Bode’s Galaxy/M81

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Uncategorized with tags , on April 16, 2015 by Andrew

April is the month to visit our galactic neighbors. The evening sky offers a wealth of galaxies to see,and image. I myself have imaged at least 30 in the last 2 weeks. My scope seems to have taken on a life of it’s own,and become my partner in crime. I have nailed down my goto’s,so that when I slue to a target,the object is almost dead center of the DSLR’s sensor. I also cut down my ISO a little,just to reduce noise.I am still getting 5-8 minute exposures,which is also unguided.
One of my targets last night,was M81 or commonly known as Bode’s galaxy. I was kind of inspired for several reasons. A. I haven’t imaged this galaxy in a few years. B. I have a new Canon DSLR,that is capturing higher resolution than my Pentax DSLR. C. A fellow blogger is just starting out in astronomy/astrophotography,and I wanted to give a glimpse as to what to expect with some experience under the belt. Good luck with your finals TeeJay 🙂
M81 is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major.It’s companion M82 a.k.a the Cigar galaxy lies in close proximity,and can even be imaged in the same photo. Discovered in 1774 by Johann Bode and is approximately 11.8 million light years distant.
Also,note a satellite conveniently photo bombed my image as well….ugh!
Image credit Andrew Dumont

Messier 51/ Whirlpool Galaxy

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Constellation, Galaxy, Photo, Solar, Space, Star, Technorati, Uncategorized, weather with tags , , , , , on April 10, 2015 by Andrew

Hello everyone… (spooky voice)…I’m baaack !.
It has been one of the roughest Winters I have seen in quite some time. We didn’t get as much snow this season ,but the cold was brutal. Mainly temps well below typical averages for Vermont,USA
I must say, clouds have been non stop since early November,with all of January totally cloud covered.
We did get a small window of clear skies the other night,and temps were tolerable .Only 23 degrees F !!.
With the lack of observing/imaging for a fair share of the Winter season. The floor of my observatory had almost 1.5 inches of ice coating. That meant,everything on the floor was embedded in ice. Not fun,considering a power strip,usb cables hanging from the mount,and a chair were firmly attached to the floor. I spent a hour chopping ice ,and now am ice free. Yaaaay me!! 😀
When not shivering from months of cold,I spent my time tinkering on my pc ,and telescope mount. My laptop screen crapped out,so I replaced it. Also,I changed the battery in the main unit of my mount. It now runs great.
My short window of clear skies yielded me a nice shot of M-51. I have imaged this galaxy before,but not with as much detail as my new camera has given me.
Image credit: Andrew

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy)

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, comets, Constellation, Luna, Nebula, Open cluster, Photo, photography, Space, Technorati, Uncategorized, weather on January 23, 2015 by Andrew

Hello everyone!. It seems that a lot of fellow enthusiast are in the Comet Lovejoy craze. I am no excluded from that statement!.

The Winter here in Vermont,USA has been kind of lack luster as far as serious snow is concerned. This does not dismiss our seemingly over the top, cold weather that we have had to endure.Oh,and just because we haven’t had much snow,doesn’t suggest that we have been free of cloudy skies. Our season has been met with endless days/weeks of clouds. The last stretch of clouds lasted most of December,with one night of clear skies,dominated by a full moon. January has also jumped the band wagon with clouds,with all but a few nights.

I ventured out twice in the last two weeks to get my own images of Comet Lovejoy,with below average results the first night. I was giving my new DSLR a workout…lol. My second try ( Tuesday Jan 20,2015) was much better.

Comet Lovejoy was quite high in the sky,and very bright in the eyepiece. Obviously,very little color could be seen,with only a light wisp of tail coming from the nucleus.The results of the raw images was astounding!!! WOOT!!!!

This comet will still be putting on a show for a while ,but is going to start fading soon. I am truly blessed to add another comet under my belt,Comet Lovejoy (the second comet I have imaged with the name Lovejoy in the 8 months) will make a return visit in about 8,000 years. Geesh,hope I live to see it again!!.

This image is a single shot taken with a Canon T3i. ISO-3200,1 minute exposure prime focus. The scope is a 10″ Meade LXD75 and Losmandy G11 mount.

Image credit Andrew a.k.a me!!


C/2014 E2 (Jacques)

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, comets, Constellation, Galaxy, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Technorati, Uncategorized, weather on September 6, 2014 by Andrew

Hmmmm, is it me or has our summer gone by way too fast?. Seems like it was just last week I was minding the garden. Now,between working and trying to get some home chores taken care of. Not much time has been dedicated to astronomy. It isn’t to say I haven’t gotten to the eye piece. It just means cloudy skies have thwarted my efforts.
A cold front will be sweeping through late tonight,and skies are suppose to clear for tomorrow. Maybe some scope time tomorrow night?!.
The night sky has a visitor that I am quite sure many of my fellow astronomers are aware of. That visitor is C/2014 E2 (Jacques). My first sighting was about a month ago. The comet was quite bright,but lacking the usual long tail. I would put the visual mag at +7.5,which is out of naked eye sight,but bright through a scope. As of this moment,it is located in the constellation Cygnus. Here is the live update for those of you with clear skies,and wanting to see this comet.

