2014, 2055 MST
Temperature: 41°F
Session: 757
Conditions: Clear, breezy

2104 MST: viewed M42 (Orion Nebula), 83X. Seeing was slightly better this night than last night, but still not great. Decided to defer primary DSO imaging until another night. But I did want to try some iPhone 5s imaging of M42 using the NightCap Pro app.

Mounted the iPhone 5s on the 8" LX200-ACF using my modified MX-1 Afocal Adapter. Using Long Exposure, Night Mode, and Light Boost, this is how M42 appeared using NightCap Pro "live view" at 77X:


Both M42 and M43 (left of M42) are visible in the live view.

I then did several 1 and 2 minute exposures of M42. Getting the focus to stabilize in-focus was a challenge. But when it did, the images were pretty good. This is a single 2 minute exposure (slightly cropped):


Pretty nice for a night of not great seeing and using a smartphone camera.

2134 MST: completed M42 imaging.

2140 MST: slewed the 8" to Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) and viewed it at 83X. The comet was still very low in the southeastern sky but the coma was bright and large. No tail was visible. It was too low from Cassiopeia Observatory for imaging this night. I hope to image it soon as it moves northward, but before the waxing moon becomes a factor.

Close: Tuesday, 23 December 2014, 2156 MST
Temperature: 39°F

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