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iPhone 13 Pro Max Venus, Moon, Moon on Dome

Posted: 12 December 2021

Clouds returned on Monday, 6 December 2021. The clouds made for a pretty sight after sunset with the crescent Moon, Earthshine, and Venus.


With rain in the forecast, I put the Dome Cover ON. The sky cleared Wednesday evening, 8 December, but I did not open the observatory due to an early morning commitment on Thursday. Cloudy skies resumed Thursday night, 9 December. The rain finally arrived after midnight Friday, 10 December, with a total of 0.83" by sunrise. Had a pretty sunset Friday evening.


The sky was clear on Saturday, 11 December.

Open: Saturday, 11 December 2021, 1651 MST
Temperature: 65°F
Session: 1704
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 9mm 100° eyepiece
2" 30mm eyepiece

iPhone 13 Pro Max

1658 MST: Dome Cover OFF.

1701 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

1705 MST: Viewed Venus, 102X and 271X.

Mounted the iPhone 13 Pro Max on the 2" 9mm 100° eyepiece using the Levenhuk adapter. Did a 10 second slo-mo, 240fps, afocal 271X video of Venus. This is a stack of 1835 video frames showing the nice crescent phase.


1718 MST: Sunset.

I then went to higher ground to try to observe Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) on its first appearance in the western sky after sunset. It would be very low in the west and probably not visible in the bright twilight sky. I scanned the sky using 12x50 binoculars, but the comet was never visible. The comet set at 1757 MST. I hope to try again Sunday evening, but the forecast is for some clouds. The forecast for the next few nights is for clouds, with some rain chances.

On my way back to the observatory, I noticed that a distant neighbor had his overly bright, unshielded floodlights ON. I bet his nearby neighbors really love how the lights shine onto their property and into their homes. This is not only Light Pollution, it is also Light Nuisance and Light Trespass.


Kitt Peak National Observatory (65 miles away) is at the left, with the Mayall 4-meter dome visible.

1758 MST: Back inside the observatory.

1807 MST: Did some observing using the 12x50 binoculars. The crescent phase of Venus was visible. The Ring of Saturn was visible. Three of Jupiter's Galilean Moons were visible. The waxing gibbous Moon was pretty.

Viewed the Moon in the 12" telescope, 102X, 271X, and 81X.

Mounted the iPhone 13 Pro Max on a 2" 30mm eyepiece using the Levenhuk adapter with my homemade LiDAR cover added. Took this afocal 81X photo of the Moon using NightCap Camera (ISO 34, 1/4400sec, 1X lens).


Then mounted the iPhone on the 2" 9mm eyepiece. Took this afocal 271X photo using NightCap Camera (ISO 34, 1/120sec, 1X lens). Love those mountain shadows.


I viewed the Moon again at 102X. The Moon's image was nicely projected onto the observatory dome. I took this handheld photo of the observatory using the Camera app (Night Mode, 10 seconds, 1X lens).


1838 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Saturday, 11 December 2021, 1847 MST
Temperature: 50°F
Session Length: 1h 56m
Conditions: Clear

A friend recently sent me a link to this article. I had linked to the article on my ETX Site in 2013, so the interview is several years old. But with the acquisition of Meade Instruments by Orion Telescopes & Binoculars earlier in 2021, a lot of what is discussed in the interview is very relevant today. Check it out. Thanks Richard!

An Interview with John Diebel, Founder of Meade Instruments

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