Archive for October, 2007

Daytime Venus and Sol

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Planet, Solar, Star, Sun on October 30, 2007 by Andrew

I woke up to a email from Calsky stating that the ISS was going to make a moon transit,so after running some morning errands I set the scope up and waited for the event.The last time I caught a ISS transit I had a matter of seconds to get the shot because of a late arrival home from work.Well,this time I made plans and was ready.Unfortunately,because the transit was to happen when the moon was about to set in the west,it was so washed out from the sun light as to make even the most prominent craters indistinguishable.Oh well,maybe next time?!.

While I went through all of the trouble setting the scope up I decided to take a look at Venus.It stood out quite nicely between the high clouds and blue sky.I had a few onlookers as I focused the planet in the eye piece….mostly construction workers who apparently thought I was nuts for having a telescope out at noon time.One of onlookers,who I am guessing was one of the police officers for the Superior courthouse next door,stopped by inquiring as to what I was doing.”Looking at the planet Venus” I said.Huh?,was his first reaction.He then went on to say he thought telescopes were only for the night sky.I asked him if he would like to take a look at our sister planet.He did and I think he was fairly impressed?!.I also showed him the images of the comet that I has taken last night.Again,I think he was impressed?!.

Below are images of Sol and Venus  that I took at 11:45am.Both images were taken with my Pentax DSLR and 25mm eye piece (Venus with a 2x barlow as well).They  have been slightly sharpened and resized using PS Elements.

Image credit:Andrew

45am

Sol between clouds…..

Sol

Comet 17/Holmes (4 days later)

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, comets, Constellation, Photo, photography, Star on October 30, 2007 by Andrew

I received a email alert from Spaceweather.com stating that the comet halo has gotten even bigger and has been reported to be the size of Jupiter.I’m not sure of the accuracy but,I will say that it is huge with a slight hint of a green/yellow hue through the eye piece.The core is really bright and has noticeably moved since my last observation.Heh,actually,my last observation tricked me.When I first saw the halo,I thought it was due to upper air moisture so I reduced the exposure time.Only after I posted the image did I realize that I had it right the first time.Note to self,trust the images!.

Below is a image that I took this evening at 8:30pm.I would have taken more but,clouds had rolled in.

Image credit:Andrew

October 29,2007

Full Hunters Moon

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Luna, Lunar Craters, Moon, Photo, photography, Solar on October 26, 2007 by Andrew

Under The Moon 

I HAVE no happiness in dreaming of Brycelinde,
Nor Avalon the grass-green hollow, nor Joyous Isle,
Where one found Lancelot crazed and hid him for a while;
Nor Ulad, when Naoise had thrown a sail upon the wind;
Nor lands that seem too dim to be burdens on the heart:
Land-under-Wave, where out of the moon’s light and the sun’s
Seven old sisters wind the threads of the long-lived ones,
Land-of-the-Tower, where Aengus has thrown the gates apart,
And Wood-of-Wonders, where one kills an ox at dawn,
To find it when night falls laid on a golden bier.
Therein are many queens like Branwen and Guinivere;
And Niamh and Laban and Fand, who could change to an otter or fawn,
And the wood-woman, whose lover was changed to a blue-eyed hawk;
And whether I go in my dreams by woodland, or dun, or shore,
Or on the unpeopled waves with kings to pull at the oar,
I hear the harp-string praise them, or hear their mournful talk.

Because of something told under the famished horn
Of the hunter’s moon, that hung between the night and the day,
To dream of women whose beauty was folded in dismay,
Even in an old story, is a burden not to be borne.

W B Yeats (1904).

I just thought the poem above was appropriate!.

Before moving the scope to image Comet 17P/Holmes,I took the time to become moon blind imaging the full Hunters Moon which effectively ruined any dark sky adjustments my eyes had made.Well,not that they were adjusted,since I was able to read the manual settings on my camera without having to use a artificial light source.While I am posting a image of the “Full Hunters moon”,technically it isn’t actually full but,99% illuminated.Eh……..close enough!.I would have taken some images of the real thing but,it has since clouded up and rain is on it’s way.

Image credit:Andrew

Click image to enlarge

Hunters Moon

Comet 17P/Holmes

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, comets, Constellation, Photo, photography, Solar on October 26, 2007 by Andrew

For a while it looked like the cards were stacked against me due to light pollution.Between the street lights and the almost obnoxiously bright full moon I was still able to see the comet with the naked eye.Comet 17P/Holmes has suddenly become the talk of the astronomy community,when within the last 48hours it went from a +17mag object to a +2.6mag object.Authorities are not not quite sure what has caused this sudden burst of energy.Their have been speculations that the sudden out-gassing may be due to a possible core break up or perhaps a collision with a unseen object.This comet is quite small making it tough to see any details.I am sure more details will emerge as time goes on.So if you have the clear skies and want to view this amazing object.Look towards the Northeast after sundown.It is located in the Perseus constellation near the bright star Mirfak.

