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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Springtime Globular Clusters

The springtime sky is loaded with globular clusters.  I've taken a few pictures over the last couple of months, and instead of writing a separate post for each glob, I decided I'd do a  composite of 6 globular clusters and write one post covering them all.  To many, globulars look the same, and this way, I have 6 clusters placed side-by-side so you can compare them easier.

These are cropped from larger images taken during the springtime months.

M3 is located in the constellation Canes Venatici
M5 is located in Serpens
M10 is in Ophiuchus
M12 is also in Ophiuchus
M13 is the Great Hercules Cluster
M92 is also in Hercules.

Monday, June 11, 2012

M20, Trifid Nebula

The Trifid Nebula is a bright nebula in Sagittarius, just 2 degrees or so above the Lagoon Nebula.  This nebula is quite colorful, and consists of 3 distinct types of nebulocity - the red part is an emission nebula, the blue is reflection nebulocity, and the dark lanes consist of dark nebulocity.

This is the full-frame image, on the same scale as the Lagoon posted earlier.  As you can see, the red portion is emission nebulocity, the blue is reflection nebulocity, and the dark lanes accounts for the dark nebulocity.  Again, being this object is near the heart of the Milky Way, the star field is quite rich.

This is a cropped version, again, processed differently than the above...

M8, the Lagoon Nebula

On Saturday, 6/9/12, I traveled about 70 miles to a relative's house in Western Pennsylvania, which has a fairly dark sky.  There was some gradient to the East from Clarion, PA, and a little to the South, which I'm not certain where it was coming from, as there are no towns nearby to the South of the site.  Nevertheless, I was able to take pictures of some nebulae in Sagittarius.  I was actually rather surprised how well the Lagoon Nebula came out with my unmodified Canon T3.

This is the full frame, uncropped image of the nebula:

A cropped version is here:

The image processing is different on the two, and I do believe I did a better job on the full frame version.  This nebula is in an extremely star - rich area of the sky, and is in fact looking almost to the center of the Milky way.  NGC6530 is the pretty open star cluster of bright stars just below and to the left of the bright part of the nebula.

This image was taken with a stack of 30 - 1 minute frames at iso1600 at f/5, 700mm focal length.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

M104, The Sombrero Galaxy

Well, it was cloudy last night, but tonight it cleared up just before it got dark, so I imaged 2 objects.  The first of which was M13, the 2nd, M104.  I have not attempted the Sombrero yet, so I thought I'd experiment a bit using short exposures.  Tonight's image uses 50 - 30 second frames.  I must say, I'm quite impressed.

30 second exposures using the 6", f/5 at iso 1600.  50 frames stacked in DSS using a 2X drizzle.  slight sharpening and image stretch done in Photoshop, noise reduction done using Noel Carboni's astro tools.

I'll post M13 tomorrow.  its midnight as I write this, so I pretty much ran out of time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Venus Transit of the Sun

The BIG event!  Venus transits are quite rare.  I was going to say... that a Venus transit is even more rare than having the Cleveland Browns making it to the Super Bowl, but that is not a good analogy, being the Cleveland Browns have NEVER made it to the Super Bowl!

Ok, on a serious note, the last Venus transit occured on the 8th of June in 2004...  but wait, before that, it hasnt happened since 1882.  The next one will not occur until 2117.  They occur in pairs, 8 years apart, and repeats with another pairing 121.5 years later.

During the 2004 transit, I was not active in astronomy, so therefore I have no photos, but this year, I was all ready.  My plan was to take a series of white light photos as Venus progressed across the face of the sun for about 2 1/2 of the 6 hour, 40 minute transit.  I would be limited due to sunset, but thought it would be cool to photograph the progression and make a short AVI video of it.

Problem is, just as the event started, it began to rain.  It was partly cloudy all day, which wouldnt be a problem, as I would take snapshots during breaks in the clouds.  However, around 5pm, (the event started at 6:04PM), it got cloudier, and a rain cloud moved in at the beginning.  I was able to snap off only 1 image, and it was partially obscured by cloud, but Venus was plainly visible in the upper left hand side of the disk.  This image was taken at 6:36pm, Eastern Daylight time (2236 UTC).

This was the best I could get, as I waited until around 7:30pm, and the sky never cleared, so I packed it in.  I was able to photograph it however, even though the image is not spectacular, I was able to capture the event.