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Earthshine Visibility, iPhone Galaxies,
Neighbor Lights

Posted: 25 April 2020

Open: Friday, 24 April 2020, 1811 MST
Temperature: 96°F
Session: 1461
Conditions: Clear, breezy

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece
1.25" 15mm eyepiece

iPhone 11 Pro Max

1815 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1817 MST: viewed the thin crescent Moon, 102X and 81X.

Viewed Venus, 81X, 271X, and 271X + Variable Polarizing Filter (VPF). Using the filter reduced the planet's brightness and made the view very nice.

Mounted the iPhone 11 Pro Max on the 2" 9mm 100° eyepiece using the Levenhuk adapter. Took this afocal 271X + VPF image using the iOS app NightCap Camera (ISO 32, 1/300sec, 1X lens).


1843 MST: viewed the Moon, 81X.

1847 MST: viewed the thin crescent Moon, 12x50 binoculars. Began trying to see the Moon using the naked eye.

1853 MST: calm now.

1901 MST: the crescent Moon was faintly visible, naked eye.

190403 MST: sunset (behind the distant mountains).

I began doing observations for Dr. John Barentine's Earthshine Visibility Project. This is a Citizen Science Project that anyone can do, and I encourage everyone to submit observations to John.

192317 MST: crescent Moon with Earthshine faintly visible (bottom) and Venus (top), D850 DSLR, f/4.5, 1/15sec, ISO 400, FL 70mm, handheld.


192442 MST: Moon with Earthshine (faint), D850 DSLR, f/5.6, 1/40sec, ISO 1600, FL 300mm, handheld, cropped.


1928 MST: ended my Earthshine Visibility observations. I submitted my observations.

Back at the 12" telescope. Viewed the crescent Moon, 81X. Took this mounted iPhone afocal 81X image using NightCap Camera (ISO 32, 1/60sec, 1X lens).


1932 MST: viewed the Moon, 12x50 binoculars. Nice view.

1947 MST: I then began preparing to try to observe NEO Asteroid (52768) 1998 OR2. I had imaged it on the previous session. Now I wanted to observe it with my eye. 1951 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Used SkySafari 6 Pro on the iPhone to GOTO the asteroid. The sky was still too bright to observe the Mag. +11.5 asteroid. As Astronomical Twilight ended I was never able to see the asteroid, 81X. That surprised me. The stars that were visible in the eyepiece matched what SkySafari was showing me. I mounted the iPhone on the eyepiece and used the enhanced live view provided by NightCap Camera to try to see any motion of an object. No luck. Perhaps SkySafari 6 Pro was showing this rapidly moving asteroid inaccurately. I will obtain the TLE for the asteroid and use that on the next session.

2050 MST: viewed M3 (globular cluster), 81X and 163X. Mounted the iPhone on the 15mm eyepiece to begin imaging for my Messier Catalog iPhone Astrophotography Album. Took this StarLock autoguided, afocal 163X, image of M3 using NightCap Camera (ISO 12500, 1sec, 1 minute, 1X lens).


I then viewed M5 (globular cluster), 163X, but it was too low in the eastern sky to image. Viewed M63 (Sunflower Galaxy), 81X. Mounted the iPhone on the 30mm eyepiece and began imaging with NightCap Camera (ISO 12500, 1sec, 1 minute, 1X lens). I imaged M63, M101, and M102.

M63 (Sunflower Galaxy)

M101 (Pinwheel Galaxy)

M102 (galaxy)

Slewed to M51 (Whirlpool Galaxy) and did some more tests of an iOS app for my upcoming review.

The bright unshielded horizontally aimed floodlights on the house of the neighbor to the northwest kept coming on very frequently this night. And they stayed on for long periods of time. They really were a Light Nuisance and definitely fit into the category of Light Trespass. And to make matters even worse, once my eyes have become dark-adapted when I'm inside the observatory, if I inadvertently look to the northwest when the floodlights are ON or if they come ON when I'm looking in that direction, I am temporarily blinded by these overly bright unshielded lights. That presents a serious danger to me. I have decided that once the COVID-19 crisis has ended I will contact the local Sheriff's Office and request that they speak with the neighbor about the dangerous Light Trespass from their lights. I would contact the neighbor myself, but past history with this neighbor makes me reluctant to do so. Many years ago I spoke with the neighbor about a wallpack that he had on the side of his house. I requested that he properly shield the light so that it would not shine beyond his property line. I even offered to pay to have the light shielded. My wife was with me during this "discussion" and she thought the neighbor was going to attack me. A few nights later I noticed that the light was being used less frequently. I went to the neighbor's home to thank him. The husband was not home, but I was able to thank his wife. For many years the light was rarely turned on. Then in 2018 the neighbor had installed these bright unshielded floodlights. The lights were on a motion detector but the detector is way too sensitive (or not working properly). In May of 2018 I once again spoke to the neighbor and requested that the lights be aimed downward and shielded so that they did not shine beyond their propertly. I again offered to pay to have the work done. The husband made it very clear (using some four-letter words) that his lights did not shine beyond his property line. I asked if he had ever gone out onto the road and looked. He said he did not need to do that as the lights did not shine beyond his property. During all my visits to the neighbor I did invite them to the observatory to look through the telescope, but they have never taken me up on that offer. The Sheriff's Office will not be able to cite the owner for an Outdoor Lighting Code violation as the County ordinance does not allow for that (the County does allow for citing for Sound Nuisance violations). I am not interested in any legal action against the neighbor; hopefully if the Sheriff's Office will just talk with the neighbor he might do the "right thing".

2143 MST: LX600 OFF.

2152 MST: took a Sky Quality reading. I managed to get the reading when the floodlights were off for a short period of time.

Close: Friday, 24 April 2020, 2155 MST
Temperature: 68°F
Session Length: 3h 44m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.21

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