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Initial Coolpix P900 Camera Tests

Posted: 31 May 2018

Clouds were forecast to arrive late Tuesday night, 29 May 2018, but they arrived mid-day instead. Wednesday, 30 May, dawned clear.

Two new items arrived on Wednesday, 30 May, that I will be reviewing: the Nikon Coolpix P900 digital camera and the "Supernova Search Atlas and Guide" by Dr. Clay Sherrod of Arkansas Sky Observatories.

Open: Wednesday, 30 May 2018, 1820 MST
Temperature: 85°F
Session: 1241
Conditions: Mostly clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece

Coolpix P900
iPhone 8 Plus

This session was mostly devoted to doing some initial general photography and limited astrophotography tests using my wife's new Nikon Coolpix P900 camera. I will post a complete review once I have done some more astrophotography tests with the camera. This report has only a few teaser shots.

Of course, I took a photo of the observatory with the P900:


One of the major features of the Coolpix P900 is its 83X optical zoom. To give you an idea just what can be done with such an extreme zoom, this is a photograph of Kitt Peak National Observatory, 65 miles from Cassiopeia Observatory, taken at the full optical zoom (35mm equivalent focal length 2000mm; uncropped):


1851 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X and 271X.

The camera is pretty good at bird photography:


You like photographing airplanes in flight? The P900 is pretty good at that as well:


1928 MST: sunset. Clouds were increasing in the southern sky.

Viewed Jupiter, 102X. Four moons visible. 1942 MST: the moon Io had just started a transit of the planet's disk (began at 1938 MST) and was visible in front of Jupiter, 271X. 1948 MST: seeing getting worse due to clouds. Seeing Io against the bright planet was getting more difficult. 1953 MST: Io no longer visible, but I did observe an Earth orbiting satellite cross in front of the planet's disk, 271X. That was neat. 2035 MST: Io's shadow was now visible in transit.

First Kissing Bug of the night was seen. He saw me too and was very sneaky. As I approached him he would duck into a crevice in the observatory wall. I was finally able to terminate him by sticking a screwdriver into the crevice. One down.

2047 MST: the southeastern sky was brightening from the rising waning gibbous Moon.

2050 MST: Kissing Bugs #2 and #3 terminated.

2100 MST: saw this spider catching his dinner:


2131 MST: stepped outside of the observatory to do some Moon astrophotography tests with the P900.

2147 MST: returned to the observatory and terminated Kissing Bug #4.

2149 MST: viewed the Moon, 102X, through a tree.

2157 MST: Kissing Bug #5 terminated. Although the Kissing Bug season started a little late this year, it now seems to be well underway.

2158 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Wednesday, 30 May 2018, 2208 MST
Temperature: 73°F
Session Length: 3h 48m
Conditions: Partly cloudy

I recently came across my first astrophotograph taken with the original model iPhone in December 2007. I had purchased the iPhone in early December 2007, shortly after moving to Arizona from California. The photo has been added to my iPhone Astrophotography Album as the first astrophoto.

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