Archive for astronomy

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!! ūüėÄ
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
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Mars again

Posted in astronomy, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Planet, Solar, Space, Uncategorized, weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2014 by Andrew

I had another evening with the scope last night. Actually, I had gone to bed ,but through my window I could see how clear it was. So,I got dressed and spent about a hour in the observatory.
The sky was clear ,but waves of high altitude turbulence kept distorting the images.Turbulence is bad for imaging. One moment you can have a crisp image on the monitor,and then nothing but a nasty,distorted fuzzy blob the next moment.
I did get a few decent shots though. The image below shows Mars polar cap.

Mars00391-14-04-19-23-36-16

Neximage 5 and Coronado PST

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2013 by Andrew

Been a long while since I have posted on my blog. LMAO…glad I still remember my password!.
Anyway….life as of late has been up and down. I lost my dad last April. It has been tough not having him around! ūüė¶
On the good side of life,I have a wee bit more time at the moment for star gazing. Albeit cold, I HATE the cold!.
Santa was very giving to me this past Christmas and I found a brand new Neximage 5 in my stocking!. It is a nice 5 Mega pixel that has much higher resolution than the Meade LPI that I was using. *Funny story time!*…. I asked Santa for a new imager because, the LPI I have been using got zapped by static electricity. I was sitting on a plastic chair in the observatory when I suddenly stood up to adjust the ccd imager. All of a sudden, I felt and heard a snap coming from my hand. I looked over at the monitor and the live image of the sun that I had just been watching,had suddenly gone from a crisp image to a live screen with multi colored lines. In disgust,I left the camera for dead and made a Christmas plea.. After getting the new cam, I was about to junk the LPI when I decided to give the crippled cam one more college try. hey…it worked!. Only after I tweaked the video settings. Some how the static shock scrambled the settings! Hmm, live and learn I guess?!. One nice aspect of the new Neximage 5 and it’s higher resolution is,I can see waaaay more detail on the suns surface than ever before!.
So, as I have poured over the web,it is supposedly not possible to get the PST to focus with a Neximage 5. I had tried about everything I could think of when it suddenly hit me. Why not use the lens I got with the MaxDSLR adaptor I bought 5 years ago. Voila, it worked!!!!!!…Yaaaaay!
Just in time because, solar activity has really picked up in the past couple months.
I will be posting some older images of the sun in a few days.
I will however post a few shots I took this early afternoon.
I set my sights on the sun once again today, and WOW…their is some really serious activity going on.
I noticed a huge prominence on the suns eastern limb and a smaller looping prominence on the the western limb.
Huge prominence

Sol on Easter Sunday 4/4/2010

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Sun, Uncategorized, weather with tags , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2010 by Andrew

I had another run of clear skies so I decided to keep the scope out for another round of observing/imaging with the Coronado PST.With the skies a little cleaner than the day before,I wanted to see if yesterdays successful imaging¬† was a fluke or whether I had actually jumped the learning curve fence.I began the solar session by just observing the sun rather than jumping head first and getting frustrated if imaging didn’t go so well.I could easily see granulation and the obvious areas of intense activity.A couple features that stood out were of filaments and a plage¬† that can be seen surrounding sunspot #1057 in my images.A plage is the white are seen commonly surrounding sunspots especially when using a h-alpha filter.Although I have actually seen them in regular white light filters as well.
My observing/imaging session started pretty well until I decided to try for pix.One of my big worries was the fact that I couldn’t get the (or so I thought) exposure times fast enough.After a hour of frustration I took a break and sat back to study the problem in my head.2 cups of coffee later I tweaked the imaging programs default settings and low and behold I was able to get a perfectly exposed image on the live view.I was astounded at the detail I could see and immediately started the program to take images with the LPI before I regained my sanity.All was going well and the result I was getting on my monitor was incredible….all was good or so I thought.Ummmm…..not so fast…something isn’t right when I downloaded the images to my flash card.The shots didn’t look very good as they were very pixelated and lacked detail.This was a glitch I didn’t want and again frustration set in.Getting ready to call it a day I decided to take one more look into the problem and surprise surprise….it dawned on me that I was using the imaging format for the job.After setting the format from Jpeg to BMP I tried again and….holy crap they came came out great!!!…WOOHOO !!!!!!!!! ūüėÄ I proceeded to take as many pix as I could before the sun set behind a mountain.
I also wrote down my formula for taking images with the PST in my astronomy journal so I wouldn’t have such a tough time in the future.

