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Short Session with Planet Mercury

Posted: 20 June 2019

Wednesday, 19 June 2019, I gave an introductory rocket class at the Oracle Mountain Vista School for their Summer School Model Rocket Program. This was an all-day event for 5 grade levels. The students will be building rockets for the next two days with launches next week. This is a follow-on program to what I did at the school during the 2018-19 academic year.

Open: Wednesday, 19 June 2019, 1906 MST
Temperature: 91°F
Session: 1365
Conditions: Clear

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


1922 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging.

Slewed to the planet Mercury but it was not yet visible in the bright western sky.

1932 MST: Mercury was not visible in the finderscope but I did see it in the 12" telescope, 102X. Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + 4X Powermate.

1937 MST: sunset. Saw the "green flash".

Took this cropped photo (black-and-white) of the planet Mercury, prime focus + 4X Powermate, 1/125sec, ISO 1600:


The near half-phase shows slightly distorted to the planet's low altitude in the sky.

1944 MST: ended imaging.

1948 MST: viewed Mercury, 406X. The view was surprisingly good at times.

Smoke from the Woodbury Fire (about an hour north of Oracle) was visible along the northern horizon. The fire was over 44,000 acres and 21% contained.

1957 MST: decided to end the session as I had a long day at the local school and would have another long day on Thursday.

1958 MST: final look at Mercury, 102X.

1959 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Wednesday, 19 June 2019, 2013 MST
Temperature: 81°F
Session Length: 1h 07m
Conditions: Clear

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