Archive for November, 2007

M31 The Andromeda Galaxy (DSI version)

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Galaxy, Photo, photography, Space on November 30, 2007 by Andrew

I haven’t had my scope out in what seems like a long time.Their have been a lot of clouds,wind and rain lately.I have also started a temporary job working for a shipping company that causes me to wakeup REALLY early.I am talking about having to wakeup up as early as 1:30am-2:30am,so any desire to bring the scope out has been squashed.Yes, it gets dark early but,I also need to get at least 5-6 hours of sleep to be functional the next day.This temp job only last for 90 days (Christmas rush) but,at the same time I am trying to turn this into a permanent job.

I had made plans on maybe bringing my scope out this weekend but,once again Mother nature has other ideas and has decided to throw wind,cold and a potential Nor’easter by Sunday evening.Ayuh,I hate snow! 😦 .

Since I haven’t had the scope out to see Comet17/P Holmes for almost 2 weeks or any other night sky wonders.I have decided to dip into my 2007 Summer/Fall image archives for some yet to be posted images.One of the images that I have been sitting on is a first ever Meade DSI shot of the Andromeda Galaxy that I took almost 2 months ago.If my memory is right,it is a stack of 25 images @ 20 seconds per exposure each.The skies were a lot warmer (perhaps 45 degrees) with calm winds and hazy skies.The image was processed with PS Elements and Registax4.Contrast was boosted and noise reduced.The star color(s) were enhanced and the image size was reduced,no cropping.One thing that I have noticed is that my DSI really gives close up shots of a object.The image below reflects what I mean!.


Andromeda with the DSI

Lunar impacts of the past

Posted in asteroid impacts, astronomy, astrophotography, Luna, Lunar Craters, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star on November 25, 2007 by Andrew

I hope all of you have had a nice holiday and weekend.I know I sure did!.It was nice to go home and visit with my family.The meal was great as always and as usual….I over ate 🙂 !.My mom was kind enough to provide me with a nice care package full of Turkey and all of the trimmings.Like the father in the movie “A Christmas story”,I am a certified turkeyholic heh!.

We now continue our journey to the southern limb of the moon.As the late Gene Shoemaker once stated “if you want to see what a very fresh big impact crater looks like when it’s first formed….you look at the moon!”.The moon really is a slate that nobody has been erasing.Most of the impacts craters that can be seen formed many millions of years ago and like Gene Shoemaker,I myself would like to see a large impact in my lifetime!.NOTE* As long as the Earths inhabitants were unaffectedly!.One amazing fact about lunar craters or at least the larger ones is that they can range in size from a few miles across like crater Pickering to many MANY hundreds of miles across like Mare Orientale.Actually,Mare Orientale is about 600 miles across and the formation has a distinctive bulls-eye appearance.Unfortunately,this formation is seldom seen from Earth and then it is only under rare opportunities does this crater reveal it’s self!.I will have to check this but,I believe we might have a chance to see it in February for a very short time?!.If I am right be sure to get you binoculars and scopes in the ready position!.Lets all do a clear sky dance on that night!!!!.

Below is a shot of the southern limb with the famous crater Tycho just out of the image.These craters are are located about 185 miles to the Northeast of Tycho.

Lunar scar known as the Vallis Alpes

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Luna, Lunar Craters, Moon, Photo, photography, Solar, Space on November 21, 2007 by Andrew

We received our first measurable snow fall this morning which made for interesting travel.I guess it is good to get the first snow fall out of the way travel wise.Now the locals will assume a more careful and considerate driving mode!.Their were a few fender benders but,that is to be expected.We didn’t get much though.I think we only get 3 ” but that was enough to turn the roads slick and greasy.UGH……I hate snow!.

Continuing on with my moon expedition from the last post…..

We have now arrived at the Vallis Alpes.Don’t let the name fool you,Vallis Alpes is Latin for “Alpine valley”,so any thought of skiing is out of the question!.Besides,I have heard that the accommodations are terrible! 🙂 .

Located on the Northern limb,the Vallis Alpes is a valley that stretches east-northeast from the Mare Imbrium basin to the edge of Mare Frigoris or approximately 172 miles due west of crater Aristotles.Note* That due west means, if you were standing on the moon!.The Vallis Alpes is  103+- miles long and is about 6.2 miles at it’s widest point.The valley floor is a lava flooded plain that is divided by a Rille.Precise formation mechanisms of rilles have yet to be determined. It is likely that different types formed by different processes. Common features shared by lunar rilles and similar structures on other bodies suggest that common causative mechanisms operate widely in the solar system. Leading theories include lava channels, collapsed lava tubes, near-surface dike intrusion, subsidence of lava-covered basin and crater floors, and tectonic extension.

Our next stop might require the use of the LUNARROVER for some possible off roading!.

Info credit: WIKIPEDIA

Image: Andrew

Vallis Alpes

Apollo15 landing site

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Luna, Lunar Craters, Moon, Photo, photography, Solar, Space on November 18, 2007 by Andrew

I had a decent night for observing and concentrated on taking some images of Luna.The moon never fails to impress me everytime I set my eyes on it.Their are so many different features to see that some of the more historical sites are often missed.

Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the Apollo program and the fourth mission to land on the moon. It was the first of what were termed J missions — long duration stays on the moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous missions.

Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot Jim Erwin spent three days on the Moon and a total of 18½ hours outside the spacecraft  The mission was the first not to land in a Lunar Mare, instead landing near Hadley Rille in an area of the Mare Imbrium called Palus Putredinus (Marsh of Decay). The crew explored the area using the first Lunar rover allowing them to travel much further from the LM (Lunar Module)lander than had previously been possible. They collected a total of 77 kg (170 Earth pounds) of lunar surface material.

At the same time Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden orbited the Moon, using a Scientific Instrument Module (SIM) to study the lunar surface and environment in great detail using a panoramic camera, gamma ray spectrometer, mapping camera, laser altimeter, mass spectrometer, and lunar sub-satellite that was launched at the end of the mission.

Info credit:WIKIPEDIA

Images: Me!

NGC 7662 (Blue snowball nebula)

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Photo, photography, Planetary nebula, Space on November 17, 2007 by Andrew

As I mentioned in the last post,one of the objects that I observed and imaged was the Blue Snowball nebula.This was quite a tough neb to see let alone image.At the time that I took the shot,the neb was almost directly above.Despite the lousy seeing and transparency,I looked for it anyway.After spending 5-10 minutes searching (and almost giving up),I finally detected a very tiny fuzzy speck that didn’t compare with the other sharp stars in the area.Obviously it was just a super tiny gray smudge due to how small it is but,don’t let the size of it in the eye piece fool you,it is more than 2 light years across.This puny neb can be found in the constellation Andromeda and is almost due west of the big galaxy.At 4,000 light years this nebula shines at a +9.2 visual mag.According to SKYHOUND this neb can be seen with any telescope under any sky.Hmmmm…..any telescope….any sky?.Well,perhaps under dark skies but,under moderately light polluted and hazy skies it is a tough one to find even with a 10″ scope!.I think I was lucky just to find it.

Once I did find it ,I zeroed in on it with the Meade DSI.Below is a better than expected shot that I took.It is a stack of 40 images at 20 seconds per exposure.No filters were used….I don’t own a neb filter and am hoping Santa will bring me one for Christmas 🙂 !. The image was processed with PS Elements and Astronomy tools for Elements was also used.The image was color,contrast enhanced,noise reduced,cropped and resized.


Lets have a Snowball fight!!!


Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Planet, Solar, Space on November 15, 2007 by Andrew

I’ve decided to give imaging Comet17P/Holmes a break and focus on the other wonders in our night sky.This is not to say I didn’t try for a shot but,for the fact that the images that I did take were pretty bad!.The moment I set the scope up it seemed that the skies turned on me and became very milky making Comet Holmes dull and unappealing.Again,I did take some images but am unhappy with them!.I then set my sights on other objects such as the Snowball nebula which I will save for a later post.One of the objects that I did give a shot at was Mars.All went well except for the fact that since my scope is a 10″ reflector,I can never count on the focus tube being oriented correctly.I always end up either bent in a position that is rather uncomfortable or standing tiptoed on a tiny unused plastic stool,trying desperately not to lose my balance and bump the OTA out of alignment.Imaging Mars is quite a feat of gymnastics since it rises in the east and 9X out of 10 the focus tube is pointing straight up.This is when I stand on the plastic stool trying to maintain my balance 🙂 .

The image below is the latest effort in my quest at imaging planets.For some reason,I just can’t get a good quality of shot of these bodies.I have heard that it is because my scope is considered fast at f/4.I just dunno??!.With that said,I decided to give the DSI a try at imaging a planet and while I think it did alright.I just don’t think it works quite as well as my LPI (lunar plantary imager) for solar system imaging.I know I know…duh!.Thats why they call it a lunar planetary imager!!.Another thing I have noticed is that the DSI leaves a CCD lines in the brighter images that I take.Which I am trying to eliminate with darks.

Hey,all isn’t lost…..I have some detail in this first ever image taken with the DSI!!.

Mars has a dust storm

Comet 17P/Holmes on November 10th

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, comets, Photo, photography, Solar, Space on November 11, 2007 by Andrew

It has been quite a while since I was able to get a decent view of Comet 17P/Holmes.Actually,it has been a little more than a week.WOW,what a difference a week makes eh?.Comet 17P/Holmes has grown immense as it continues it’s journey through the cosmos and yes,it is still very bright despite reports of it getting dimmer.The halo is becoming rather diffuse as it continues to grow however,it is now also visible to the naked eye.Instead of being just a bright point of light,Comet Holmes can now be seen as a fuzzy patch in the sky using averted vision.The halo is so large that it won’t fit on my laptop screen.I actually had to use my DSLR to see the comet as a whole.Below are 2 images that I shot last night.The first is a wide field image shot with my DSLR at prime focus.It shows what seems to be comet Holmes beginning to move away from the halo(or at least that is what it appears to me).The second image was shot using a Meade DSI (deep sky imager).If you look closely,a faint tail can be seen coming from the comets core.

The images below were shot using a 10″ Meade LXD75 SN.

Image credit: Andrew

comet with dslr

Image below was shot with a Meade DSI…

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