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Moon and Planets

Posted: 14 September 2021

Saturday, 11 September 2021, was partly cloudy. I attended a Star Party at Oracle State Park, our local IDA International Dark Sky Park. This was the first in-person event at the Park in 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic began. My autobiography Finding my Way to the Stars was available for purchase by the Friends of Oracle State Park and all proceeds support the dark sky activities at the Park. I signed the books too.

Sunday, 12 September, was very hazy. Monday, 13 September, was clear, but still very hazy.

Open: Monday, 13 September 2021, 1817 MST
Temperature: 84°F
Session: 1665
Conditions: Clear, very hazy

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 2X Powermate
1.25" TeleXtender


1828 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed the planets Mercury and Venus, 102X. Seeing was not good.

1834 MST: sunset.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + 2X Powermate + 3X TeleXtender.

This is Venus (1/250sec, ISO 800), cropped from the full-frame image. Poor seeing distorted the image somewhat.


Slewed to the First Quarter Moon and took this image of the craters Theophilus, Cyrillus, and Catharina (1/320sec, ISO 6400).


Removed the Powermate and TeleXtender for this prime focus image of the Moon (1/250sec, ISO 400).


1902 MST: removed the camera and viewed the Moon, 102X.

Viewed Saturn, 102X. Five moons were visible: Titan, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, and Iapetus.

1910 MST: relaxed on the observatory patio bench while waiting for the sky to get a little darker.

1930 MST: back inside the observatory.

Viewed Saturn, 102X and 203X. Seeing not good. Decided to try some imaging anyway.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + 2X Powermate + 3X TeleXtender.

Saturn (1/20sec, ISO 5000) and Jupiter (1/60sec, ISO 2500), both cropped from the full-frame image.


Viewed Jupiter and four moons, 203X and 102X.

Stepped outside of the observatory and took this photo of the moonlit observatory and night sky using a tripod-mounted D850 DSLR with 14mm UWA lens (f/2.8, 4 seconds, ISO 6400).


2012 MST: relaxed on the bench to enjoy the night sky.

2025 MST: back in the observatory. Took a quick look at Saturn 102X.

2027 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Monday, 13 September 2021, 2038 MST
Temperature: 79°F
Session Length: 2h 21m
Conditions: Clear, hazy

After leaving the observatory I set up the D850 DSLR with 14mm UWA for an attempt to do a video recording of the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. I had seen a previous launch from here so I was hopeful that I might capture some of the launch. However, I saw nothing and neither did the camera. The moonlit sky, haze, and low sun angle for this launch kept it hidden.

Comments are welcome using Email. Twitter users can use the button below to tweet this report to their followers. Thanks.

I have posted my review of the Explore Scientific Sun Catcher Solar Filter.

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