Asteroid 12 Victoria
Posted: 11 September 2014
Clouds from an approaching Monsoon 2014 storm system entered our skies on Wednesday, 3 September 2014. No observing. But the good news was that the replacement for my failed Nikon AC Adapter arrived the same day. A monsoon thunderstorm passed near Oracle Thursday evening, 4 September. Lots of lightning and 0.25" rain. Another monsoon storm went through Oracle Monday morning, 8 September, dropping 0.19" of rain in 15 minutes and 0.67" in less than one hour (allowing me to submit my NWS Trained Spotter report; a Flash Flood Warning was put out shortly after I submitted my report). And then another almost 0.5" in 15 minutes, for a storm total of 1.63". After the rain ended mid-afternoon I headed out to the observatory to check on things:
There was just a small amount of water that apparently bounced in beneath the dome on the north side and dripped down on a bay floor. Nothing damaged. By the way, check out the low clouds in the distance in the webcam image above.
The sky finally cleared on Wednesday, 10 September.
Opened: Wednesday, 10 September 2014, 1830 MST
Conditions: Mostly clear, high humidity
1839 MST: sunset. 1840 MST: Quick look at Mars, 83X; no details visible. Then Saturn, 83X and 222X; due to poor seeing and low altitude, the view was not very good. Cassini Division was barely visible at times.
I then connected the new Nikon AC Adapter EH-5b (replacement for one that failed at the end of last month) to the observatory electrical system. It worked fine with my D7000 DSLR. One difference with the EH-5b model is that it has no power-on LED, unlike the original EH-5a model. Also, the cord to the camera seems a little bit shorter than the 5a cord, but that should not be a problem.
1900 MST: resumed Saturn observing, 222X. Seeing still not good. Thin clouds were becoming a factor.
1905 MST: did a GOTO to the star Altair to check AutoStar alignment. The star was placed near the center of the eyepiece (222X) field-of-view. Centered the star and SYNCed the AutoStar in preparation for imaging Asteroid 12 Victoria, which had been at opposition on 8 September 2014. 1921 MST: slewed to the star Markab, near to the location of the asteroid in the constellation of Pegasus. Surprisingly, Asteroid 12 is not in the AutoStar database, although #11 and #13 are. I would use the GC Wi-Fi Adapter and SkySafari Pro 4 on my iPhone 5s to GOTO the asteroid when ready to begin imaging it.
1930 MST: more clouds in sky now. 1938 MST: began setting up for asteroid imaging at prime focus of the 8" LX200-ACF. Mounted the D7000 DSLR using the 2" TPO Adapter. Did a focus test on the star Markab using the Bahtinov Mask. 1948 MST: eastern sky beginning to brighten from rising waning gibbous moon. Powered on the Wi-Fi Adapter and did a GOTO Asteroid 12 Victoria using the iPhone. There were now some clouds in Pegasus.
Did a 30 second, ISO 1600, exposures at 2000, 2030, and 2100 MST. Several times between the exposures clouds covered the asteroid. 2031 MST: the waning gibbous moon rose over the hill to the east of the observatory, increasing the sky brightness. This image is a merge of the three exposures:
Mouseover or tap to see an animated GIF version
2101 MST: slewed to the moon. Removed the D7000 DSLR as the moon's disk was too large to completely image without adding a focal reducer. 2107 MST: took this iPhone 5s handheld afocal photograph using the 24mm UWA eyepiece (83X). This is actually an in-camera HDR image, slightly cropped.
2110 MST: did some quick lunar observing, 83X. Then began closing up. It had been great to be back in the observatory after all the recent cloudy nights.
Closed: Wednesday, 10 September 2014, 2122 MST
I have posted my review of "Celestial Sleuth". You will like this book.
I represented the Oracle Dark Skies Committee at the first GLOW event of 2014 at Triangle L Ranch on Saturday, 6 September. I have posted a few photos on the ODSC web site.
Comments are welcome using Email. If you are on Twitter you can use the button below to tweet this report to your followers. Thanks.
Copyright ©2014 Michael L. Weasner / firstname.lastname@example.org
URL = http://www.weasner.com/co/Reports/2014/09/11/index.html