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ISS, Asteroid 6 Hebe

Posted: 5 August 2021

After the nice clear night at Oracle State Park the previous night, Wednesday, 4 August 2021, continued with a clear sky as our Monsoon took what is expected to be a short break. The sky was hazy from wildfire smoke, likely from the fires in Canada. I was finally able to get some time in the observatory! My last session in the observatory was 26 June.

Open: Wednesday, 4 August 2021, 1856 MST
Temperature: 90°F
Session: 1652
Conditions: Clear, hazy, smoky

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


SYNCed the obervatory clock to WWV time signals. Then relaxed on the observatory patio bench.

1922 MST: sunset.

1935 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed the planet Venus, 102X. A nice gibbous phase was visible.

Checked the alignment of the two finderscopes. Updated the TLE for the upcoming pass of the International Space Station (ISS). Relaxed again on the bench.

2000 MST: back in the observatory.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope, focused on the star Arcturus, and locked the 12" primary mirror. All was now in readiness for the ISS pass.

2029 MST: ISS pass began. Did a video recording (1080p, 60fps, 1/2000sec, ISO 1600). Here are three frames from the video near mid-pass when the ISS was closest to Cassiopeia Observatory. The core of the station and some solar panels are visible.


Slewed to Antares and tweaked the focus.

2042 MST: Wi-Fi ON.

Used SkySafari 6 Pro to GOTO Asteroid 6 Hebe, Mag. +8.6. I had wanted to photograph the asteroid in July when it was closer and brighter, but the entire month of July had cloudy nights.

2048 MST: StarLock ON.

2050-2150 MST: took three images of Asteroid 6 Hebe, 30 minute intervals, StarLock autoguided, 30 seconds, ISO 2500.

2051 MST: Wi-Fi OFF.

Unfortunately, there was a pointing error and the asteroid was positioned at the far right edge of the camera field-of-view. Fortunately, I still captured the asteroid's motion over the one hour period, as seen in these highly cropped images. Unfortunately, seeing was not good so the stars are not sharp in the images.


2151 MST: StarLock OFF.

While imaging the asteroid, distant lightning flashes were visible.

Removed the camera. Viewed the planets Saturn and Jupiter, 102X.

2200 MST: LX600 OFF.

2210 MST: took a Sky Quality Reading and reported the result to Globe at Night. The sky was brighter than normal due to the smoke.

Close: Wednesday, 4 August 2021, 2215 MST
Temperature: 83°F
Session Length: 3h 19m
Conditions: Clear, smoky, SQM 21.00

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