Cassiopeia Observatory logo

Critters, Revolution Imager testing,
Star Clusters & Planets Astrophotography

Posted: 30 May 2016

Open: Sunday, 29 May 2016, 1809 MST
Temperature: 93°F
Session: 973
Conditions: Clear, breezy

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
Wireless AutoStar II handset
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
1.25" 15mm eyepiece
1.25" 5.5mm eyepiece
2" 2X PowerMate

Revolution Imager
D7200 DSLR

The first thing I did was to set up the newly received Revolution Imager on the 12" LX600 telescope. I did some initial testing of it this night. I will be writing up a review and will post it once it is completed.

1911 MST: moved the dome onto the POD Zenith Table (PZT).

I then had the first critter visiter of the night:


1928 MST: sunset. LX600 ON, StarLock OFF. I resumed using the Wireless AutoStar II handcontroller.

1930 MST: viewed Jupiter, 102X and 271X. The four Galilean Moons were visible. Pretty good view of Jupiter this night now that the collimation issues have been resolved. While working with the Revolution Imager, another visitor showed up:


2030 MST: I completed my initial testing of the Revolution Imager and began setting up for prime focus astrophotography using the D7200 DSLR. After doing a focus test image with the Bahtinov Mask using the star Spica, I slewed to the "Stargate" Cluster in Corvus for this 10 second, ISO 2500, White Balance 4000K, image:


2105 MST: the wind was picking up. Took this 30 second, ISO 2500, WB 4000K, image of Omega Centauri (globular cluster), very low in the southern sky:


I then took these images of three more globular clusters at ISO 2500, WB 4000K, and 30 seconds, 20 seconds, and 20 seconds, respectively:




Slewed to Jupiter for prime focus + 2X PowerMate, HD video recordings, 1.3X crop factor, 60 fps. This is a stack of 1833 frames, 1/250sec, ISO 1000, WB Auto:


I then saw the first Kissing Bug of the season who had come to visit:


He was terminated. (I really do not like these 1" long bloodsuckers.) I noticed I had inadvertently stepped on another Kissing Bug at some point this night.

I did another focus test image, this time using the star Antares, in preparation for imaging Mars and Saturn at prime focus + 2X PowerMate. Seeing was not very good now; while I was imaging Mars, it was moving around a lot. This Mars image is a stack of 1836 video frames, 1/500sec, ISO 1000:


And Saturn, stack of 1830 frames, 1/250sec, ISO 4000:


2228 MST: finished imaging. It was still breezy.

Viewed Saturn, 271X. The moons Titan, Rhea, Tethys, and Dione were visible. Cassini Division was visible but not clear due to the poor seeing.

Next, viewed Mars, 271X. Mars was very bright with some details visible even with the poor seeing. Viewed Mars at 542X; Mars was still too bright for comfortable viewing. Tried using a Variable Polarizing Filter to reduce the planet's brightness, which helped somewhat. I then tried 443X + #82A Light Blue filter. Too much magnification for the poor seeing. Switched to 163X + #82A filter; pretty good view. But the best view of Mars was at 163X + Moon Filter.

The last object viewed this night was M57 (Ring Nebula). Good views at 102X and 271X.

Close: Sunday, 29 May 2016, 2346 MST
Temperature: 67°F
Session Length: 5h 37m
Conditions: Clear, calm

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

Previous report

Cassiopeia Observatory Home Page

Back to Top

Copyright ©2016 Michael L. Weasner /