Right ascension: 3h 52m 34.2s

Declination: +50 14′ 39″

Below is a image that I took at 9:30pm.I had to move the scope to a different location than normal due to a cropping of tree’s.It is a 2 second exposure and a ISO or 200.It was taken with a Pentax ist DS DSLR.Image was enhanced and cropped using PS Elements.

Image Credit: Andrew

Comet 17P/Holmes

Our Moon on Monday night

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Luna, Lunar Craters, Moon, Photo, photography on October 24, 2007 by Andrew

The skies on Monday night were really bad and I questioned myself about why I bothered to make the attempt.Knowing that their was a weather front making it’s way into the area,I chose to set my scope up anyway.The normal set up time for my scope and all the other equipment usually takes about 20-30 minutes not including the scopes cool down time.In case you were wondering why do I want the scope to cool down?.Well,that is easy to answer.The scope has to adjust to the outside temperatures which is known as “thermal equilibrium”.This is to allow the expansion and contraction of the OTA and mirrors,which if ignored will cause unwanted focusing problems and frustration.This cool down can take upto a hour depending on the size of the scope and temperature difference!.Through the course of my observing session,high wispy clouds began to increase until  much of the sky had turned into a thin blanket creating a small halo around the moon.After a couple hours the sky had turned completely overcast which put a end to observing for the night.I did however,get some mediocre images of moons southern hemisphere using a Meade DSI(Deep sky imager).This is the first time I have made the attempt using the DSI and to put it simple…I honestly like the LPI(Lunar planetary imager)better for this application,even though it wasn’t a real fair test for the DSI.If the weather forcast are as good as they predicting for tomorrow night,then I will have the chance to give the DSI another try at the full moon,which in October is also known as the “Hunters moon”.This full moon is going to largest of the year.No,it hasn’t grown in size but,because it will be at it’s closest point for the year at 221,676 miles from earth which is known as perigee.Here is how the FarmerAlmanac describes it;Full Hunter’s Moon – October With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can easily see fox and the animals which have come out to glean.I couldn’t put it much better than that!!!.

Below are 2 of the same images.The bottom image contains the names of some of the larger craters and mare.

Image credit: Andrew

The names…….

crater names

NGC 7009 (Saturn nebula)

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Photo, Planetary nebula on October 21, 2007 by Andrew

What a nice weekend we are having here in NewHampshire. The temps are unseasonably warm and the skies are clear for perhaps a night of observing.I have had a unexpected change in my life which will temporarily give me more time for stargazing 🙂 .

One the few objects that I imaged the other night was NGC 7009 also known as the Saturn nebula.Through the eyepiece,this neb doesn’t offer much in the form of detail due to light pollution but,when I got it centered on the monitor all I can say is WOW!.I could see more detail than I have ever seen before.I can now see why it was named after the sixth planet.

 Located in the constellation Aquarius,NGC 7009 is approximately 2,400 light years distant and appears as a very small, faint and fuzzy patch.According to SEDS ,it has a visual mag of +8.0,which is being rather generous in my opinion.The 11.5+- mag star can be seen in this image which I have never actually seen before in any of my previous images.Actually,my other images kind of look like green footballs?!.

The image below was shot using a 10″ Meade LXD75 , Meade DSI color and 2x barlow.It is a stack of 85 images at 11.5 second exposure each with darks subtracted.Processing was performed using PS Elements where noise was reduced and contrast and brightness was slightly increased.The image was also cropped and resized.

Image credit:Andrew

Saturn Nebula 

M57 (The Ring Nebula)

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Photo, Planetary nebula on October 18, 2007 by Andrew

It isn’t too often that I bring my scope out during the week but,last night I made an exception.The skies were almost crystal clear which is what makes fall my favorite season.Knowing that my observing time would be limited (4am comes early)I quickly set up and was aligned by 6:45pm.My main goal for the night was to get more practice with the DSI and it’s settings.I seemed to have some minor issues the last time out with the new camera and wanted to solve the problems.For all intense purposes,I think I made a lot of forward progress *WHEW!*.Things were were going so well in fact,that I lost track of time and before I knew it,it was almost 11pm.Did I mention that I had to be awake by 4am to ready myself for work?.11pm… and I still had to break the equipment down and of course after everything was indoors I had to take a peek at my handy work from the observing session.This peek lasted for almost a hour and it was well after midnight when I came to my senses at which point I finally went to bed.As you might have guessed,my day seemed to last for what seemed like a week!.

 Below is one of two different objects that I targeted and was thrilled to get to see it on the monitor.It did take a bit of time to get it centered though.Not because it was so small or faint but,because I didn’t use the eye piece with the parafocal ring that I normally use to focus the DSI.So the focus was so out of whack that even the brighter stars in the area of the neb were washed out.Have you ever slapped yourself in the head and say”I could have had a V-8″?….hahahaha,I did!.

Located in the constellation Lyra,M57 is approximately 2000 light years distant and shines at a mag 8.8 .

Image is a stack of 100 images at 11.5 seconds exposure each.Cropped,resized and enhanced using PS Elements.

M57

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