Astronomy Search:

Live Star Chart -- Messier Slide Collection -- NGC Slide Series

Click here, to see latest weather radar Vail, AZ from Weather Underground

Get Polaris transit times at the U.S. Naval Oceanography Portal

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Messier 7, Ptolemy Cluster

Unguided, 168 x 15 second JPEG frames, 1600 ASA

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Messier 16, Eagle Nebula

Alright, this is much better. Unguided, 201 x 15 second JPEG frames, 1600 ASA. I've also included a before and after comparison with previous take to illustrate the difference more "signal" can make!

Messier 31, Andromeda Galaxy

Unguided, 201 x 15 second JPEG frames, 1600 ASA

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A break in the weather?!

Looks that way, possibly Tuesday or Wednesday night. Mark's weather station corroborates the reports, we've got rising temps and rising barometer. Window of opportunity may only be 3 hours at like 2 this point, I'm willing to do just about anything.

Misadventures in programmable calculating...

Though my first attempt using the TI-83 was very successful, actually trying to program or debug what you've written is difficult. To be honest, you can only expect so much from a limited calculator interface. So those of you who wish to try, be forewarned its not as easy as it looks. You will undoubtably have to commit some time to learn and understand it.

Word of advice, if you make a mistake (any mistake) press CLEAR and ENTER to wipe out that line, and start over.

But hey, when it works, it works just great!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Another local weather link

One of my wife's cycling buddies and his family has moved further east of here to St. David out near the Dragoon Mountains, and has set up his own observatory and weather station. The weather station is now online via the Weather Underground and I've linked his banner on the sidebar. Congratulations, Mark!

The Clear Sky Chart

Stumbled across the Clear Sky Chart link. Provides some advanced notice on likely state of the skies, thanks to our Canadian neighbors! Lots of locations and observatories are currently supported. Searched on Vail and identified an observatory just 7 miles away from here belonging to none other than Dr. Levy, "The Comet Hunter." Heh. Just found out he and his wife live in Vail, too. I've inserted a link to their Jarnac Observatory sky chart in my page, we'll see how useful this is.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Where's the bubble?

Tried my best to find some time between the storms at night, but the clouds keep rolling in. Below is my first attempt at the very bizarre Bubble Nebula, or NGC 7635. This night I threw out 45 frames due to clouds. Even with 125 x 15 second frames, there was still residual noise from some of the more sneaky clouds. As you can see in the picture, only the lower portion of the bubble is visible.

I'm just going to give up on deep sky objects until I can truly get a normal dark Arizona night sky. Sheesh.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Messier 17, Omega Nebula

Intended to capture twice as many exposures as I did, but clouds rolled in quickly. This lovely object is also referred to as the Swan Nebula, not sure why. I don't see a swan. I see a lobster. In fact, in the southern hemisphere it is often called the Lobster Nebula.

Unguided, 94 x 15 second JPEG frames, 1600 ASA, dark frame subtraction, just stacked and stretched, no other processing.

Omega Centauri


This incredible globular cluster in the constellation Centaurus, known as Omega Centauri (NGC 5139), looked stunning in the telescope. Didn't get as many shots as I would have liked, it appears almost near the horizon. I quickly took as many as I could before it went down behind my brick wall.

Unguided, 23 x 15 second JPEG frames, 1600 ASA, automatic dark frame subtraction.

This globular cluster orbits our Milky Way galaxy. Only a few months ago, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Observatory in Chile claim to have found evidence of a medium-size black hole at its core.