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iPhone Telescope Livestreaming on Twitter

Posted: 26 March 2015

Open: Thursday, 26 March 2015, 1806 MST
Temperature: 86°F
Session: 799
Conditions: Mostly clear, some clouds in west

The main goal of this planned short session in the observatory was to try out the new Twitter "Periscope" app Livestreaming using an iPhone 5s afocally on my 8" LX200-ACF telescope. The app was just released today and so this was likely the first Livestreaming on Twitter of astronomical viewing.

1812 MST: viewed Venus with the 8" LX200-ACF, 83X. A nice gibbous phase was visible against a still bright blue sky.

I then mounted the iPhone 5s on the telescope using my modified Magnilux MX-1 Afocal Adapter. I used a 1.25" Meade Series 4000 26mm Plossl eyepiece + a Meade Series 5000 3X TeleExtender, yielding 231X. I initially focused on the Moon and then slewed to Venus to begin the Livestream.

1830 MST: began the Livestream. I showed Venus for 2 minutes and 16 seconds, providing some narration while some classical music was playing in the background on my iPod. Some nearby birds were also tweeting (appropriately). This is the view (a single frame from the video) that was shown:


Venus is overexposed. There are no camera controls in the initial release of the Periscope app.

I ended the Venus show, slewed to the near First Quarter Moon, and started another Livestream. This is a frame from that video:


I toured over the Moon for 9 minutes and 6 seconds. I then ended that Livestream.

The last object for this initial Livestreaming session was Jupiter and three of its moons, seen here:


The Jupiter show lasted 5 minutes and 35 seconds, with "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" from Holst's "The Planets" playing in the background.

I saw lots of very positive and excited comments go by during the three Livestreams, including some from the Periscope development team. I mentioned the lack of focus and exposure controls in the app, which they noted for inclusion in a future release.

This initial Twitter Livestream was a success. Thanks to Twitter and the Periscope teams for this exciting new capability. I will be doing another Livestreaming session on my next night in the observatory and should improve on the results. I'll add a filter to reduce to the overexposing of the planets.

This had to be a short session due to my attending an Arizona State Parks Volunteer Recognition Event at Tubac Presidio State Park on Friday, 27 March. I would need to get up very early for the long drive to the Park.

Close: Thursday, 26 March 2015, 1920 MST
Temperature: 68°F

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