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Jupiter, Saturn, Moon, Visitor

Posted: 12 September 2019

Thursday, 5 September 2019, dawned clear but clouds arrived mid-day. Friday, 6 September, I gave a well-received talk to some of the Oracle business community about Oracle pursuing a designation as an IDA "International Dark Sky Community" and reforming the Oracle Dark Skies Committee to help accomplish that. Late Saturday night, 7 September, had a brief rain (0.008"), with another brief rain (0.004") on Sunday, 8 September, and another brief rain (0.03") early Monday morning, 9 September. Cloudy skies continued until Wednesday, 11 September.

Open: Wednesday, 11 September 2019, 1843 MST
Temperature: 92°F
Session: 1380
Conditions: Mostly clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
1.25" 15mm eyepiece
1.25" 3X TeleExtender
Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector

iPhone 8 Plus

SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV time signals.

1849 MST: the waxing gibbous Moon was rising over the hill to the southeast.

1852 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1855 MST: viewed Jupiter, 102X. Four moons were visible with Io about to begin a transit (at 1906 MST). Then viewed Jupiter, 163X and 488X. Next added the ZWO Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector

Mounted the iPhone 8 Plus using the Phone Skope adapter and used the Phone Skope remote to take some slo-mo videos (240fps) and still images of Jupiter and Saturn, afocal 488X. Seeing was not ideal for planet imaging.

Jupiter, Camera app (stack of 2565 video frames)

Saturn, NightCap Camera app (ISO 100, 1/3sec)

1927 MST: viewed Saturn, 488X and 163X. Four moons were visible.

1932 MST: slewed the 12" telescope to the Moon, which was still behind a tree.

1942 MST: viewed the Moon, 102X and 81X. A slight terminator was visible.

Took this handheld iPhone afocal 81X photo using NightCap Camera (ISO 22, 1/2500sec):


1948 MST: final look at the Moon, 102X.

1949 MST: LX600 OFF.

As I was closing up the observatory I saw this visitor on the inside of the dome:


Close: Wednesday, 11 September 2019, 2004 MST
Temperature: 72°F
Session Length: 1h 21m
Conditions: Mostly clear

I got up at 0400 MST on Thursday, 12 September, to try to observe several SpaceX Starlink satellites. From 0410 to 0530 MST I saw three naked eye Starlink satellites. The predictions were that many more could be visible but they were too faint to be seen.

Many of you may know Dr. Clay Sherrod from his decades of support to the professional and amateur astronomy community. He recently did a guest interview with The Mac Observer (his second appearance) to discuss an important topic. It will be worth your time to have a listen. If you missed his first interview it is still available.

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