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Thunderstorm shortened session

Posted: 3 November 2016

Clouds returned again Wednesday morning, 2 November 2016. During the day I went to the observatory to check on the Declination drive to ensure that nothing had come loose. Nothing had. Ever wonder what the inside of the DEC fork arm of the 12" LX600 looks like? Here it is:


Late in the afternoon the sky began clearing. I decided to go out to the observatory to do some things. However, as I left the house after sunset I saw that there were surprise thunderstorms in the southeast, east, and north! Venus, Saturn, and the Moon were still nicely visible in the west so I thought I would get some photos. Took this photo of the storm clouds to the east before I opened the observatory:


Open: Wednesday, 2 November 2016, 1804 MST
Temperature: 75°F
Session: 1034
Conditions: Partly cloudy with thunderstorms

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

D7200 DSLR
iPhone 6s Plus

1811 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

The clouds were now rapidly moving westward with increasing lightning.

1814 MST: took a quick look at the Moon, 102X.

Then mounted the D7200 DSLR on a tripod and took this photograph of the observatory, Venus, Saturn, the crescent Moon, and the approaching clouds:

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Upon returning to the 12" telescope the clouds were almost at the Moon. Took this quick handheld afocal 102X photo of the Moon using the iPhone 6s Plus:


1822 MST: clouds arrived at the Moon. Decided to close up. Lots of lightning in the area and some rain was visible. In fact, just as I closed the observatory dome raindrops began falling!

Close: Wednesday, 2 November 2016, 1828 MST
Temperature: 71°F
Session Length: 0h 24m
Conditions: Mostly overcast with thunderstorms

The storms continued overnight into Thursday. Only received 0.07" of rain but there was lightning, as seen in this image captured by one of my webcams:


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