I finally did it. I packed up a bunch of equipment and drove 5% of the Earth’s circumference to find clear, dark skies. And, it wasn’t really that difficult, even in a mid sized sedan hybrid! Mind you, this wasn’t the sole purpose of the trip, but it was certainly a highlight. A member of the San Diego Astronomy Association kindly provided some GPS coordinates of an abandoned heli-pad “in the middle of nowhere” which made for a wonderful site. A large hill blocked most of the San Diego More >
The thing about the Seattle area and astronomy is that when there is a break in the permaclouds, full moon or not, we take advantage of it by setting up shop. Sadly the last time this happened was about two weeks ago! But luckily that night was a good one for some more Hydrogen Alpha imaging!
Earlier in the day I’d met with a friend at the gym who recently took possession of a beautiful William’s Optics 80mm. (It’s amazing how heavy it is!) While chatting I realized I had mostly gained More >
One of the challenges with new equipment (which I always seem to be getting more of) is learning how to use it well. I’m still working on getting my STL 11002 running smoothly. Sure, I tried a few of those real quick Ha shots and of course the Crab Nebula, but still these things take time. One of the things I hadn’t tried was running it on my Televue NP101is. Given the wonderful nebula this time of year, it seems like it might be a good idea to give it a try. The first few shots were dreary More >
Several months back I picked up an interesting imaging package: The SBIG STL11002M, LRGBHa filters, the AO-L Adaptive Optics, MOAG and Remote Head. Aside from the learning curve for the new software control package (CCDSoft, which is awesomesauce), I had an issue which unfortunately required a repair. And, like any good Law of Murphy, receiving the working camera also means a prolonged spell of bad weather.
I ran a few star tests, played around with things and finally came around to settling More >
Cygnus is home to a plethora of wonderful objects – both for visual observing as well as imaging. Due to my latitude, it goes right overhead and is easily my favorite constellation – even ousting the hunter of the winter sky, Orion. Filled with gajillions (yes that’s a technical term) of stars, this band of our very own Milky Way galaxy is home to countless nebula, both bright and eerily dark.
Some of the most beautiful images come the death of stars. Of course, those deaths such as the recent supernova in Messier 51 are so far away that we’re not going to be able to view their beauty (especially against the backdrop of their galaxy hosts!) However, our very own galaxy, the Milky Way is host to it’s fair share of supernova, and the nebulous remnants they leave behind. One such example is the Veil Nebula.
The Veil Nebula is a fairly large complex which is often broken up into three More >
The Eagle Nebula is wonderful emission nebula, with the apparent image of an ‘eagle’ soaring high in it. This same eagle is where the famous Hubble Pillars of Creation image is. Located in Serpens (7000 light years away), this is generally low on my northern sky, but I was able to pull off a series of 10x 10 min subs that seem to process fairly well.
Special kudos to Drew, who suggested imaging this object last night
With all of the recent excitement around the Royal Wedding for Catherine and William, it seems some far-out gifts are in order. Hundreds of years ago, the kings and queens of the land would provide funding for astronomers, hoping to have the name of the next exciting object named in their honor. Today of course, they mostly beg for funding, as recently seen with the SETI shutdown.
Back on April 23, the last clear sky day we had (though tonight is looking great!), I picked up a few additional More >
Located in the constellation, “Taurus,” the Crab Nebula was first discovered in 1054 A.D by Chinese and Arab astronomers. Messier made this his first catalogue entry, hence the name Messier 1. The name “Crab Nebula” comes from it’s resemblance to a crab.
The Crab Nebula was formed when a star ran out of fuel and blew itself up in a grand explosion called a supernova. The nebula itself are the bits of that star flying through space at nearly 1500km/s. This rate More >
Plagued with one of the worst bouts of “new telescope cloudiness”, it’s been mostly rain for weeks now. Add a nice slice of “can’t view the lunar eclipse tonight because of the clouds”, and one is left with nothing more than memories… or old data to process!
Case in point here is NGC 7635, a beautiful emission nebula about 10,000 light years away (or if you prefer, sixty quadrillion miles. Not a walk in the park!) The “big bright shining star” inside the bubble here is actually responsible More >