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iPhone Imaging: ISS, iOptron SkyTracker Pro Tests

Posted: 29 January 2017

Open: Saturday, 28 January 2017, 1752 MST
Temperature: 60°F
Session: 1065
Conditions: Clear, breezy

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

iPhone 6s Plus
D7200 DSLR

1753 MST: sunset.

1758 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF. Viewed Venus, 102X.

I then set up my new iOptron SkyTracker Pro outside of the observatory. I would begin doing sky astrophotography tests using the SkyTracker later this session.

Next, I did some planning on how to best capture this night's pass of the International Space Station (ISS) from inside the observatory using the iPhone 6s Plus with a clip-on wide-angle lens and the iOS app NightCap Pro in "ISS Mode". I attached the GorillaPod to a handle on the dome and did some test exposures:

photo photo

I was then ready for the ISS pass to begin at 1902 MST.

1828 MST: the North Star, Polaris, was visible so I did some polar alignment tests with the SkyTracker Pro while waiting for the ISS pass to begin. 1845 MST: finished the tests and begin waiting for the ISS. Set the LX600 Targets to "Terrestrial" so that the telescope would not move while the ISS was being imaged.

This is the ISS pass image I captured with the iPhone 6s Plus and NightCap Pro:


I should have turned down the interior red illumination inside the observatory before the pass began. Will do that on my next attempt. But it is still a neat photo showing the bright streak of the International Space Station with Venus (at left) and some stars.

1913 MST: LX600 OFF. Began SkyTracker Pro tests using the iPhone 6s Plus and D7200 DSLR. 1947 MST: decided to get out my folding chair/recliner to use during the long exposures I was taking. 2044-2058 MST: took a short break to warm up. 2128 MST: ended SkyTracker Pro tests.

I will be writing up an extensive review of the SkyTracker Pro and hope to post it later this week. In the meantime here is a teaser taken with the iPhone 6s Plus and NightCap Pro showing the constellation of Orion and the bright star Sirius:


Close: Saturday, 28 January 2017, 2143 MST
Temperature: 43°F
Session Length: 3h 51m
Conditions: Clear, breezy

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