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Night of Observing with a Very Special Visitor

Posted: 9 September 2021

A few months ago I was contacted by a very special person after he read my autobiography Finding my Way to the Stars. He wanted to visit Cassiopeia Observatory. We had to keep putting off his visit due to the active Monsoon Season, but we finally had a good forecast when he was available to come up to Oracle. So who was this special visitor? Tim Hunter, co-founder of the International Dark-Sky Association!

Open: Wednesday, 8 September 2021, 1800 MST
Temperature: 82°F
Session: 1662
Conditions: Mostly clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
2" 14mm 100° eyepiece
2" 5.5mm 100° eyepiece

iPhone 11 Pro Max

1805 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed Mercury, 102X and 271X.

1822 MST: Tim arrived.

1840 MST: sunset.

While for the sky to get darker, Tim and I talked about a lot of topics. We also viewed Mercury and Venus, 271X. The thin crescent Moon was a nice view, 102X. I took this handheld iPhone 11 Pro Max afocal 102X photo (cropped) using the iOS app NightCap Camera (ISO 32, 1/150sec, 1X lens).


I took this photo of Tim in the observatory.


We then viewed Saturn, 271X. Seeing was not ideal, but it was still a nice view.

As the sky became darker we saw some Earth-orbiting satellites. We watched as the Milky Way become more and more obvious, becoming a very nice view as the sky became fully dark.

After the end of Astronomical Twilight we viewed the following, 102X: NGC6520 (open star cluster) and Barnard 86 (Ink Spot Nebula), M17 (Swan Nebula), M20 (Trifid Nebula), M8 (Lagoon Nebula).

We took a quick look at Jupiter and its four Galilean Moons, 271X.

We then viewed several more Deep Sky Objects, 102X: M11 (Wild Duck Cluster, open cluster), M22 (globular cluster), M31 (Andromeda Galaxy), M15 (globular cluster, 174X), the Double Cluster (open clusters), and M57 (Ring Nebula).

2130 MST: Tim left. It was definitely an honor to have him visit me at my observatory and it was fun sharing some observing time with him. When not observing, we talked about many things.

Before closing the observatory I took a quick look at Saturn, 102X and 443X. Four moons were visible. I then viewed Jupiter, 443X and 102X. All four Galilean Moons were still visible.

2138 MST: LX600 OFF.

2150 MST: took a sky quality reading. The sky was still brighter than normal, but was darker than on previous nights.

Close: Wednesday, 8 September 2021, 2152 MST
Temperature: 78°F
Session Length: 3h 52m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 20.90

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