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Venus on Dome, Supernova 2020jfo,
iPhone Messier Galaxy

Posted: 12 May 2020

On my 7 May 2020 report I mentioned seeing a bobcat near me at the observatory. A couple of minutes later our trail camera photographed the bobcat getting a drink of water.


Friday, 8 May 2020, was cloudy. Sunday morning, 10 May, a brief thunderstorm occurred at Cassiopeia Observatory. The rain (0.22") was the first in over a month. Cloudy nights continued until Monday, 11 May.

Open: Monday, 11 May 2020, 1816 MST
Temperature: 91°F
Session: 1473
Conditions: Clear, breezy

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

iPhone 11 Pro Max

1822 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Venus, 102X and 271X.

Mounted the iPhone 11 Pro Max on the 9mm eyepiece. Took this afocal 271X image of Venus using NightCap Camera (ISO 32, 1/10000sec, 1X lens).


Set up the D850 DSLR on the observatory patio for the later use.


1917 MST: sunset.

1930 MST: calm now.

1945 MST: viewed Venus, 12x50 binoculars. The crescent phase was easily seen in the binoculars.

2000 MST: projected Venus onto the SkyShed POD observatory dome using the 12" telescope and 9mm eyepiece (271X).

2031 MST: Venus on Dome using the D850 DSLR (f/2.8, 10 seconds, ISO 5000, FL 24mm).

Click or tap on image for larger version

The crescent phase of Venus is very obvious, especially in the larger version of the photo.

2038 MST: last look at Venus, 271X and 102X.

2041 MST: High Precision ON.

Viewed M83 (galaxy), 102X and 81X.

2100 MST: viewed the galaxy NGC4303 (M61), 81X. The recently discovered Supernova 2020jfo (about Mag. +14.3) was not visible to the eye.

2102 MST: dome OFF.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus.

2113 MST: StarLock ON.

Imaged NGC4303 (M61), StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400, White Balance 5560K. Compare the image (top) of NGC4303 taken 17 June 2018 with this night's image that shows SN2020jfo.


Mouseover or tap on image
Mouseover or tap on image for pointer to supernova

2131 MST: removed the D850 camera. Returned to M83 (galaxy). Mounted the iPhone on the 30mm eyepiece. Took this StarLock autoguided image of M83 using NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 12500, 1sec, 1 minute, 1X lens) for my iPhone Messier Catalog Album.


2143 MST: StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed NGC4303 (M61), 102X. Using averted vision I might have been able to see SN2020jfo intermittently, but I could not be certain of the observation.

2155 MST: LX600 OFF.

2201 MST: dome ON.

2207 MST: took a Sky Quality reading using the Unihedron SQM-L.

Close: Monday, 11 May 2020, 2211 MST
Temperature: 68°F
Session Length: 3h 55m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.23

I recently read the novel Two on a Tower by Thomas Hardy (first published in 1902). David Levy had mentioned this novel in one of his books. The story involves an amateur astronomer who wants to become a professional astronomer. The story reads like a modern day "soap opera" with many twists and turns in the life of the astronomer. Not everyone will enjoy the story, but I liked it.

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