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iPhone imaging: Moon, Orion

Posted: 12 January 2019

Wednesday, 9 January 2019, was overcast. Cloudy skies continued until Friday, 11 January, which dawned clear, with a mostly clear forecast that night. However, the sky became partly cloudy by mid-day. Fortunately, the sky was mostly clear by sunset.

Open: Friday, 11 January 2019, 1811 MST
Temperature: 59°F
Session: 1324
Conditions: Mostly clear, humid

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
1.25" 26mm eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece
4X Powermate

iPhone 8 Plus

1816 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

The clouds along the western horizon were getting higher in the western sky.

Viewed the Moon, 102X, 94X, and 81X. The 1.25" 26mm eyepiece (94X) did not show the Moon's entire disk in the field-of-view; the other two eyepieces did. This will be good to know for the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse (20 January).

Mounted the iPhone 8 Plus on the 2" 30mm eyepiece using the Levenhuk Smartphone Adapter.

The Moon, afocal 81X, with the iOS app NightCam Camera (ISO 22, 1/1000sec):


I then added the Tele Vue 4X Powermate to the 30mm eyepiece and did some lunar observing, 325X.

Mounted the iPhone on the Levenhuk adapter and took these photos of the Moon, afocal 325X, using NightCap Camera (ISO 22, 1/60sec and 1/125sec, respectively):

Mare Serenitatis and crater Posidonius

Craters Theophilus, Cyrillus, and Catharina

Although the Moon is bright enough to use the iOS Camera app, I like using NightCap Camera for lunar imaging as it provides manual focus and full exposure control. I also use the Apple Earbuds as a remote shutter release; pressing one of the volume buttons on the Earbuds triggers the shutter.

Seeing was getting worse from the increasing clouds.

Orion was rising over the hill to the southeast. I took this handheld iPhone photo (slightly cropped) of Orion using NightCap Camera (ISO 8448, 1/7sec):


I decided to end the session due to the bright Moon, clouds, and poor seeing.

1914 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Friday, 11 January 2019, 1925 MST
Temperature: 50°F
Session Length: 1h 14m
Conditions: Partly cloudy, humid


I recently read the paperbook at the right. The book was included with my Edmund Scientific 3" Newtonian Telescope in 1961. I learned a lot about astronomy and many telescope techniques from the book and these have stuck with me since then. While parts of the book are now out-of-date, rereading it brought back a lot of memories and the excitement of being a new telescope owner in 1961.

And speaking of Edmund telescopes, I have updated the Edmund Scientific Telescopes Memorial Page with the first submission from another owner.

Comments are welcome using Email. Twitter users can use the button below to tweet this report to their followers. Thanks.

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