Below is a prime focus shot I took a month ago.
It is a single 5 minute exposure.
*Note the green color of this comet

A lunar Sentinel

Posted in asteroid impacts, astronomy, astrophotography, Luna, Lunar Craters, Moon, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, weather on August 11, 2014 by Andrew

After seeing all the beautiful images of Sundays (Super moon),and getting some shots myself. I started thinking to myself (as I was sitting in my observatory listening to some Crosby Stills and Nash),about how the Full moon reminded me of a giant Sentinel in the sky. Watching over us as we gazed back.

Comet C/2012 K1 (Panstarrs) and NGC 3877

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 18, 2014 by Andrew

This past year have brought us some exciting celestial wonders,and great science knowledge have been achieved. I am talking about comets. Their have many opportunities for all of us to explore,and grow. Some comets have been just quiet wanderers.,never getting their chance in the media lime light. They come into the inner solar system, seemingly “guns blazing” ,and then quietly return to the outer reaches,never to be seen again in our life time. Others, get noticed right away,and a media frenzy begins. People speculating (mainly media) ,about how bright or how big of a show it will be. Comet ISON was a prime example of the over hype from the media. ISON put on a good show for it’s final journey. The sad part of the over hype ( IMHO ) is,most people get excited to see a amazing sky show,but when the event ends, people just go back to their daily (or nightly) routines,like a arm chair quarterback. Never giving thought that,just because one event has ended. doesn’t mean the arena has been shut down. Their are still wonderful objects in the night sky that are putting on their own show.

Yes, their are some comets in the Northern sky that are visible. Two comets are on display in the Northern sky,and located near the constellation Ursa Major a.k.a… the Big Dipper. Both comets are within reach of small telescopes. Although, one of them, Comet Linear is a dim mag + 11.61,and might be difficult to see in a small scope,depending on sky transparency. The other one, Comet Panstarrs is much brighter at mag + 8.4 . Comet  C/2012 K1 (Panstarrs) can be seen as a faint,but distinguishable gray smudge. This smudge gets brighter as your eyes adjust to the darkness. I had known about these comets for some time,but time,and cloud cover had put them on the back burner. Leaving me with only small windows of opportunity to observe the other wonders of our solar system and beyond.

With the forecast of clear skies last night. I decided now was the time to check out one of the comets. I chose comet Panstarrs as my target,as I felt it would be a good time to check my mounts goto accuracy. By the way….. it performed flawlessly!!. I entered my observatory at around 9PM last night. The sky was a tad bit light to the west due to sun setting 45 minutes earlier,and the stars were just beginning to show themselves. It took a while to actually see the “gray smudge”,but when I did see it. I knew I had a comet in the eye piece. It took a short while later before I decided to connect the CCD to the scope. This turned out to be a fiasco…LMAO!. The stars were nice and round ,but as each image was acquired,and stacked. The comets nucleus on the stacked image became stretched,showing multiple heads. I haven’t down loaded the final images yet,but will when I have a few extra minutes to spare.

After a couple hours of trying,I went to my backup camera. The DSLR for some prime focus imaging. This worked out quite well I must say!!. I snapped a couple test images to check my focus,and nailed it the first time!. The temp in the observatory was getting getting cold,so I opted for only a couple shots before shutting down. I managed a 4 and a half minute unguided exposure without star trails.Since the screen on my dslr is small. I didn’t get a full look at my work until I loaded the images onto my laptop. I must say “WOW”!. The comet was green as I expected. What I didn’t expect was to get the galaxy NGC 3877 in the same shot!. NGC 3877 appears dim,but in my defense. It is after all, 50 million light years away!!!. 

Comet C/2012 K1 (Panstarrs) is expected to brighten in the next few months,making it almost a naked eye comet. I really doubt that, as it is quite small,but one can hope!.



As I saw Jupiter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 25, 2014 by Andrew

Sometimes I like to share images depicting exactly what I see through my telescope. I am always inviting people stop once in a while,and well, look up at the sky. I have posted many times on Facebook,about the sights/events most of my friends are missing. About how they need to take a moment out of their “busy lives”,and see what I see. I like to think of myself as a time traveler. I am a subscriber to the best reality show ever made: Space . With a never ending episodes,and the occasional dramatic Super nova. Aside from the cost of my equipment, it is a free show!. I like free things 😉 . It is almost overwhelming to see light coming from the sky above can be 1.25 seconds old or 125 million years old, or even 2.5 billion years old!!.

The point is, spread the word 🙂

Below is a image of Jupiter and 4 of it’s moons. As I mentioned, this is exactly what I saw through my scope on March 18,2014. 

Note: Most all is exact,except for the color. Most of us can’t see color through our scopes ,unless we are viewing a bright star.



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