Archive for June, 2008

Powerful storms rock the Northeast

Posted in Lightning, Photo, photography, Uncategorized, weather on June 11, 2008 by Andrew

Last night saw some rather strong thunderstorms here in NewHampshire.After several hot humid days with temps in the high 90’s and dew points in the 70’s,a strong cold front plowed through the state like a bull in a china shop.Many townships to the north lost power due to lightning strikes and high winds.

Here in Laconia,the weather was a bit less intense but,mother nature still put on quite a light show.At one point the flashes of lightning were so numerous it reminded me of strobe light at a rock concert.As the storm was approaching,the wind began to kickup sand from a nearby construction site pelting my eyes and mouth with grit.This small scale sandstorm was so bad that even though I was only standing about 40 yards from the house,I temporarily lost sight of my safe refuge.Then the rains came which was a welcomed feel after a hot and muggy night,dropping the temps from the upper 80’s to the lower 70’s in about 20 minutes time.

As you will see in my photo albums,one of my favorite summer time activities is to take pictures of lightning.While it is loads of fun it can also be frustrating especially when trying to gauge where the next series of lightning bolts will appear.I managed to be pointing the camera in one area of the sky, as vivid bolts flashed in other areas.This happened quite a few times but,I still managed to get a few decent shots.Unfortunately,these decent shots don’t compare with some of the bolts that I missed out on.Below is one of my so called “decent” shots that I took from last night.Luckily,this is just the start of the summer storm season and I hope to be taking much nicer shots?!.

M92

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Photo, photography, Space on June 4, 2008 by Andrew

It has been a while since my last post.I have been having some technical problems along side some mechanical issues with my scope that I have been trying desperately to fix.I performed a hypertune on my LXD 75 and for some unknown reason the axis alignment was thrown out of whack.I attempted to fix the problem using the LXD 75 adjust feature on the mount and while it did help to some degree,it is still some what off the mark.While Meade carrys a fine scope,they do lack in a real good mount design.Many of the hardware parts for this mount are made from diecast aluminum,that are easily damaged if one is inclined to perform mantainance.One of the issues with the mount is the fact that Meade has incorperated a large aluminum lock knob to tighten the cradle down on the tripod saddle.The size of the knob is of good size but,is just a wee bit too long for axis alignments such as the one that I made.It tends to rub against the DEC motor housing which all but,stops the motor from finishing a much needed 180 degree movment.I am going to be replacing this knob with a slightly shorter (in length) bolt that will accomodate the slew.By doing this I should be able to get a accurate axis alignment.If doing this doesn’t work,I WILL be sending the mount to a company that specializes in hypertunes and let them fix the goto problems.Don’t get me wrong,after the axis alignment that I made,the scope does go to the objects with in reason but,I want objects to be centered everytime.Sadly,the weather has taken a turn for the worst since then and I haven’t had a chance to see how well the tracking will be.I will keep everyone updated on the final results!.

One of the objects that I imaged the other night was of Globular cluster M92.

M92 is a splendid object, visible to the naked eye under very good conditions and a showpiece for every optics. It is only slightly less bright but about 1/3 less extended than M13: its 14.0′ angular extension corresponds to a true diameter of 109 light years, and may have a mass of up to 330,000 suns.

Only about 16 variables have been discovered in this globular, 14 of which are of RR Lyrae type, while one of them is one of the very few eclipsing binaries in globular clusters, of W Ursae Majoris type. Although Burnham claims it is not well understood why eclipsing binaries are so rare in globulars, it appears to the present author that there may be a simple answer: In these dense stellar agglomerates, close encounters occur frequently, so that binary systems will be disturbed, and on the long term, will be destroyed.

M92 is approaching us at 112 km/sec.

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