Cassiopeia Observatory logo

iPhone Venus, DSLR SkyTracker Pro Orion, Critters

Posted: 25 February 2017

Open: Friday, 24 February 2017, 1809 MST
Temperature: 65°F
Session: 1076
Conditions: Clear, breezy

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

iPhone 6s Plus
D7200 DSLR

1814 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1817 MST: sunset. Viewed the planet Venus, 102X and 542X.

Mounted the iPhone 6s Plus on the 12" telescope using the Levenhuk Smartphone Adapter. This is a stack of 372 video frames taken with the iOS app NightCap Pro (ISO 25, 1/100sec, 15 seconds), afocal 542X:


Next, I did some more tests using the clip-on 8X telephoto lens for my iPhone. I tried to photograph the planet Venus to show its crescent phase. Unfortunately, the image quality of this inexpensive ($15) 8X telephoto lens is not quite good enough for planet photography.

1845 MST: viewed the planet Mars, 102X and 271X. The planet's disk was visible but no surface details were seen.

1858 MST: slewed to the star Rigel. Its companion star was visible using 102X. I had planned to try imaging Sirius B (the "Pup Star") near the end of this session but later decided to wait until a future (warmer) night.

Now that the breezes had calmed down I set up the iOptron SkyTracker Pro with the D7200 DSLR to do some imaging of the constellation of Orion. Here's the setup in front of the observatory:


1940 MST: began DSLR imaging with the SkyTracker Pro. This is a stack of 10 photos, f/4.2, 1 minute, ISO 1600, White Balance 4000K, focal length 35mm, of the constellation of Orion:


This is a single photo of Orion, slightly cropped, f/4.2, 5 minutes, ISO 3200, White Balance 4000K, focal length 35mm:

Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for labels

I used the Tamron 150-600mm lens for this stack (slightly cropped) of 9 photos taken at f/6.3, 1 minute, ISO 6400, WB 4000K, FL 600mm, showing the Flame Nebula (NGC2024) and the Horsehead Nebula (IC434):


2100 MST: ended imaging.

2108 MST: viewed the Great Orion Nebula (M42), 102X. Always a lovely sight. Then began closing up.

As I was preparing to leave the observatory I caught a glimpse of a small critter running out of the observatory door! All night long I had been hearing a "tapping" sound from one of the POD bays next to the door, but I never saw the source of the sound. I suspect the critter was a packrat.

Close: Friday, 24 February 2017, 2130 MST
Temperature: 39°F
Session Length: 3h 21m
Conditions: Clear

As I was walking up the pathway from the observatory I first heard and then saw several Javelina by Laurraine's bird feeders and quail block near the house. One of them even started down the pathway until he saw me and then he turned around and left the pathway. The following morning as I was preparing this report I heard and then saw two Javelina near the house:



There is always something neat to see here!

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 ©2017 Michael L. Weasner /