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Moon, Planets

Posted: 6 October 2019

I did not open the observatory Friday night, 4 October 2019, although it was clear. That night I was a host to a very special visitor to Oracle. In early September I was contacted by the American tourist who was kidnapped in Uganda in April 2019. At the beginning of her ordeal she used the dark night sky that was visible to make a human connection with her kidnappers. That connection saved her life. As a result of that experience she now wants to experience dark skies in a safe environment. She found me through my dark sky protection work. As you can see by watching this short interview made after her release, she is an amazing lady. During her visit to Oracle we enjoyed the night sky at Oracle State Park, our IDA International Dark Sky Park. Although there was a near First Quarter Moon in the sky, she was amazed that she was seeing the Milky Way almost horizon-to-horizon and all the stars that were visible. She even got to see the Andromeda Galaxy with her unaided eyes. It was thrilling to meet her in person and to share our night sky with her. Thanks to IDA and Park staffs for being part of her visit.

On my previous report I mentioned a new home being constructed south of the observatory. I showed the floodlights that will be blocked by the new home. Here's a view with more of the home done:


Open: Saturday, 5 October 2019, 1740 MST
Temperature: 99°F
Session: 1391
Conditions: Clear

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
1.25" 26mm eyepiece
1.25" 3X TeleXtender
1.25" 5.5mm eyepiece
Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector


After opening the dome I took this photo of the new First Quarter Moon with the D850 DSLR (f/8, 1/640sec, ISO 400, FL 600mm):


1750 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1753 MST: viewed the Moon, 102X. Then Saturn, followed by Jupiter, 102X.

1756 MST: viewed Venus, very low in the western sky, 102X. An essentially full disk was visible. Some chromatic dispersion was visible. Switched to 281X with the Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector (ADC). The ADC correction levers were about 100° apart in order to remove the dispersion.

1804 MST: sunset.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + 3X TeleXtender + ADC. This is a single frame from a video (1/200sec, ISO 6400):


Most of the chromatic dispersion has been removed by the ADC in the above image. The next image of Venus shows Venus with no correction applied:


This image of Mercury showing a slight gibbous phase is a single video frame (1/160sec, ISO 6400) with correction applied:


1838 MST: did some Saturn viewing, 281X + ADC. Seeing was not very good, but during brief moments of steady seeing the view was good.

Then viewed the Moon, 102X.

Mounted the D850 at prime focus + focal reducer for this image (1/320sec, ISO 200):


1857 MST: did some lunar observing, 443X. This was almost too much magnification for the seeing conditions.

1904 MST: took this handheld D850 photo (cropped) of the Moon and Saturn (f/8, 1/200sec, ISO 200, FL 600mm):


The inset shows Saturn magnified.

1910 MST: final look at the Moon, 102X.

1912 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Saturday, 5 October 2019, 1925 MST
Temperature: 76°F
Session Length: 1h 45m
Conditions: Clear

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