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Mercury Observing

Posted: 3 January 2016

Saturday, 2 January 2016, dawned clear but the winds that ended my previous session continued throughout the day.

Open: Saturday, 2 January 2016, 1701 MST
Temperature: 62°F
Session: 904
Conditions: Mostly clear, very breezy

I opened the observatory with the hope that the wind would die down after sunset. 1709 MST: viewed Mercury, 83X. A slightly less than half-phase was visible. Set up for iPhone 6s Plus imaging. Used the Televue 2X PowerMate with a Meade 26mm eyepiece for 154X. Mounted the iPhone on the 8" LX200-ACF using the Orion SteadyPix Universal Smartphone Telescope Photo Mount. I did some slo-mo video recordings (240 frames per second) for stacking. Unfortunately, the seeing was not good enough to stack the images but I did find one frame that was somewhat usable (upscaled 300%):


I then viewed Mercury at 166X.

1730 MST: sunset. Viewed Mercury at 222X. It was now too low for a good view. The wind was not helping. Reverted back to 83X. I then closed the dome to block the wind while waiting for twilight to end. 1802 MST: opened the dome for a sky and wind check. It was still mostly clear and the breezes were less strong than they had been. I prepped the Nikon D7200 DSLR for DSO imaging so I would be ready once Astronomical Twilight ended at 1857 MST.

1832 MST: there were still strong wind gusts so I decided to close up for the night.

Close: Saturday, 2 January 2016, 1848 MST
Temperature: 50°F
Session Length: 1h 47m
Conditions: Mostly clear, windy

A couple of hours after I closed the observatory, the sky was mostly overcast.

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