Cassiopeia Observatory logo

D7200 DSLR: ISS Attempt, Saturn, Full Moon

Posted: 3 June 2015

It got a little warm in Oracle, Arizona, this afternoon (99°F) and two deer decided to get some shade just outside our house:


The left one is a young buck and the right one is a young doe.

Open: Tuesday, 2 June 2015, 1831 MST
Temperature: 95°F
Session: 831
Conditions: Clear, breezy

After opening the observatory I synced the observatory clock to WWV and then updated the International Space Station (ISS) TLE for the night's ISS pass using the AutoStar II.

1844 MST: viewed Venus, then Jupiter, 83X. One Jovian moon was visible: Ganymede. Europa was currently being eclipsed by the planet's shadow. 1911 MST: Io became visible as the sky began to darken as sunset approached. 1921 MST: Callisto faintly visible, 83X. 1928 MST: Europa now visible as its eclipse ended. 1929 MST: sunset. Saw a "green flash". Switched to the Explore Scientific 2" 9mm 100° eyepiece (222X) and did some Jupiter observing. 1936 MST: last look at Jupiter.

Slewed to the star Regulus and began preparing for the ISS pass. SYNCed the AutoStar on Regulus. Mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus of the 8" LX200-ACF. Tweaked the finderscope alignment. Did a focus test on Regulus using a Spike-a Bahtinov Mask. I discovered how convenient the Apple Watch is. On the display was my reminder about the exposure settings I wanted to try for this night's attempt:


That got me to wondering about seeing a night's "observing list" on the Watch. Seeing an "observing list" from SkySafari Pro displayed on the Apple Watch would be pretty handy.

2010 MST: I was then ready for the ISS pass. The pass would occur while the sky was still somewhat bright.

2017 MST: the ISS appeared but the telescope was pointed several degrees away. Once I got it centered, tracking was not very good and I had to keep making large corrections. As the ISS approached the North Celestial Pole, tracking became even worse (which is typical) and I did not get the ISS recentered until near the end of the pass. I did an HD video recording, 1.3X crop factor, 60 fps, 1/2000, ISO 5000. During post-processing I discovered that the focus must have slipped. The telescope focus was locked so I suspect the camera mount shifted. Argh. Here's a blurry image from one video frame:


When the pass ended I saw a Kissing Bug on the observatory dome above my head. Terminated.

2028 MST: eastern sky bright from rising near Full Moon (was 100% at 0922 MST). Saturn was visible above the tree to the southeast. Removed the camera and viewed Saturn, 83X. The moons Titan, Dione, Rhea, and Tethys were visible. At 222X, Cassini Division was visible along with some cloud bands. Seeing was not ideal so the view was not very sharp. By 2117 MST, seeing was a little better. Mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus + 2X PowerMate. Did a focus test on Spica with the Mask. Did some 10-second HD video recordings, 1.3X crop factor, 60 fps, at ISO 4000 using various shutter speeds. This is a stack of 633 frames at 1/100sec using Keith's Image Stacker:


Switched to prime focus + focal reducer + extension + visual back and did some Full Moon imaging. This exposure is 1/500sec, ISO 100:

Click or tap on image for larger version (1 MB)

2147 MST: completed imaging. 2156 MST: viewed the Moon, 83X, using a moon filter. Nice view with a very slight terminator visible (as seen in the photo above).

Close: Tuesday, 2 June 2015, 2209 MST
Temperature: 75°F

Comments are welcome using Email. If you are on Twitter you can use the button below to tweet this report to your followers. Thanks.

Previous report

Cassiopeia Observatory Home Page

Back to Top

Copyright ©2015 Michael L. Weasner /