Archive for March, 2008

Close up shots of Sunspots #987 and #988

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Sun on March 26, 2008 by Andrew

Here are some close up images of sunspot 987 and 988.Like I said in the last post I had taken lots of images but,was so tired that I thought I would wait.These images were shot using A-focal projection with a 26mm eye piece and a Pentax ist “DS dslr.The last time I had my scope out was on February 20th for the lunar eclipse and even longer for any solar viewing.I couldn’t believe how much dust had collected on my lenses until I had downloaded the images to my Pc!!.I guess we all know what I will be doing this afternoon ūüėČ !.

The camera settings for the images seen below were a ISO of 200 and exposure(s) at 1/500thsec and were processed using PS elements.They were slightly cropped and sharpened.I also cheated and used the cloning tool to rid the shots of those unsightly dust blemishes.I also boosted the contrast to  the images to better show the sunspot structures.If you look closely,you will notice some of the filaments as they seem to have the look of spaghetti falling into a blackhole.Of course,you will also notice the result of sharpening the images as they look a bit grainy.I tried to reduce some of the grainy look by reducing  the noise.

Hope you enjoy!!!

Image credit: Andrew

Imaged with a 26mm eyepiece and 2X barlow

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New sunspots have appeared

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Sun on March 26, 2008 by Andrew

I was quite excited this morning when I woke up and checked the SOHO¬†website only to find some new spots that had appeared.Like I said “I was excited” and couldn’t wait to get home from work¬†and do some imaging….yay!.

I set the scope up¬†, had it aligned by noon time and never stopped imaging¬†until 3:30pm.In all,I believe I managed to snap off about 200 images.Why so many you ask?.Well I had so much fun when I made the Lunar eclipse clip that I decided to try it again.Unfortunately,after resizing¬†,cropping and rotating all 200 images I just didn’t like the look of them and feel I should try again.Luckily,I still have them on my DSLR which is like a do over?!.

Not only is it nice to see some long awaited activity on the sun but,the structure and sizes of the spots is impressive.With the largest being (by my calculations) larger than 3 Earths in size.The others are a bit smaller and¬†spread out but,the newest one that really hasn’t made a full appearance yet,I feel has the potential of being quite large as well.I have read a couple post from different bloggers¬†about how the suns new solar cycle was just a false start and that the new cycle hasn’t begun yet.I’m not sure but,after seeing how fast the spots appeared I am going to go out on a limb and say “it has begun….again”!.The sunspot numbers so far have been¬†designated sunspot¬† 987 and 988 .Sunspot #989 which is still making it’s way around the limb should be given it’s official number perhaps as soon as this evening?!.

Please forgive the writing of this post if it didn’t make any sense.I think my brain shutdown the moment I started typing ūüôā !.

Image credit:Andrew

Betelgeuse,a star running on empty

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Photo, photography, Space, Star on March 14, 2008 by Andrew

As the Winter season slowly loosens it’s icy¬†grip and the warmth of Spring approaches,we must prepare to say good night to our friends¬†in¬†the¬†Orion constellation.It has been tough to enjoy Orions company this Winter season.As some of you have heard me say a few hundred times.We have had a record snowfall this season with almost 140 inches of the white stuff.Making this the snowiest winter in almost¬†100 years with more on the way.Have I mentioned “I hate snow”?!.Regardless,Spring is on it’s way and I can’t wait!. ūüėõ

Like me,if you haven’t had too many chances to see this amazing Winter constellation.I would suggest making some hot cocoa,dress warmly and get out there before it is too late.You won’t be disappointed…I promise!!!!.

One of the many features of this amazing constellation is “The Great Orion nebula”which is a amateur astronomer favorite.Heh,mine included!.However their¬†ARE other¬†objects¬†in this constellation¬†that are sometimes¬†left sitting on the sidelines,just waiting for their day to shine.One of the objects that I am talking about is the red super giant Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse (sounds like beetle¬†juice) is a star that is on it’s death bed and gasping for air.Although it is much cooler than the sun (why it is red in color) it is more than 1000 X larger.In fact,if Betelgeuse were placed at the center of our solar system,it’s atmosphere would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter!!!.Yes….it is gigantic!!.It also varies in brightness over a course of years,which causes me to view it as a variable star?!.One other indication that it is nearing it’s death is because,it increases and decreases in size.Picture filling a balloon with air, letting some of¬†the air out and then refilling with more air,except in Betelgeuse’s case the air is hydrogen.After a¬†few hundred thousand years,Betelgeuse will have burned through all of it’s fuel causing it¬†to explode as a super nova,making it the brightest star in the sky,second only to our sun!!.Which makes me wonder¬†what the fate of our solar system will be?!.Space,beautiful to look at but,not very friendly!.

Image credit: Andrew

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