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iPhone Moon, Comet NEOWISE

Posted: 31 July 2020

Open: Thursday, 30 July 2020, 1916 MST
Temperature: 107°F
Session: 1504
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 14mm 100° eyepiece
2" 5.5mm 100° eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece

iPhone 11 Pro Max

1927 MST: sunset.

Relaxed on the observatory patio bench.

2001 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Did some lunar observing, 102X, 443X, and 174X.

This is a handheld iPhone 11 Pro Max afocal 102X photo of the waxing gibbous Moon taken with NightCap Camera (ISO 32, 1/900sec, 1X lens).


Handheld iPhone afocal 174X photos of the Moon, NightCap Camera (ISO 32, various shutter speeds, 1X lens).


2027 MST: viewed Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, 12x50 binoculars. A faint tail was visible in the binculars. Had it not been for the bright moonlit sky the comet would still be naked eye visible.

Then viewed Comet NEOWISE, 174X and 81X. The tail was faintly visible.

Mounted the iPhone on the 30mm eyepiece using the Levenhuk Adapter. This image taken with NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8000, 15 seconds, 1X lens) shows the comet's coma.


Viewed Jupiter and three moons, 83X, 174X, 443X. Seeing was not good enough for imaging.

Viewed Saturn and 4 moons, 443X and 174X.

2100 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Thursday, 30 July 2020, 2108 MST
Temperature: 89°F
Session Length: 1h 52m
Conditions: Clear, breezy

On Thursday, 30 July, I announced at the International Dark-Sky Association Board of Directors meeting that I had resigned from the IDA "Dark Sky Places Committee". I had been a member of the Committee since 2015 and was its Chairman 2017-2020. The reason that I reluctantly submitted my resignation is that I could no longer split my time and energy between the important work of the Committee to protect the Night Sky and my role as the "point person" for Pinal County, Arizona, in working with the United States Congress to correct flawed Federal legislation that has been putting lives here at risk and harming local businesses for many years. I began working this issue in 2013 with our Representatives to Congress. Unfortunately, Congress has failed to take action even though everyone agrees that the legislation is flawed, unfair, and dangerous. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that what I had been saying for years was true. And then in June 2020 the Bighorn Fire became a serious threat to southern Pinal County. After years of frequent good communications with our elected Representative, after the Bighorn Fire dramatically demonstrated how dangerous the legislation is, Congress went silent and has refused to discuss the issue any further. Consequently, it is now necessary as the "point person" that I pursue new approaches to get Congress to correct the Federal Law they created years ago. The change needed is challenging for many reasons, but all I ever get from Congress is excuses as to why they can not act. Pursuing these new approaches is going to be demanding on my time and energy, but protecting lives and businesses here is worth the effort.

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