Image credits; Andrew

click to enlarge

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and a blacked out version to enhance the prominences….

click image to enlarge

Sunspot #1024

Posted in astronomy, Astronomy links, astrophotography, Photo, photography, Solar, Space, Star, Sun, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2009 by Andrew

Once again,the sun is begining to show signs of activity.I received another email from Spaceweather.com about the sudden appearance of sunspot #1024 which has been growing quickly.According to the site,solar class C  flares have been almost constant in the sunspot region,giving astronomers around the world a chance to dust off their scopes and image a not so quiet sun.My initial reaction to the new activity was of utter disbelief as I looked at the new spots on the SOHO website which is a great site for real time images of the sun.The magnetic polarity of these new spots indicates that they are the newest members of Solar cycle 24 which,is becoming more intense as the solar jet stream stimulates sunspot production.

The image below was shot at prime focus.

Click for larger image

sunspot-1024+1

The images below were shot with afocal projection using a 26mm eyepiece.

Click for larger image.

sunspot-1024

Image credit:Andrew

imformation credit: Spaceweather.com,SOHO

Sunspot #1023

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by Andrew

I received a email alert from spaceweather.com yesterday alerting me that the sun has a pair of new sunspots which are now visible.I was bit upset about this¬†due to the fact that not only do I have very little time to observe but,we have been under a thick layer of clouds for the past month+ as well.Why is it that whenever we have a bit of space excitement Mother nature¬†always seems to be a wet blanket?.I¬†refer to having¬†new sunspots as¬†space excitement only because the sun has been spotless for such a long period of time.I have officially stopped listening to the local weather forcaster (as of this morning) because they never get the forecasting right.I went to bed lastnight with the impression that I would be waking up to typical cloudcover.When I awoke this morning I was quite thrilled to see absolutely clear blue sky!!! ūüôā .Once again the forecasters got it wrong but,hey I’m not upset.In fact I”m glad they screwed it up!!!.After I had my gallon of coffee (heh,just kidding….it was only a half gallon!),I quickly set my big scope up and faked the alignment.Gotta hurry cuz,my guess was that it would turn cloudy again and it did after a couple hours.With a few puffy clouds drifting past I was able to get quite a few images of the new spots only to delete them due to DIRTY LENSES ūüė¶ .Hmmmm,well I did image spots,just not the type of spots that I was trying for!!.Thats right…I haven’t used the scope in such a long time that it had sadly become a dust magnet *crowd boo’s and hisses*.With little time to spare I performed a quick cleanup and¬†managed to get a few more shots before the clouds moved back in.

According to  Spaceweather.com these new spots are from new solar cycle 24..

From Spaceweather.com – The magnetic polarity of sunspot 1023 identifies it as a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Its appearance coincides with the movement of two solar jet streams into a range of heliographic latitudes that promotes sunspot formation. No one knows exactly how the sun’s deep jet streams boost the sunspot count, but they do. As a result, this week’s sunspot activity might herald more to come.

sunspot-1023

Imformation credit: Spaceweather.com

Image credit: Andrew

Stuff…..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 31, 2009 by Andrew

Heh,I know I keep saying this but,”I am still here”.I just wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know that I am still here.I haven’t been on line much since a lightning storm wrecked my desktop Pc.I had spent the morning finishing yard work¬†so,I¬†left for a shopping trip and all was well.You know…warm weather a bright sunshine?!.The result of the day was quite the opposite!!!.While I was out,a bad storm had scattered tree branches (along with other debris) all over the freshly mowed lawns.Ugh…more cleanup!.While cleaning the yard…yet again.I never gave the Pc a thought since I was so busy.When I finally did get a chance to go on line I realised that my Pc was completely dead.Sadly,all my pix that I had taken are gone as well.I have a pretty bad habit of NOT backing up my files so unfortunately,all is lost.

Now,I have joined the 21st century and have purchased a new laptop (which I am typing this post on) plus,I am waiting for the telephone company to come a fix the phone lines and help install a wireless router.

Hope I will be on more often very soon?!!!!.

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