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LX600 update; iPhone Moon Imaging

Posted: 8 June 2016

The Juniper Fire east-northeast of Phoenix continued to grow (now 28,500 acres) but remains 20% contained. The smoke visible here was less on Monday, 6 June 2016, although real clouds appeared in the morning. The sky began clearing in the afternoon, but winds became strong as sunset approached. Did not open the observatory Monday night.

I received word on Monday that Meade will replace the 12" LX600. The telescope and all its accessories (except the tripod and wedge) will be picked up on Thursday, 9 June. The replacement will be shipped to me after they receive my telescope. Many thanks to OPT and Meade for the superior support.

Tuesday, 7 June, there was only minimal smoke from the Juniper Fire.

Open: Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 1815 MST
Temperature: 104°F
Session: 980
Conditions: Mostly clear, some smoke

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
Wired AutoStar II handset
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
2" 2X PowerMate
1.25" 26mm eyepiece
0.5X focal reducer

iPhone 6s Plus

This would be the final session using my original 12" LX600 telescope. I collected all the Meade accessories to be packed.

Switched to the wired AutoStar II handcontroller. Used the original short cable with it instead of the longer one I purchased from ScopeStuff.

1900 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF.

Viewed the crescent Moon, 102X.

I then tried the 1.25" 26mm eyepiece (94X) but the field-of-view (FOV) was not enough for the entire lunar disk. I decided to try the 0.5X focal reducer that came with the Revolution Imager. It can be attached to an eyepiece using the filter threads. It worked, reducing the magnification and increasing the FOV. However, the "eye relief" was very short.

I attached the iPhone 6s Plus to the 12" telescope using the Orion SteadyPix Universal Smartphone Telescope Photo Mount for afocal imaging with the 26mm eyepiece + focal reducer. I did some imaging of the crescent Moon, but the still bright sky made the central obstruction too obvious at this low magnification and short eye relief.

1933 MST: sunset.

I documented the AutoStar settings so that I would have them for the replacement telescope. I will likely have to TRAIN DRIVES on the new telescope. I will definitely have to do the RA PEC training on the new telescope.

1949 MST: saw the one and only Kissing Bug during this short session. This one was at the same location as the one that got away during the last session. And it got away this session too.

1953 MST: took this iPhone afocal image of the Moon:


Removed the focal reducer and added the 2X PowerMate to the 26mm eyepiece. Took these iPhone afocal 188X photos:

Mare Crisium

Crater Petavius

2009 MST: removed the iPhone from the telescope and viewed the Moon, 222X. Seeing was not very good but there were a few nice sights.

Then viewed Jupiter, 222X. The four Galilean Moons were visible but the view was not good.

2116 MST: viewed Mars, 222X. Some details visible.

Then began closing up as the next day would be a busy one.

Close: Tuesday, 7 June 2016, 2031 MST
Temperature: 84°F
Session Length: 2h 16m
Conditions: Mostly clear

I have posted my review of the Revolution Imager.

I will be packing up the 12" LX600 telescope Wednesday afternoon, 8 June.

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