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More Monsoon Storms, Meteorite,
iPhone Daytime Venus

Posted: 2 August 2015

Following my brief daytime Venus session on Thursday, 30 July 2015, the sky became overcast. There was an intense small thunderstorm to the west of the observatory as seen in these webcam images about 15 minutes apart:

photo photo

The overcast sky prevented my imaging the International Space Station (ISS) during an excellent pass that night. Friday morning, 31 July, the sky was still cloudy but my webcam captured the setting orange "Blue Moon" Full Moon:


Late afternoon on Friday a strong monsoon thunderstorm came through with lots of cloud-to-ground lightning, wind, and brief heavy rain, dropping 0.26" in about 20 minutes. Missed out on a good ISS pass that night. Saturday, 1 August, dawned mostly clear, giving some hope that I might be able to do some more daytime imaging of the thin crescent Venus. Unfortunately, monsoon storm clouds appeared by mid-day and covered most of the sky. Some thunder but no rain. And of course, lost another good ISS pass that night.

But some good news occurred on Saturday, 1 August 2015. A local contractor brought me something he wanted to sell: a meteorite! He didn't have any paperwork on it but the "compass" test showed it had a lot of iron in it. It is a little over one inch long and weighs 32 grams. Here are a couple of photos:


And about an hour before sunset, this rainbow appeared:

Click or tap on image for larger version

Sunday, 2 August, dawned mostly clear as the monsoon weather pattern decided to take a break. With mostly clear skies forecast for both the day and night (which changed later to mostly cloudy), would I get a chance at a daytime Venus? Some cumulus clouds began appearing mid-morning in the south and east. As clouds were increasing as noontime approached I decided I had better try for Venus before the cloud cover got worse, even though the planet was not quite high enough for ideal daytime imaging.

Open: Sunday, 2 August 2015, 1152 MST
Temperature: 111°F
Session: 851
Conditions: Partly cloudy, breezy

1159 MST: viewed Venus in the 8" LX200-ACF telescope at 83X. The view of the thin crescent planet was pretty against the bright blue sky. Unfortunately, seeing was pretty bad.

Mounted the iPhone 5s for afocal 154X imaging using the MX-1 Afocal Adapter. This is how Venus appeared in the eyepiece with the iPhone (mirror reversal corrected):


As seeing was so bad I only did 10 second slo-mo (120 frames per second) videos with the iPhone. This is a stack of 1156 frames from one video, with a slight exposure adjustment made in the Camera app:


The crescent was actually a little thinner than it appears in these images.

1213 MST: cloud cover was increasing so took a final look at Venus, 83X, then began closing up the observatory.

Close: Sunday, 2 August 2015, 1222 MST
Temperature: 104°F
Session Length: 00h 30m
Conditions: Partly cloudy, breezy

After I closed the dome I took this iPhone photo towards the south showing some of the clouds:


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