Archive for February, 2009

Getting Sirius about “The Dog star”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2009 by Andrew

It has been a while since I have posted a article on a star and I thought now would be a good time.While I had the scope out the other night (finally! šŸ™‚ ) I decided to get a shot of Sirius a.k.a the Dog star (which is Orion the hunters larger dog) .Sirius is best viewed during the winter months thru early spring in the northern hemisphere.It is a blue-white star that packs a Sirius bite….hahahahaha!!.Sorry,I couldn’t help myself!!!.Located in the constellation Canis Major,Sirius is only 8.6 light years distant.Being twice asĀ  massive than our own sun,Sirius is also 20 times brighter at a visual mag of -1.46 and almost twice as hot at 9800 K,hence it’s blue-white color.
Sirius is part of a large asterism,which is called the Winter Triangle, along with two other stars… Betelgeuse in Orion and Procyon in Orions smaller dog,which is called Canis Minor.
Only to be seen with a telescope,Sirius also has a companion star which is called Sirius B *see image below*,a small white dwarf, and isĀ  nearly 10,000 times fainter.This does not mean that Sirius B is cooler than Sirius A.Sirius B, in fact is much hotter at approximately 23,000k and is thought to have been slightly larger than Sirius AĀ at one time in it’s life.This leads me to believe that Sirius B is the older of the two?!.

Image was at prime focusĀ taken with a 10″ Meade LXD75sn and Pentax istDs DSLR.Skies were clear and the temp was in the mid teens F.

Information credit: Stars

Image credit: Andrew



The Orion nebula 2009

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 16, 2009 by Andrew

Hey,I finally got the chance to observe/image!!!.Time has been a factor as most of you know and along with the lack of time,foul weather has been putting a monkey wrench into the gears of observing.With clear skies and temps in the low 20’s F I just couldn’t pass at the chance.Having not had the scope out since the last day of August..(heh,I didn’t realise that it had been so long!),I spent the afternoon putting the gear together which included searching for much of the equipment and reconfiguring the autostar for my new observing site.I set the scope up at 5pm which I felt would give the scope ample time to cool down to the outside temps.Again,not running the scope for such a long period of time I was a bit worried that it might have developed some bugs that I wasn’t prepared to deal with.I must say the scope performed nicely with only a couple minor glitches that can/will be worked out at a later time.
One of my first targets was the famous Orion nebula which I give a wow factor of 10!.Again,I am used to observingĀ at a very light polluted site so,seeing this old friend in true dark skies was incredible.I connected the DSLR to the scope and began taking pix.My first exposure was rather short at 45 seconds which would have already begun to show the effects of light pollution at the previous site.To my excitement,no light effects could be seen so,being bold I upped the exposure time to 2 minutes.Fully expecting the shot to be washed out from the headlights of occasional passing cars (not directed towards the scope)I was very pleased to see a image that was as dark as if I had taken a 10 second exposure *see image below*
My next targets (which I will post images of in the next week) were of globular cluster M79 and open cluster M41.Heh,I actually saw M 41 with bino’s and couldn’t identify the object until last night.I then slewed the scope towards Venus but,found it tough to get a decent focus due to it’s brightness.
In all, I observed for about 3.5 hours before becoming completely chilled to the bone with temps that were hovering just above zero.So, I reluctantly packed the scope away for the night.
Clear dark skies = Good!!!!.
Image credit: Andrew


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