Cassiopeia Observatory logo

iPhone imaging: Planets, Moon;
DSLR imaging: Sky

Posted: 18 September 2016

Open: Saturday, 17 September 2016, 1820 MST
Temperature: 97°F
Session: 1013
Conditions: Clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
Wireless AutoStar II handset
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 8-24mm zoom eyepiece
2" 2X PowerMate
1.25" 9mm eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece

iPhone 6s Plus
D7200 DSLR

SYNCed observatory clock to WWV time signals.

1828 MST: sunset.

1829 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1833 MST: viewed Venus, low in the western sky, using the Baader 8-24mm zoom eyepiece. There was a fairly good view of the gibbous phase at 305X (8mm).

Mounted the iPhone 6s Plus on the telescope for afocal imaging using the Orion SteadyPix adapter. Seeing was really bad by the time I began imaging, especially at 542X. I added a Moon Filter to try to improve the images but that didn't help. I also tried using a #21 Orange Filter, which helped somewhat. This image, converted to grayscale, is a stack of 2516 slo-mo (240 fps) video frames (10 seconds), afocal 542X, using the Orange Filter, and shows the gibbous phase:


I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Apple fixed the camera lockups I experienced when using the Earbuds as a remote shutter release. There were no lockups with my iPhone 6s Plus using iOS 10.

1853 MST: viewed Mars, 305X. Seeing was not good but there was a hint of a dark surface feature. The planet's gibbous phase was also visible. Using the iPhone 6s Plus and SteadyPix, did some slo-mo video recordings at 542X. This is a stack of 2473 frames (10 seconds) showing the gibbous phase (but no surface details):


1906 MST: viewed Saturn, 102X. The moons Titan, Rhea, Dione, and Tethys were visible. The view using 305X was fairly good during brief moments of steady seeing with Cassini Division and some cloud bands visible. The planet was too faint for a good video capture using slo-mo. This image is a stack of 614 video frames (20 seconds at 60 fps), 542X:


1927 MST: eastern sky brightening due to rising waning gibbous Moon.

1933 MST: took this handheld photo using the D7200 DSLR, f/3.5, 2 seconds, ISO 6400, FL 18mm, showing the constellations of Sagittarius (left), Scorpius (right), Mars (center), and Saturn (right of center), and a bit of the Milky Way (left of center):

Mouseover or tap on image for labels
Mouseover or tap on image for labels

1940 MST: viewed the planet Neptune, 305X. The small blue disk was visible. I tried imaging the planet with the iPhone at 542X but seeing was not good enough. Will try again on a future session.

2009 MST: the waning gibbous Moon began rising over the hill to the east. 2015 MST: viewed the Moon, 102X. Pretty sight.

Switched to a 2" 30mm eyepiece (81X) for this handheld iPhone afocal photo:


2028 MST: final look at the Moon, 102X.

Close: Saturday, 17 September 2016, 2038 MST
Temperature: 75°F
Session Length: 2h 18m
Conditions: Clear

As many of you know, I have been a customer and supporter of Oceanside Photo and Telescope for many years. Recently, Craig Weatherwax, long time owner of the store, retired and the store now has new owners. You can read about the new management in this article. I look forward to meeting the new owners at some point and I wish them continued success with OPT.

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 /