clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

What better way to start a new year than to wake up at 4AM to take a couple pictures of Jupiter.  I saw a post on Facebook from a prominent planetary imager talking about a newly discovered outbreak.  If I'm not mistaken, this first image captured it.  There is another one in the SEB too, but that one is facing away from this shot.

Sorry the image is a bit soft.  I had problems attaining focus, but I believe he was referring to the bright white spot on the NTB near the CM.

The next image was taken about an hour later, with somewhat improved focus.  Seeing appeared to be decent, but I believe the scope's optics were out of collimation.  I hope I have that corrected now for the next imaging session.

There appears to be more detail on this one.  I am quite out of practice imaging planets, the last one was Mars and Saturn last summer.  I do try to get at least one early Jupiter image every season to see what changes have taken place.  This year, there are some big changes.  A number of belts are becoming more prominent this year.  We should be seeing some really good pictures coming up later in the year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

NGC772, The Nautilus Galaxy

Tried to get a din galaxy, something I havent tried to do in awhile.  These objects typically take a lot of exposures to get them to come out well.  This image however was taken using only 8 frames.  I had clouds move in which cut my session short.

What you see here is a really large spiral galaxy, about twice the size of the Milky Way, but its about 130 million light years away. The light we are seeing left this galaxy during a time when early dinosaurs were roaming the Earth, when the first freshwater turtles appeared on Earth.  The distorted spiral arm was caused by interaction with one of the fuzzy specks to the right of the galaxy, another satellite galaxy.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Various Objects Taken Under City Light Pollution

This post shows that you dont need to have dark skies in order to take decent astro photos.  The location this was taken, the 2nd magnitude star, Polaris was difficult to see.  Areas to the South were even worse, and most of these objects were taken fairly low to the south.

The most southern object was the helix.  These were taken in white light, with a Astronomik Clip in CLS filter.

Sure, its pretty dim, but with a few extra exposures, it can be had a little brighter.

The next object I tried was the Horsehead.  It too was quite do-able from within city lights.

The Orion Nebula is a bright object and is an easy target from anywhere.

The blue dust surrounding the stars of the Pleiades, although quite faint is still within the city dweller's grasp.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Cygnus Molecular Cloud

A vast area of glowing hydrogen exists in Cygnus.  This image was taken using white light as well as a wideband hydrogen filter.  The small fairly bright nebula in the lower center part of the frame is the Crescent Nebula.

This area of the sky is quite large.  It encompasses the area around the North America Nebula, Pelican Nebula and the Crescent, so this is actually only a small part of the cloud.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Iris Nebula, NGC7023

The Astro-Tech focal reducer/field flattener that I'm using with my AT-72ED has threads to accept a 2" filter.  I was looking thru Amazon and found a very low cost light pollution filter (in the $35 range).  So I bought one.   It is just enough to get some rather deep images from my moderately light polluted sky.

I have been having a great time taking wide field images, even of small objects that I would normally use a longer focal length.  Take for instance the Iris Nebula.  The bright part is only about 18 arc minutes in diameter, or about 1/3 the size of a full moon.  What surrounds it, however is just as interesting.  This image shows more of the dust that belongs to the Iris, but just isnt lit up like the bright part.

It takes a larger number of exposures to be able to see the unlit dust, as it is extremely faint, but I was able to image it rather well in this composite of 24 - 5 minute frames.

New stars form from within dust clouds, and that is what is lighting up the bright part of the Iris.  You can see the light taper off as you move away from the bright stars in the center of the lit area.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mars and Saturn

The best Mars image I've ever taken.  I'm shocked at the detail!

The NexImage camera is incredible! I actually had no idea that an 8 inch could pull this much detail out of Mars, and with it being so low in the sky this year, I got lucky with how well the seeing was.

Saturn was also incredible with this camera too, and this image is probably my best Saturn to date.