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iPhone Afocal Venus, Jupiter, Saturn

Posted: 15 June 2015

Saturday night, 13 June 2015, I was at Oracle State Park, our IDA "International Dark Sky Park", along with Dr. John Barentine of the International Dark-Sky Association. He wanted to test some measuring equipment at a dark sky site as well as do some observing. I did some night sky astrophotography from the Park. See my report with photos and videos.

Open: Sunday, 14 June 2015, 1832 MST
Temperature: 106°F
Session: 835
Conditions: Clear, some clouds low in north

1842 MST: viewed Venus, 83X. Switched to the Baader 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece. Nice view at all magnifications (83X to 250X). Mounted the iPhone 5s for afocal imaging 222X using the MX-1 Afocal Adapter. Added a Variable Polarizing Filter to reduce the planet brightness. This is a stack of 1153 slo-mo (120 fps) video frames with full digital zoom on the camera:


I then did a Twitter Periscope livestreaming session showing Venus through the 8" LX200-ACF telescope. The filter wasn't set to be quite dark enough to avoid the planet slightly overexposing in the Periscope app, but the viewers seemed to like it.

1906 MST: did some Jupiter observing with the zoom eyepiece. It was a little faint against the bright sky using 250X but other magnifications were good. 1909 MST: the moon Io was now visible, 83X. Ganymede was in eclipse by the planet's shadow, Europa was behind the planet, and Callisto was too faint to be seen against the bright sky. 1912 MST: Callisto was now visible. 1933 MST: Jupiter and Venus were visible to the naked eye in the western sky. 1936 MST: sunset. 1938 MST: watched Ganymede emerge from the eclipse, 83X.

1942 MST: took a quick look at Saturn with the zoom eyepiece. Then returned to Jupiter and captured this stack of 1155 slo-mo video frames, afocal 222X, full digital zoom:


1950 MST: back to Saturn and did some observing with the zoom eyepiece. The view was good at 167X. The moon Titan was visible. 1952 MST: Saturn was now naked eye visible. 1959 MST: the moons Tethys, Dione, and Rhea were now visible, 167X.

2020 MST: slewed to Omega Centauri (globular cluster) low in the southern sky. It was very faint against the still bright twilight sky 1 hour before the end of Astronomical Twilight.

2028 MST: I saw 3 Kissing Bugs on the inside of the observatory dome. All were terminated. 2032 MST: Kissing Bug #4 was seen and terminated. 2036 MST: Kissing Bug #5 appeared and was terminated. (Music from the movie "The Terminator" was playing in the background. How appropriate.)

2042 MST: Omega Centauri was now a nice view at 83X. Kissing Bug #6 was terminated.

Returned to viewing Saturn. Good view at 250X although seeing was not ideal. Captured this stack of 1156 slo-mo video frames, afocal 222X, full digital zoom:


2100 MST: ended iPhone imaging. 2107 MST: viewed M4 (globular cluster), 83X. Then began closing up as I was still somewhat tired from the previous long night at Oracle State Park and the day-long post processing of those images.

Close: Sunday, 14 June 2015, 2122 MST
Temperature: 79°F

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