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Squirrel, Setting Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Albireo

Posted: 7 August 2018

The sky was partly cloudy Sunday night, 5 August 2018, but I would not have opened the observatory anyway as I had an early morning commitment on Monday. Monday, 6 August, was mostly clear.

Just before heading out to the observatory I saw two rock squirrels. I managed to get a photo of one of them:

Click or tap on image for larger version

Open: Monday, 6 August 2018, 1855 MST
Temperature: 90°F
Session: 1268
Conditions: Mostly clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 4X Powermate


SYNCed observatory clock to WWV time signals.

1903 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X and 406X.

Viewed Jupiter, 406X. Two moons were visible against the still bright sky.

Left the observatory to photograph the setting Sun using the D850 DSLR and 70-300mm lens. This sequence (cropped) was taken at FL 300mm:


This photo was taken at FL 70mm:


1920 MST: sunset. Clouds were increasing.

1924 MST: viewed Jupiter, 406X. Four moons were now visible. However, seeing was not very good. I decided to try imaging anyway. Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + 4X Powermate. This is a stack of 424 video frames, 1080p 60fps DX, 1/100sec, ISO 1600:


This is a composite image of Jupiter (1/60sec, ISO 800) and the four Galilean Moons (1/30sec, ISO 6400):


Slewed to Saturn. Clouds were near the planet. This is a not very good composite of Saturn (1/30sec, ISO 5000) and four of its moons (1 second, ISO 6400):


I then did some video recordings of Saturn. Clouds interfered. This is a stack of 418 video frames, 1080p 60fps DX, 1/60sec, ISO 6400:


2005 MST: Mars appeared from behind some clouds, low in the southeastern sky.

2012 MST: the clouds were definitely increasing. I decided to not try imaging Mars, but the colorful double star Albireo was visible through a hole in the clouds. Slewed to it.

Albireo, prime focus + 4X Powermate, 1/2sec, ISO 6400:


2020 MST: I gave up on further imaging due to the clouds. Removed the camera from the 12" telescope.

Viewed Albireo, 102X.

2026 MST: viewed Mars, 102X and 406X. Nothing was visible on its surface due to the dust storm there and the clouds here.

2030 MST: began seeing a lot of lightning from storms to the south.

2031 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Monday, 6 August 2018, 2043 MST
Temperature: 86°F
Session Length: 1h 48m
Conditions: Partly cloudy

The developer of the iOS app NightCap Camera, Chris Wood, was recently interviewed by "The Mac Observer". I use the app for iPhone astrophotography. In the interview I get a brief mention at the start. I was also recently interviewed by "The Mac Observer".

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