Archive for August, 2008

M17 (Omega nebula)

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Galaxy, Nebula, Photo, photography, Space with tags , , , , on August 16, 2008 by Andrew

As you might have noticed,my frequency of posting has dropped due to the foul weather that we here in the Northeastern U.S have been experiencing.It has either been raining or just plain cloudy for almost a full month now.I suspect that we will be getting clear skies soon.I make this prediction since,my physical issues have been resolved enough for me to return to work and I now have a early early wake up time.

One of the images that I managed to capture the last time I had my scope out (month +) is of the Swan nebula a.k.a the Omega nebula or M17.The scope was performing nicely and easily found this mag +6.0 neb located in the constellation Sagittarius.


Messier 15

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Globular cluster, Photo, photography, Planetary nebula, Space, Star on August 6, 2008 by Andrew

One of the first globular clusters that I  ever saw through my big scope was Messier 15,which is located in the constellation Pegasus.I Had seen similar objects like this through my other scope but,the resolution through the smaller scope is quite bad so, at the time I didn’t know what I was actually looking at!.All I could see was a tiny, faint fuzzy blob of light.How do I know it was M15 that I was looking at?.I don’t 😛 !.I just remember that it was in about the same area of sky during mid summer.I guess my little scope is better suited for objects in our solar system rather than deep space!.

At about 33,600 light years distant,Globular cluster M15 can be found in the constellation Pegasus and has a visual mag of +6.2 under dark skies.M15 was dicovered in 1746 by Jean-Dominique Maraldi while comet hunting,had described it as a “nebulous star made up of many stars” and was cataloged in1764 by Charles Messier who had described it as “nebula without stars”.It wasn’t until amost 20 years later in 1783 that William Herschel was able to resolve the many stars in this cluster.M15 is only one of four known globular clusters in the Milkyway to have a planetary nebula.

 Information credit: SEDS

Image credit: Me

Jupiter 07/29/08

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Planet, Space on August 1, 2008 by Andrew

Polarscope issues….                                                                                                                      Having clear skies around these parts are few and far in between these days.I remember a time when we would get multiple nights of crystal clear skies, which seems to be a thing of the past.Even though my love of astronomy has burned itself right into my very soul,I must admit that their have been some nights that I just wasn’t up for lugging the scope out,especially when the scope was having some frustrating alignment issues.I had tried everything I could think of to resolve the bad alignments and goto’s… or so I thought.The problem began after I hypertuned the mount which ironically,was meant to make the goto and tracking more accurate.So,after a few months of avoiding the issue I found myself staring at the scope and wondering “what is your problem,did I miss something during the hypertune?”.Then it hit me (the thought not the scope),I wonder if the polarscope is out of whack.That is the one thing I never checked after the hypertuneand having well aligned polarscope is perhaps one of the most critical parts of a good alignment.I went through the process of checking the alignment,which involves centering a object on the polarscope crosshairs and rotating the RA axis 180 degree’s.If the object moves then the alignment is off.Heh,not only did the object move,it was completely out of the FOV!!.Long story made short,I adjustedit like a finderscope (3 hex screws) and the polarscope is now aligned.

Observing time…

Giddy as a child on Christmas,it was time to see the result of my efforts from earlier in the day.The sky was clear so,I set the scope up as I normally do and proceeded with a 2 star alignment using the autostar.Both stars were within reason of the FOV which set the tone for the rest of the night.The first accuracy test for the goto was the double star Alberio.The scope slewed and I found Alberio to be almost dead center which was a good sign!.I then slewed to the Swan nebula and although it wasn’t dead center,it was close enough.Ok,the pointing accuracy was good but,how about tracking?!.While still pointing at the Swan nebula,I connected the DSI to the scope and centered it on the monitor for imaging.I would estimate the slow drift off the monitor to be about10-15 minutes which was good considering that,before I tweaked the polarscope the object would move out of the FOV within a couple minutes.Next,I moved onto Jupiter,which just happens to be in the same area of sky and it too,stayed well centered (sortof) on the monitor for a much longer time than in the past.The results are a much better focus since I am not spending time trying to keep it in the FOV.

These shots are the best I have taken this year…so far.Like I said earlier,the clear skies around here are few and far in between so,getting any form of practice in imaging with the DSI is tough to do.

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