A pair of astronomical visual and imaging spectaculars will be on the plate for millions this July 27th. Mars will be in perihelic opposition and it's closest since 2003. The red planet will be very bright with a magnitude of -2.7 and unusually large apparent size of 24.3 seconds (opposed to magnitude 1.25 and 6 seconds back in February). This same night much of the world's population will simultaneously witness a total lunar eclipse with the moon at apogee, giving observers the longest totality of the century (1 hour 45 minutes). Creative imagers will certainly have an opportunity to capture once in a life time shots.
I recall another "double header" back in March of 1997. The 23rd a partial lunar eclipse was visible by most of North America, it wasn't an extraordinary eclipse by any means, but it did offer another once in a life time imaging chance. That same night comet Hale-Bopp was approaching its closest point to earth and nearing a magnitude of -1.0. It was so bright that it was clearly visible during the twig light hours, and easily seen by anyone taking a casual glance to the sky. Adding to the spectacle that evening, Mars joined the scene just to the north of the eclipsed moon. Unfortunately the pictures I shot with my 35mm SLR that night were destroyed in a flood spring of 2000. (Yes we used film then)
The Versa 108ED refractor and the Tri-pier 360 portable pier are featured in the new products section of the July 2018 issue of astronomy magazine.
Robotic camera mount iPano AllView Pro's MAP lowered $200.00, now priced at $799.00.