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Critter; DSO Observing;
Rising Waning Gibbous Moon

Posted: 16 November 2016

Open: Tuesday, 15 November 2016, 1805 MST
Temperature: 82°F
Session: 1043
Conditions: Mostly clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
Wired AutoStar II handset
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
2" 50mm eyepiece

iPhone 6s Plus

1810 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1812 MST: viewed Saturn, 102X. The view was hampered by the planet's low altitude and some clouds, but the Ring and the moon Titan were visible.

Then viewed Venus, 102X. Nice view of the slight gibbous phase.

Next, viewed Mars, 102X. The disk was small but there was a hint of a dark surface feature visible. Switched to the 2" 9mm 100° eyepiece (271X). Seeing was not good but did confirm the surface feature.

I did some Deep Sky Object (DSO) viewing, 102X. First, the globular clusters M13, M92, and M56. Then viewed the Ring Nebula (M57).

Viewed the Triangulum Galaxy (M33), 102X. Switched to the 2" 50mm eyepiece (49X), which provided a nice wide-field view of the galaxy.

Viewed the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), and its companion galaxies M32 and M110, 49X. Nice view.

Then viewed the Double Cluster (open star clusters), 49X. Both clusters nicely in the same field-of-view (FOV).

1843 MST: the eastern sky was beginning to brighten due to the soon-to-rise waning gibbous Moon.

Viewed NGC185, a companion galaxy to the Andromeda Galaxy, 49X.

The last galaxy viewed was the Sculptor Galaxy (NGC253), 49X. It extended almost across the entire FOV.

1854 MST: viewed the Pleiades (M45), 49X. Almost the entire open cluster was in the same FOV.

1906 MST: clouds increasing. Began waiting for the Moon to rise over the hill to the east.

While waiting I kept hearing an owl hooting nearby. Eventually the owl moved the large tree near the observatory and I was able to get this photo of the Great Horned Owl using the D7200 DSLR:


1920 MST: slewed the 12" telescope to the star Aldebaran, just over the hill to the east. Removed the diagonal and focused on the star, 49X. SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV. Everything was now in readiness for the Moon to rise over the hill.

1936 MST: the Moon appeared over the hill and I began taking afocal 49X photos with the iPhone 6s Plus handheld over the eyepiece. Here is one of those photos:


1940 MST: clouds now in the western half of the sky.

1943 MST: with the Moon now a little higher in the sky I took this handheld iPhone afocal 49X photo:


1945 MST: completed imaging. Viewed the Moon, 102X.

1949 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Tuesday, 15 November 2016, 2000 MST
Temperature: 67°F
Session Length: 1h 55m
Conditions: Partly cloudy

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