Archive for Constellation

M51 (Whirlpool galaxy)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by Andrew

I managed to get the scope out for some observing a couple weeks back and was treated to some fantastic skies…Yaaaaaay!!!!!!!.The temps were were seasonable and in the mid to upper 20s F with calm winds.I was going to use my DSLR again but,since the temps were half way decent I used the Meade DSI instead.My thought was that I was going to image the comet with the DSI but,realised that it was directly over head which is good for imaging.Problem is,my scope will give me a alert that the OTA will come into contact with the tripod so,that idea quickly vanished.
Knowing that their are lots of other faint fuzzies to be seen I decided on observing/imaging Messier object #51 a.k.a the Whirlpool galaxy.As many of you know,observing this object from light polluted skies is next to impossible?!.In recent posts I have mentioned how different the skies are from my new location compared to the street observing I was used to.Well,M51 was a object that I had never seen with my scope but,still managed to image anyway.This observing night was well worth the time consuming task of setup and alignment (hope to build…or buy a observatory in the near future! ;p ) and the hoots of a distant Owl seemed like a approval for my decision.Hahahahahaha,actually it was a unsettling sound which made me think of a scene from some horror flick.I had a fantastic view of M51 which,appeared as a faint fuzzy gray patch.That was until I got the DSI centered and focused on it.WOW!!!.This galaxy suddenly went from fuzzy to showing alot of detail including the bridge of gas that is being ripped from it’s companion NGC 5195.
Because of numerous reasons i.e foul weather,work and family health reasons, I haven’t had a lot of time to really get to know the workings of the DSI or find the proper settings that work for my style of imaging…heh,ok I don’t have a style! ūüôā .So,if you see a problem with any of my images and know the solution to fix them,feel quite free to give me a friendly heads up.
Located in the constellation Canes Venatici,M51 (Whirlpool galaxy) is  60,000 light-years across and about 31 million light-years distant.It can be seen not far from the handle of the Big dipper which puts it quite high in the sky in northern latitudes and has a visual mag of +8.4 .
According to the SEDS,M51 is easy and a showpiece if the sky is dark, but is quite sensitive for light pollution which easily makes it fade in the background. Under very good conditions, even suggestions of its spiral arms can be glanced with telescopes starting from 4-inch. Low magnification is best for viewing this pair.
RA 13 : 29.9 (h:m) DEC +47 : 12 (deg:m)
Image credit :Andrew
Imformation credit: www.seds.org/

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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! ūüôā ) 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 as¬† 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 is¬† 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 A¬†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 focus¬†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

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NGC 869,NGC 884 (The Double Cluster)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 22, 2008 by Andrew

One of the other naked eye¬†objects that I took images of is of the Double cluster.As I mentioned in my last post,this cluster was easily seen without optical aide which is one of the¬†objects that I can’t see naked eye,¬†when observing in the middle of town.This is obviously due to the fact that this cluster is located to my north which happens to be directly over the middle of town.So,all I see in that direction are a few brighter stars shrouded by the pinkish glow of street lights.

I had written a post previously about the Double cluster including a image and thought that it looked pretty nice with what I thought at the time included lots of stars.Heh,I decided to compare the two images and to my surprise,the most recent shot has probably 3 times as many stars as the old one.Dark skies dark skies dark skies!!!.That is what it is all about.The difference is truely amazing!!!.

The famous double cluster in Perseus was known in antique times (probably even pre-historically), and first cataloged by the Greek astronomer Hipparcos.
Both clusters are situated in Perseus and are only a few hundred light-years appart, at a distance of over 7000 light years.
At a visual mag of +4.3,NGC 869 is approaching us at 22 km per second.
At a visual mag of +4.4,NGC 884 is also approaching us at a slightly slower 21 km per second.

 

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.

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