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iPhone Imaging with 12" LX600 & ETX-125 Observer Telescopes

Posted: 9 March 2019

Cloudy nights continued from Friday, 1 March 2019, to Friday, 8 March, when the sky began clearing earlier than forecast. Although conditions were not ideal I decided to go to the observatory on Friday, 8 March.

Open: Friday, 8 March 2019, 1820 MST
Temperature: 53°F
Session: 1336
Conditions: Partly cloudy, windy

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece
1.25" 26mm eyepiece
1.25" 15mm eyepiece
ETX-125 Observer

iPhone 8 Plus

1827 MST: sunset.

Set up the ETX-125 Observer in polar mode on the observatory patio for some later testing of a recently received afocal adapter.


1840 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed the thin crescent Moon, 102X and 81X.

Mounted the iPhone 8 Plus on the 2" 30mm eyepiece for this afocal 81X image using NightCap Camera (ISO 22, 1/30sec):


Switched to the 1.25" 15mm eyepiece for this iPhone afocal 163X image using NightCap Camera (ISO 125, 1/80sec):


Viewed M42 (the Great Nebula in Orion), 94X and 81X.

1918 MST: ETX-125 Observer ON.

1929 MST: after I completed polar aligning the mount I wanted to view M42 but Orion (and much of the sky) was covered by clouds.

I returned to the 12" telescope and as it was clear to the northwest I viewed the Double Cluster (open star clusters), 81X.

1938 MST: M42 was visible again. Returned to the ETX-125. Viewed M42, 73X, and did some tests with the afocal adapter for my upcoming review.

1948 MST: ETX-125 OFF.

I returned to the 12" telescope.

1956 MST: StarLock ON.

Took this StarLock autoguided iPhone afocal 81X image of the Double Cluster with NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8448, 1/3sec, 10 seconds):


Slewed to M42 and took this StarLock autoguided iPhone afocal 81X image with NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 3200, 1/3sec, 31 seconds):


2010 MST: viewed M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy), low in the northeastern sky, 81X. Some spiral structure was visible.

Although the galaxy was low in the sky, this StarLock autoguided iPhone afocal 81X image with NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8448, 1/3sec, 5 minutes) shows some of the spiral structure:


2030 MST: StarLock OFF.

Ended imaging. Viewed M51, 102X.

2038 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Friday, 8 March 2019, 2050 MST
Temperature: 42°F
Session Length: 2h 30m
Conditions: Mostly clear, breezy

I have created an Astrophotography Showcase Album.

I continue to help out at the Oracle Mountain Vista School with their after-school Model Rocket Program. All the launches have been successful, but we had our first landing failure on Monday, 4 March 2019, due to the nosecone and parachute failing to deploy. Here's a launch that occurred on Monday, 4 March:

Photo courtesy of C. Parfet

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