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Mars Occultation Dry Run

Posted: 1 December 2022

Open: Wednesday, 30 November 2022, 1816 MST
Temperature: 65°F
Session: 1808
Conditions: Clear

12" f/8 LX600 w/StarLock
2" 24mm UWA eyepiece
2" 4X Powermate


The weather forecasts indicated that this could be the last clear night until Wednesday, 7 December 2022, which is the night of the occultation of Mars. So I decided to do a dry run of the occultation to determine possible exposure settings to use during the occultation.

1824 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.

Viewed the Moon, 102X. Viewed Saturn, 102X. Viewed Jupiter, 102X.

Mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus of the 12" telescope.

Moon (1/250sec, ISO 200)

I then mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus + 4X Powermate. For the Mars occultation I plan to take a 1080p, 60 fps, video recording. As a test, I took this video (1/250sec, ISO 2500, 6 seconds).

Click video to play

Next, I did prime focus + 4X Powermate still and video recordings of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. The videos were stacked using Lynkeos on the Macintosh.

Saturn (1/60sec, ISO 6400)

Saturn (1/60sec, ISO 5000, 1162 frames stacked)

Jupiter (1/160sec, ISO 2500)

Jupiter (1/160sec, ISO 2500, 1094 frames stacked)

Mars (1/250sec, ISO 2500)

Mars (1/250sec, ISO 2500, 1046 frames stacked)

Mars was low in the eastern sky and in approximately the same location it will be for next week's occultation. So the video tests were appropriate. This is a video (1/250sec, ISO 2500, 5 seconds) to show how Mars will appear before and after the occultation. The same scale is used as for the Moon video above.

Click video to play

Lastly, I viewed Mars, 406X and 102X.

1953 MST: LX600 OFF.

Close: Wednesday, 30 November 2022, 2003 MST
Temperature: 54°F
Session Length: 1h 47m
Conditions: Clear

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