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Jupiter, Saturn, ISS,
Barnard's Star 2013-2019

Posted: 18 September 2019

Clouds returned Thursday afternoon, 12 September 2019.

I don't just take photos of snakes, spiders, and predators. This Lesser Gold Finch was outside my window Thursday afternoon:


Monday afternoon, 16 September, there were some Monsoon Season thunderstorms with lots of lightning and thunder. The sky at sunset looked like fire:


Although the storms lasted for several hours, we received only 0.2" rain here. The sky cleared on Tuesday, 17 September.

Open: Tuesday, 17 September 2019, 1816 MST
Temperature: 92°F
Session: 1381
Conditions: Mostly clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 2X Powermate
Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector
Focal Reducer


SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV time signals.

1827 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Jupiter, 102X. The four Galilean Moons were visible.

I then updated the TLE for the International Space Station (ISS) pass this night.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + 2X Powermate + Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector (ADC). At the suggestion of a friend I wanted to do some tests of the slo-mo video recording with the D850. I set the video recording mode to 1080p, 24fps, 5X slo-mo. Here are stacks of the video frames for Jupiter and Saturn:

Jupiter (1158 frames, 1/320sec, ISO 2500)

Saturn (1284 frames, 1/125sec, ISO 4000)

Thanks for the tip Fred.

1854 MST: began preparing for the ISS pass. Removed the ADC and Powermate. Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope. This pass would be low in the southern sky, hence the ISS would be a long ways away and small in the telescope. I wanted to test slo-mo video recording for the ISS. I focused on Saturn, locked the primary mirror, and tweaked the alignments of the two finderscopes. During the ISS pass I did a video recording of 1080p, 24fps, 5X slo-mo, at 1/2000sec, ISO 5000. As it turned out using ISO 5000 was too much and it overexposed the space station. But the solar panels are visible in this frame from the video:


Next, I mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer for imaging of Barnard's Star. This star has a large proper motion across the sky. I SYNCed the AutoStar on the star Altair, focused on the star, and locked the mirror. 1939 MST: I was ready to image but waited until the end of Astronomical Twilight (1951 MST) before starting to image.

1944 MST: Stella Wi-Fi adapter ON. Used SkySafari 6 Pro on the iPhone 8 Plus to GOTO Barnard's Star.

1946 MST: StarLock ON.

1951 MST: Barnard's Star, prime focus + focal reducer, StarLock autoguided, 30 seconds, ISO 6400, White Balance 4550K:


For comparison, this image was taken 10 June 2013 using the 8" LX200-ACF that was in the observatory then and a D7000 DSLR camera, 30 seconds, ISO 6400:


The movement of Barnard's Star (arrowed) is obvious over the 5 year period. (I tried to stack the two images but the image scale and rotation were sufficiently different with the different telescopes and cameras that I was not successful.)

1957 MST: High Precision ON.

Slewed to NGC7305 (faint galaxy) to image Quasar CTA 102 (last imaged 25 January 2017). Unfortunately, it was currently too low in the eastern sky and seeing was not good enough for a long exposure. As the waning gibbous Moon would be rising soon I decided to defer imaging the Quasar until another session.

2005 MST: Wi-Fi OFF, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

2015 MST: I then used 12x50 binoculars to view the following: Double Cluster (open star clusters), M31/M32/M110 (galaxies), M33 (Triangulum Galaxy), M8 (Lagoon Nebula), M11 (Wild Duck Cluster, open star cluster), Saturn, and Jupiter. All were nice views.

2024 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Tuesday, 17 September 2019, 2035 MST
Temperature: 75°F
Session Length: 2h 19m
Conditions: Clear

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