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Neighbor Lights;
iPhone Messier Galaxies, M87 Jet!

Posted: 16 April 2020

Open: Wednesday, 15 April 2020, 1824 MST
Temperature: 81°F
Session: 1456
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece

iPhone 11 Pro Max

1832 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X

I then relaxed on the observatory patio bench to enjoy the sights and sounds of the great outdoors as sunset approached.

1856 MST: sunset.

This is a D850 DSLR fisheye lens photo from the bench.


1906 MST: took a quick look at Venus, 102X, then returned to the bench.

1923 MST: back in the observatory.

1925 MST: High Precision ON.

Slewed to M87 (galaxy) but it was not yet visible against the twilight sky. Astronomical Twilight would not end until 2020 MST.

1939 MST: M87 now faintly visible, 81X.

I've previously mentioned a neighbor's greenhouse lighting that shines into the observatory. The neighbor had said he would try to address it, but nothing has changed yet.


I hope he can get it done in time for International Dark Sky Week, 19-26 April.

Mounted the iPhone 11 Pro Max on the 2" 30mm eyepiece using the Levenhuk adapter to image some more Messier Catalog galaxies using the NightCam Camera app (ISO 12500, 1sec, 1 minute exposure, 1X lens), StarLock autoguided, afocal 81X.

2020 MST: StarLock ON.







I did some extra post-processing of the M87 galaxy image and discovered that the iPhone had captured the jet from the galaxy's black hole! It is at 11 o'clock in this image.


Absolutely incredible!!!

I then did some more tests of the iOS app SpiralCam for my upcoming review.

2102 MST: StarLock OFF.

Viewed M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy), 81X and 102X. The view was one of the best I've ever had. Spiral arm structure was clearly visible.

2107 MST: LX600 OFF.

I then stepped outside of the observatory to take a Sky Quality reading to submit to Globe at Night. But just as I was ready to take the measurement using the Unihedron SQM meter, the bright unshielded lights from another neighbor's house came on. These lights are on a motion sensor but seem to come on when small animals walk by.


Everyone should take advantage of International Dark Sky Week to turn off or shield their outdoor lighting and go outside to enjoy seeing the stars. It is always relaxing to make this connection to the Universe and it is especially very therapeutic right now in this time of the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, I doubt that this neighbor will do that; they would not even admit that the lights were shining beyond their property line when I told them about it.

Close: Wednesday, 15 April 2020, 2125 MST
Temperature: 56°F
Session Length: 3h 01m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.38

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