Mercury, Owl, Jupiter, Saturn
Posted: 28 June 2019
Tuesday, 25 June 2019, was a day of many rocket launchings at Oracle's Mountain Vista School. Here's a video courtesy of one of the students:
Click or tap on image for short video
The wind came up in the afternoon and clouds appeared. I did not open the observatory that night.
Wind and clouds continued on Wednesday, 26 June. I did my last Summer School Model Rocket Class at Oracle's Mountain Vista School on Wednesday. The students watched a video of Monday's SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch and Landings and we discussed the relevancy of the Falcon rockets to the ones they built and launched. Thursday, 27 June, dawned clear but hazy with a clear sky forecast for the night. As this could be the last clear night for awhile with storms in the forecasts, I was happy to be able to open the observatory.
Open: Thursday, 27 June 2019, 1900 MST
Conditions: Clear, hazy
1916 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.
1918 MST: viewed the planet Mercury, 102X and 406X. Nice crescent.
Took this handheld iPhone 8 Plus afocal 406X image using NightCap Camera (ISO 22, 1/100sec):
1930 MST: viewed the planet Jupiter, behind a tree, 102X. No details visible.
1938 MST: sunset.
1939 MST: better view of Jupiter now, 102X. Three moons visible. Both the North Equatorial Belt and the South Equatorial Belt were nicely visible.
1943 MST: all four Galilean Moons were now visible. The transit of Io had ended a few minutes previously, but its shadow was still visible on the planet's disk near the limb.
1958 MST: an owl landed at the top of a tree near the observatory. I managed to get this photo (highly cropped):
2008 MST: prepared the D850 DSLR for prime focus Deep Sky Object (DSO) imaging.
2037 MST: saw a nice meteor moving east above the constellation of Scorpius.
2050 MST: slewed to the star Spica, mounted the D850 DSLR at prime focus, attached the Bahtinov Mask, focused, locked the 12" mirror, and SYNCed the AutoStar on Spica.
2107 MST: Kissing Bug #1 terminated.
Some clouds had appeared in the southern sky.
Slewed to Quasar 3C273.
2113 MST: StarLock ON.
Began imaging the Quasar. Seeing was not good enough causing erratic StarLock autoguiding. After giving up imaging the Quasar I noticed that I had inadvertently left the Bahtinov Mask attached. Oops. However, that would not been a factor in the erratic autoguiding. Removed the Mask. I then tried imaging the galaxy NGC3486 for my Extragalactic Supernova Project but the poor seeing did not allow for any good exposures. Gave up DSO imaging for this session. 2145 MST: StarLock OFF.
Slewed to Jupiter and took this prime focus image (cropped) showing the four moons (1/100sec, ISO 100):
Then took this prime focus image (full frame) of Jupiter (1/30sec, ISO 640), White Balance 5000K. The inset shows a magnified view.
Added the 4X Powermate for this (full frame) image of Jupiter (1/30sec, ISO 640, White Balance Auto). The inset shows a magnified view.
Slewed to Saturn, low in the southeastern sky, and took this image (full frame) of the planet, prime focus + 4X Powermate (1/50sec, ISO 3200, White Balance Auto).
2219 MST: ended imaging.
2229 MST: viewed Saturn, 102X and 406X. It was still too low in the sky for good viewing. Then viewed Jupiter, 406X and 102X. Nice details were visible. The portion of the South Equatorial Belt that was visible was very thin.
2236 MST: LX600 OFF.
A total of four Kissing Bugs were terminated this night.
Close: Thursday, 27 June 2019, 2247 MST
Session Length: 3h 47m|
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