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Messier Catalog Astrophotography with iPhone 11 Pro Max

Posted: 30 October 2019

Monday, 21 October 2019, was clear but I did not open the observatory. I was getting ready to attend the "First Annual David H. Levy Arizona Dark Sky Star Party" at Kartchner Caverns State Park in Arizona, 23-27 October. My wife and I had a great time at the Star Party. I have posted a report. Sunday, 27 October, was very windy and partly cloudy when we returned home. Monday, 28 October, was windy during the day and partly cloudy. The wind died down as sunset approached but there were still clouds in the southern sky. The sky cleared but some wind returned on Tuesday, 29 October. I had a special visitor that evening. I met Chad at the Star Party and he was staying in Arizona for awhile to attend the International Dark-Sky Association Annual General Meeting in November. So I invited him to Cassiopeia Observatory.

Open: Tuesday, 29 October 2019, 1723 MST
Temperature: 74°F
Session: 1400
Conditions: Clear, breezy

Equipment Used:
12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece

iPhone 11 Pro Max

1731 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1734 MST: viewed the thin crescent Moon, 102X.

1736 MST: sunset (time approximate). The crescent Moon was visible to the naked eye.

Crepuscular rays were visible in the western sky. This D850 DSLR photo shows the rays with the crescent Moon at the left.


We then viewed Venus, 102X; Mercury, 102X and 271X; Jupiter, 271X; and Saturn, 271X.

As the sky darkened Chad was definitely enjoying our Arizona night sky.

I began preparing to some more Messier Catalog iPhone 11 Pro Max astrophotography. The breezes had calmed down.

1909 MST: High Precision ON.

Mounted the iPhone on the 2" 30mm eyepiece using the Levenhuk adapter. StarLock ON.

Took the following StarLock autoguided afocal 81X images using the iOS app NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, 1sec, 1 minute exposure, ISO6400 for the open star clusters and ISO12500 for the galaxy and nebula).

M52 (open cluster)

M103 (open cluster)

M34 (open cluster)

M74 (galaxy)

M76 (Little Dumbbell Nebula)

1953 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Ended imaging.

Viewed M76 (Little Dumbbell Nebula), 81X and 102X.

2000 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Tuesday, 29 October 2019, 2008 MST
Temperature: 50°F
Session Length: 2h 45m
Conditions: Clear

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