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Moon & Venus; M81, M82, Leo Triplet Galaxies;
iPhone M12 & M4 Globular Clusters

Posted: 17 May 2018

Open: Wednesday, 16 May 2018, 1900 MST
Temperature: 79°F
Session: 1232
Conditions: Clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece
1.25" 15mm eyepiece
Focal Reducer

iPhone 8 Plus

1907 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1909 MST: viewed the thin crescent Moon, 102X.

1911 MST: viewed the crescent Moon, 12x50 binoculars.

1913 MST: the Moon and Venus were both now visible to the naked eye.

1917 MST: this is how the thin crescent Moon appeared in the sky, taken with the D850 DSLR, f/9, 1/320sec, ISO 400, FL 300mm:


1919 MST: sunset.

Viewed the Moon, 102X and 81X. Took this handheld iPhone 8 Plus afocal 81X photo of the Moon:


1938 MST: last look at the Moon, 81X, as it was getting too low and into a tree. Nice view though.

1943 MST: viewed Venus, 102X.

1946 MST: first Kissing Bug of the season seen. Terminated.

I then stepped outside of the observatory to take these handheld D850 DSLR photos. The first is a cropped photo (f/5.6, 1/4sec, ISO 800, FL 300mm) showing Earthshine. The second photo shows the western sky at 2017 MST (f/5.6, 1/4sec, ISO 2500, FL 86mm).


Returned to the observatory and began preparing for DSLR imaging with the 12" telescope. My first targets were in the northern sky. Due to the exceedingly bright nuisance "security lights" from the neighbor to the northwest (who refuses to believe that the lights shine beyond his property) I set up my "Light Shield". The lights are at the left.


2032 MST: viewed M81 (Bode's Galaxy) and then M82 (Cigar Galaxy), 102X. I mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer. Focused on the star Dubhe. 2041 MST: StarLock ON.

Took these StarLock autoguided photos:

M81 Bode's Galaxy (5 minutes, ISO 5000, White Balance Auto)

M82 Cigar Galaxy (1 minute, ISO 5000, White Balance Auto)

Slewed to the star Regulus, SYNCed the AutoStar, and checked the focus. Did some 1 minute framing test exposures of the Leo Triplet of Galaxies. Then did this StarLock autoguided image:

Leo Triplet M65, M66, NGC3628 Sarah's Galaxy (3 minutes, ISO 5000, White Balance Auto)

2151 MST: StarLock OFF.

Removed the camera and focal reducer. Viewed the Leo Triplet, 102X.

Then viewed M12 (globular cluster), 102X and 163X. I did some StarLock autoguided iPhone afocal 163X imaging using the iOS app NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8448, 1/3sec) of these Messier Catalog globular clusters:

M12 (8 seconds)

M4 (61 seconds)

2301 MST: StarLock OFF.

Viewed M4 (globular cluster), 102X. Then viewed Jupiter, 102X. Four moons were visible.

2307 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Wednesday, 16 May 2018, 2316 MST
Temperature: 69°F
Session Length: 4h 16m
Conditions: Clear

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