Cassiopeia Observatory logo

iPhone: M13, ISS Pass;
DSLR: Neptune & Uranus Moons, Double Cluster, Aldebaran Occultation

Posted: 19 October 2016

Open: Tuesday, 18 October 2016, 1811 MST
Temperature: 87°F
Session: 1025
Conditions: Clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
Wireless AutoStar II handset
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece

iPhone 6s Plus
D7200 DSLR

1816 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1819 MST: viewed Venus, 102X. Nearly half-phase now.

1820 MST: Saturn, 102X. Moons Titan and Rhea visible.

Then Mars, 102X. Dark surface feature visible.

1825 MST: slewed to M13 (Great Globular Cluster in Hercules). It was faintly visible at 102X. It would be the first imaging target after the end of Astronomical Twilight.

Then set up a camera tripod to photograph a pass of the International Space Station (ISS) using the iPhone 6s Plus and NightCap Pro iOS app.

1833 MST: watched an Iridium flare. Had received a notification of it on the Apple Watch from SkySafari 5 Pro.

1837 MST: viewed M13, 94X. Better view now that the sky was darker.

1848 MST: it was turning into a pretty night. The Milky Way was high overhead and looked very nice.

1855 MST: StarLock ON, High Precision ON. Mounted the iPhone on the 12" telescope for afocal 94X imaging of M13 using the SteadyPix adapter. This is a 2 minute exposure using NightCap Pro (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8000), cropped image:


1915 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF. Slewed to Neptune.

Set up to photograph the ISS pass. Mounted the iPhone with a clip-on wide-angle lens on the camera tripod using a GorillaGrip. Set NightCap Pro to the "ISS Mode" and captured this image of the ISS rising over the observatory (along with an airplane):


Returned to the observatory. Mounted the D7200 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope. 1953 MST: took this 10 seconds, ISO 6400, image (cropped) of Neptune showing its moon Triton:


2000 MST: Uranus moons, 10 seconds, ISO 6400 (cropped):


2005 MST: eastern sky beginning to brighten from rising waning gibbous Moon. 2015 MST: High Precision ON. Mounted the DSLR at prime focus + focus reducer. Slewed to the Double Cluster for this StarLock autoguided, 30 seconds, ISO 2000, exposure:


2027 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF. Began waiting for the Moon to rise over the hill to the east. 2059 MST: Moon rising. Began checking camera orientation in order to capture the occultation of the star Aldebaran in about an hour. Did some test HD video recordings, 30 fps, 1/125sec, ISO 100. With preparations completed, began monitoring the approach of the Moon to Aldebaran in the camera viewfinder.

2201 MST: took this photo of the Moon and Aldebaran, 1/400sec, ISO 400:

Click or tap on image for video of disappearance (left side, 19 seconds)

Then began waiting for the reappearance. 2246 MST: Aldebaran reappearance, 1/400sec, ISO 400:

Click or tap on image for video of reappearance (left side, 5 seconds)

2252 MST: removed the camera from the 12" telescope and viewed Aldebaran and the Moon, 102X. Nice view.

Close: Tuesday, 18 October 2016, 2303 MST
Temperature: 67°F
Session Length: 4h 52m
Conditions: Clear

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 /