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Packrat; Lightning; iPhone Moon

Posted: 18 October 2018

Got him!


Of course, I don't know if this is the same packrat that has been visiting the observatory.

Thursday, 11 October 2018, was cloudy. Moisture associated with Pacific Tropical Storm Sergio arrived on Friday, 12 October, giving us 0.2" rain. Saturday, 13 October, was cloudy with 1.01" rain, and another 0.6" Sunday morning, 14 October, from Sergio.

Sunday evening I was the guest speaker at the Saddlebrooke SkyGazers Club. The club provided dinner for my wife and I at the Saddlebrooke Preserve Grill before the talk. At the Club's request I gave a talk on our 2017 Total Solar Eclipse experiences.

Monday, 15 October, dawned mostly clear as the remnants of Sergio moved on. But clouds began appearing mid-morning from an approaching storm system. There was some light rain mid-day (0.03") and more rain (0.31") from a thunderstorm that night, which included this lightning strike:

Click or tap on image for 2 seconds video

Another 0.34" of rain fell from another thunderstorm before sunrise on Tuesday, 16 October. The sky finally cleared on Wednesday, 17 October.

Open: Wednesday, 17 October 2018, 1803 MST
Temperature: 67°F
Session: 1291
Conditions: Clear, windy

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

iPhone 8 Plus

SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV.

1810 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed the planets Jupiter and it four Galilean Moons low in the southwestern sky, Saturn and its moon Titan, and Mars, 102X. The views of the planets were bad due to the unsettled atmospheric conditions.

1817 MST: viewed the Moon, 102X. Detailed views were impossible with the poor seeing.

1822 MST: took this handheld iPhone 8 Plus afocal 102X photo of the Moon using NightCap Camera (ISO 22, 1/2500sec):


1828 MST: viewed some Earthshine on the Moon, 102X.

1836 MST: viewed the double star Almaak, low in the northeastern sky, 102X. It was too low and the seeing too bad for a good view.

The wind was still blowing. I decided to end the session due to the poor viewing conditions.

1838 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Wednesday, 17 October 2018, 1847 MST
Temperature: 59°F
Session Length: 0h 44m
Conditions: Clear, windy

I have posted my review of the Orion Dual Mount and 9x50 Illuminated Finder Scope.

For Mac users who want to run DeepSkyStacker (Windows only) on their system, check out this article by Richard Lighthill of La Pine Observatory: Day 1 M 33, Deep Sky Stacker in Mac OS and Guiding Tests.

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