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StarPro AZ 102mm Refractor Double Cluster, Pleiades

Posted: 24 February 2019

Wednesday, 20 February 2019, began with a clear sky. However, clouds from an approaching strong winter storm system arrived mid-afternoon, several hours earlier than forecast. Rain began Thursday afternoon, 21 February, and continued into the night with a total of 0.36" for the day. Snow began overnight and continued on Friday, 22 February, with an accumulation of about 6" by mid-day.


The sky cleared on Saturday, 23 February. I took these photos Saturday morning. (Click or tap on images for larger versions.)

Cassiopeia Observatory (left), distant snow covered mountains, and the Moon (right)

Kitt Peak National Observatory (65 miles away)

Distant snow covered mountains

With a forecast of a clear sky for the night, I went to the observatory Saturday afternoon to clear the snow from the snow. However, there was so much snow on the dome, PZT, and the observatory patio that I did not bother trying to clear the snow off. Instead of opening the observatory Saturday night I decided I would go to my alternative plan: use the Meade StarPro AZ 102mm Refractor from the house patio (where the snow had melted).


Setup: Saturday, 23 February 2019, 1900 MST
Temperature: 36°F
Session: 1333
Conditions: Clear

Equipment Used:
StarPro AZ 102mm Refractor
1.25" 26mm eyepiece
1.25" 6.3mm eyepiece

iPhone 8 Plus

Set up the StarPro AZ 102mm Refractor:


Viewed the planet Mercury, shining brightly in the western sky, 25X and 105X. The planet's near half-phase was visible at 105X.

Viewed the Double Cluster (open star clusters), 25X.

I mounted the iPhone 8 Plus on the 26mm eyepiece using the included Meade Smartphone Adapter. Took this afocal 25X photo of the Double Cluster using the iOS app NightCap Camera (Light Boost, ISO 8448, 1/3sec):


I then removed the iPhone, slewed the telescope to the Pleiades (Messier 45), and viewed it, 25X.

Mounted the iPhone again and took this afocal 25X photo of the Pleiades using NightCap Camera (Light Boost, ISO 8448, 1/3sec):


Removed the iPhone, slewed to the Great Nebula in Orion (Messier 42), and viewed it, 25X.

By this point I was getting cold so ended this fun session with the StarPro AZ 102mm Refractor.

Finished: Saturday, 23 February 2019, 1943 MST
Temperature: 35°F
Session Length: 0h 43m
Conditions: Clear

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