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Bobcat, Rattlesnake,
Asteroids Scottkardel & Levy

Posted: 10 October 2021

Saturday, 2 October 2021, dawned clear but clouds began appearing mid-morning. Monday morning, 4 October, I put the Dome Cover on the observatory as rain was in the forecast. That night there was a brief rainshower (0.01"). Tuesday afternoon, 5 October, had a brief thundershower (0.15"). Cloudy nights continued until Saturday, 9 October.

As I walked down the path to the observatory about sunset I saw this bobcat just off the path.


I then took a few more steps towards the observatory and saw this rattlesnake barely visible just off the path.


Always nice to have visitors come to the observatory!

Open: Saturday, 9 October 2021, 1801 MST
Temperature: 80°F
Session: 1674
Conditions: Mostly clear

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

iPhone 11 Pro Max

1806 MST: Dome Cover OFF.

1810 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed the planet Venus, about a half-phase, 102X.

Viewed the Moon, 102X.

Took this handheld afocal 102X photo of the Moon with the iPhone 11 Pro Max using the iOS app NightCap Camera (ISO 32, 1/150sec, 1X lens).


1828 MST: viewed the planet Saturn and 2 moons, then the planet Jupiter and 4 moons, 102X.

1830 MST: relaxed on the observatory patio bench for awhile.

1848 MST: took this handheld D850 DSLR photo (f/2.8, 1/10sec, ISO 2500, FL 70mm) of the crescent Moon in the constellation of Scorpius. Earthshine, Venus, and some stars are visible.

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1904 MST: back inside the observatory. The rattlesnake was gone.

I SYNCed the observatory clock and the D850 DSLR camera clock.

1909 MST: viewed the planet Neptune, 102X.

1918 MST: took this handheld D850 DSLR photo (f/2.8, 1 second, ISO 6400, FL 24mm) of the sky and observatory. The Moon (overexposed) and the planet Venus are visible, as is some stars. The Milky Way is faintly visible running vertical just left of the observatory.


1922 MST: dome OFF.

Prepared the D850 DSLR for imaging. My targets for the night were two asteroids named for people I know: Asteroid 227310 Scottkardel (named for Scott Kardel), Mag. +19.9, and Asteroid 3673 Levy (named for David H. Levy), Mag. +14.5. I was not certain I would get Asteroid Scottkardel due to its faintness. My previous faintest object was Asteroid 117736 Sherrod, named for friend Clay Sherrod, at Mag. +19.2.

I then began waiting for the Moon to get lower in the sky while hoping the clouds would not increase.

2002 MST: mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + focal reducer, focused on the star Algenib (Gamma Pegasus), and locked the 12" telescope mirror.

2006 MST: Wi-Fi ON.

Used SkySafari 6 Pro on my iPhone to GOTO Asteroid Scottkardel.

2009 MST: StarLock ON.

2010 MST and 2110 MST: imaged Asteroid Scottkardel, StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400. The animation shows (very faintly) the movement of the asteroid during the one hour interval.


I now have a new photographic limiting Magnitude of +19.9. Wow!

Used SkySafari 6 Pro to GOTO Asteroid Levy.

2119 MST: Wi-Fi OFF.

2120 MST and 2220 MST: imaged Asteroid Levy, StarLock autoguided, 5 minutes, ISO 6400. The animation shows the movement of the asteroid during the one hour interval.


2225 MST: StarLock OFF.

It is always nice to photograph asteroids named for people I know. As I have mentioned in the past, I fell in love with asteroids as an undergraduate astrophysics student at Indiana University. In 1966, as a freshman, I worked on the IU Asteroid Program. I was on the Program for four years and even worked there full-time during the summer after graduation in 1970. I was one of several students who would measure star and asteroid positions on 8x10 inch photographic glass plates using the Gaertner Measuring Engine.


2233 MST: viewed the planet Uranus, 102X.

2234 MST: LX600 OFF.

2240 MST: dome ON.

2243 MST: took a Sky Quality reading.

Close: Saturday, 9 October 2021, 2247 MST
Temperature: 55°F
Session Length: 4h 46m
Conditions: Clear, SQM 21.04


Finding my Way to the Stars is more than just a chronicle of my life in this Universe. I wrote it to be a guide for readers, regardless of whether they are just starting out on their journey through the Universe, are trying to decide among the multiple paths their journey might take, or as justification that they did indeed take the right paths like I did. See my autobiography web page for details.

Astronomy Magazine has published my article "Astrophotography with your smartphone" in its November 2021 issue. You can find it on some local magazine stands if you are not a subscriber.

Tuesday afternoon, 6 October, I was a guest on the Explore Alliance Live show "First Light Chronicles" to talk about a Light Pollution success story.


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