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Smokey Sky, Setting Sun, Green Flash, Moon

Posted: 14 November 2018

Smoke from California wildfires made its way to Oracle, Arizona, on Sunday, 11 November 2018:


The wind picked up beginning mid-day. The setting Sun was not as red as I expected from the smoke, but I did take these handheld photos (cropped) with the Nikon D850 DSLR and Tamron 150-600mm lens (FL 600mm):


I managed to capture the "Green Flash" as seen in this cropped photo (f/8, 1/8000sec, ISO 100, FL 600mm):


After sunset I took this handheld photo (f/6, 1/30sec, ISO 4000, FL 360mm) of Earthshine on the crescent Moon, which was near Saturn:


The inset shows Saturn at the same image scale from another photo taken at the same time (f/6, 1/250sec, ISO 1000, FL 360mm).

I did not open the observatory Sunday night due to the smokey sky. Monday, 12 November, dawned clear (no smoke visible) and windy, which continued all day. I did photograph the Moon after sunset using the D850 DSLR and 600mm lens (handheld, f/8, 1/800sec, ISO 640, cropped):


Tuesday, 13 November, dawned clear, cold (35°F), and still windy. This handheld Moon photo (f/11, 1/500sec, ISO 640, FL 600mm; cropped) was taken during the day (a little before 1600 MST):


The wind died down somewhat about sunset, although clouds began appearing along the western horizon. Decided to open the observatory for a brief session.

Open: Tuesday, 13 November 2018, 1813 MST
Temperature: 57°F
Session: 1303
Conditions: Mostly clear, breezy

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


1818 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Saturn and then Mars, 102X. Seeing was not good. Saturn was especially "fuzzy looking" as it was low in the southwestern sky.

Viewed the Moon, 102X. The view was fairly good although the Moon was "wavering" due to atmospheric turbulence. Earthshine was faintly visible.

I then used the Nikon D850 DSLR with Nikon f/1.4 50mm lens to take these handheld photos of the Moon. This full-frame photo (f/5.6, 1/320sec, ISO 100) shows the scale of the Moon at FL 50mm, with the inset showing a magnified Moon from the same photo:


This photo (f/2.8, 1/10sec, ISO 3200) shows the sky from Mars on the left to the Moon on the right. Some Earthshine is visible on the overexposed Moon.

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Next, I mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope and did some imaging of the Moon. This is a 1/400sec, ISO 400, exposure:

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1855 MST: removed the camera. Viewed the planet Uranus, 102X. Its disk was visible. Then viewed the planet Neptune, 102X. Its small disk was also visible.

1901 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Tuesday, 13 November 2018, 1911 MST
Temperature: 48°F
Session Length: 0h 58m
Conditions: Mostly clear, breezy

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