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D7200 DSLR imaging: Venus, Moon, Jupiter,
Io-Europa Eclipse, Saturn

Posted: 28 April 2015

After ending the previous session on 21 April 2015 due to clouds, the sky remained cloudy for several days and nights. Missed a good ISS pass due to the clouds, with no more good passes for awhile. But at least we finally had some "productive" clouds that dropped over 3/4" of rain Sunday morning, 26 April 2015. Monday, 27 April, the sky started out clear but some clouds appeared mid-day, coming in from the northeast (not a typical weather pattern but seen more frequently this year).

Open: Monday, 27 April 2015, 1838 MST
Temperature: 78°F
Session: 814
Conditions: Mostly clear

Since the sky was mostly clear I planned to image the best of the remaining Jupiter Moons Mutual Events this year late in the session. Synced the observatory clock to WWV for the eclipse.

1847 MST: viewed Venus, 83X and 222X. Then viewed Jupiter, 222X. The four Galilean Moons were visible. I then began setting up to image Venus using the D7200 DSLR. Did prime focus and prime focus + 2X PowerMate HD videos, 1.3X crop factor, 60 fps, HD video recordings at various exposure settings. This is a stack (using Keith's Image Stacker) of 1833 frames (30 seconds), 1/1600sec, ISO 1600:


1905 MST: sunset. Viewed the Moon, 83X. Then did some lunar observing, 222X. Seeing was not very good but there were some nice sights along the terminator and limb during brief moments of good seeing. Especially nice was Mare Smythii on the limb at the lunar equator. Elevation changes were very obvious. Viewed Mare Smythii and the limb using 444X. Seeing really didn't support that much magnification but at times some nice details were visible on the floor of Mare Smythii and on the distant mountains.

1956 MST: began imaging the Moon at prime focus with the D7200. This image, 1/400sec, ISO 400, shows the Moon's colors and was made by increasing the Vibrance in Lightroom:


Added the Televue 2X PowerMate and imaged the north (top) and south (bottom) portions of the lunar terminator, 1/320sec, ISO 2500:



This image of the crater Clavius is a single frame from an HD video, 1.3X crop, 60 fps, 1/400sec, ISO 2500:


This image of Mare Smythii and the elevation changes visible at the lunar limb is a single frame from an HD video, 1.3X crop, 60 fps, 1/400sec, ISO 2500:


2016 MST: slewed to Jupiter and did HD video recordings, 1.3X crop, 60 fps, using different exposure settings. This image is a stack of 1842 frames (30 seconds), 1/60sec, ISO 500:


2031 MST: ended imaging for awhile and did some Jupiter observing, 222X. 2130 MST: a few clouds were passing the Moon and Jupiter. Io and Europa had now swapped places from their view earlier in the evening. Seeing was still not good.

2141 MST: began setting up to image the Jupiter Moons Mutual Event: Io's shadow eclipsing Europa, which would began at 225800 MST and end at 230324 MST. Switched to eyepiece projection imaging at 222X and did a focus test using a Bahtinov Mask on the star Regulus. Then did a test video recording of Jupiter and the moons. 2157 MST: was now ready for the eclipse. 2237 MST: the sky was clear now, but seeing was bad. 225730-230400 MST: HD video recording, 1.3X, 60 fps, 1/60sec, ISO 25600. During the eclipse of Europa I watched the event on the D7200 DSLR Live View screen. It was easy to see Europa almost fade from view. This image with three frames from the video recording shows the eclipse:


After the eclipse ended, I slewed the 8" LX200-ACF telescope to Saturn and switched to prime focus + 2X PowerMate for some imaging test recordings. Saturn was low in the southeastern sky and the seeing was bad. This is a stack of 1842 frames of the HD video recording, 1.3X, 60 fps, 1/60sec, ISO 4000:


2319 MST: ended imaging and viewed Saturn, 222X. The moons Titan, Dione, Rhea, and Tethys were visible.

Close: Monday, 27 April 2015, 2346 MST
Temperature: 57°F

Indiana University, my Alma Mater, has released a slick video showing the WIYN 3.5 meter telescope. We have had the opportunity to look through this awesome telescope eight times! Check out the video as well as my Kitt Peak reports.

In my previous report I mentioned that I was making the switch from Apple Aperture photo management/editing software to Adobe Lightroom v6. I was finally able to get it downloaded on Wednesday, 22 April, and imported my 322 GB (20,000+ photos) Aperture Library file into LR6. Everything seemed to go mostly OK and I'm now using Raw images from my D7200 DSLR and editing them in LR6, including the photos on this report. I still have a ways to go to learn Lightroom after many years of using Aperture, but most of the photo editing concepts remain the same.

I used Lightroom to create a photo album of my visit to Lowell Observatory in August 2014 as part of my attendance at the "Dark Skies and Emerging Technology Conference". My attendance was sponsored by Arizona State Parks. You can see the Lowell Observatory gallery by visiting my "Visits to Other Observatories" page.

I have updated the Cassiopeia Observatory "Equipment" page, replacing the photos that showed the D7000 DSLR at various astrophotography mounting locations with new photos showing the D7200 DSLR.

And speaking of the D7200 DSLR, in my review "Astrophotography with the D7200 DSLR" I mentioned that this model "has eliminated the optical low-pass filter (OLPF), known as an anti-aliasing filter, and should provide sharper images. I can now confirm that indeed it does take sharper photos, at least when doing general photography. I suspect the same holds true for astrophotography as well.

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