Archive for solar system

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.



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.


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 !!!!!!!!! 😀 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

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and a blacked out version to enhance the prominences….

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Sunspot #1023

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

I received a email alert from 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!!! 🙂 .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 😦 .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 these new spots are from new solar cycle 24..

From – 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.


Imformation credit:

Image credit: Andrew

Venus,Jupiter and moon conjunction

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2008 by Andrew

A Venus,Jupiter and crescent moon conjunction….what a great way to end the first day of December!. It was sunny for a good share of the day but,as luck would have it,clouds began to roll in just as the sun was setting and before the sky had turned completely dark it was overcast.I did manage to get a few images in between clouds and for that I am thankful.About 15 minutes after the image below was shot,it began to rain/sleet 😦 . Mother nature has a strange sense of humor!.Earlier in the day at about 1:30pm, I spotted the crescent moon with Venus just to the west.Unfortunately,Jupiter couldn’t be seen at that time.As you could imagine…I was pretty excited!!!. If you haven’t already seen the event yet,just look to the western skies.You won’t be disapointed!!!.



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