iPhone Venus; Quasar CTA 102 Observing
Posted: 18 December 2016
Cloudy skies continued until Saturday afternoon, 17 December 2016. Got some rain (0.08") on Friday, 16 December, and then more rain (0.89") early Saturday morning. I checked the POD; there was one minor leak at the bottom of the primary dome. No damage. Apparently a bolt was loose; I tightened it.
Open: Saturday, 17 December 2016, 1715 MST
Conditions: Clear, hazy
As I approached the observatory shortly before sunset, Venus was visible high in the southwestern sky.
1720 MST: sunset.
1721 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.
1725 MST: viewed Venus, 102X and 271X. The view was pretty good of the near half lit planet.
Switched from the 2" 9mm eyepiece to a 1.25" 9mm eyepiece. Mounted the iPhone 6s Plus on the 12" telescope using the Levenhuk Smartphone Adapter. Did a couple of slo-mo videos (10 seconds, 240 fps) of Venus, afocal 271X. This is a stack of one video (2472 frames) using Keith's Image Stacker:
1740 MST: removed the iPhone and switched back to the 2" 24mm UWA eyepiece (102X). Viewed Mercury, low and through a tree, 102X and 271X. It was less than half lit. No imaging attempted due to its low altitude in the sky. Returned to Venus for some observing, 271X.
Slewed to the star Altair and SYNCed the AutoStar.
1805 MST: viewed Mars, 102X.
1811 MST: began preparations to try to observe Quasar CTA 102, discussed in this Sky & Telescope article, using a magnification of 102X. I first slewed to the star HD212989 and then began "star-hopping" using the chart in the Sky & Telescope article. As Astronomical Twilight ended (1849 MST) I was able to positively confirm that I was viewing the proper area. 1855 MST: after lots of star patterns comparisons I finally decided I was observing Quasar CTA 102. I believe it was about Magnitude +15-ish.
1902 MST: viewed NGC660 (polar-ring galaxy), 102X. Good view. I had imaged NGC660 using the 8" telescope in January 2013 and plan to image it with the 12" telescope on a future session.
1915 MST: did some tests of a new beta of the Dark Sky Meter iOS app for the developer.
Close: Saturday, 17 December 2016, 1931 MST
Session Length: 2h 16m|
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