Monday, October 27, 2014

B&W Ring

Showing a little more detail than my earlier B&W image. Captured 10.26.2014


LRGB of Ring Nebula 10.26.2104

Last night was truly as perfect a night as anyone could wish for: good transparency and good seeing--a rare combination here in Indiana! As I was setting up the scope, I noticed a bright light crossing a little south of the zenith. At first, I thought it was an Iridium Flare, but, as it showed no signs of fading, I quickly realized it was the International Space Station. I have never really looked for the ISS before, so it was a real treat to see it pass over Indiana. 

Last night was my first attempt to do LRGB imaging. I had done one or two RGB images of Mars earlier in the year, but I had never tried to image deep sky objects and to add the luminance channel.

Here is my first attempt at an LRGB image. This image was taken with the ASI120MM and combines RGB and luminance filters. My combination is not the best as I am not a Photoshop expert, but it's not too bad for a first attempt at "multichannel" imaging.

AR2192--Flaring Captured 10.26.2014?

AR2192 continues to flare as it moves toward the edge of the sun's disk.  When I looked at the sun yesterday (10.26), this spot had some very bright areas visually, sometimes a sign of a building or subsiding flare. I imaged for some time yesterday and I think the images may have captured some flaring.

Here's the initial image captured at 17:40 UT:

At 19:45 UT, AR2192 had brightened appreciably:

I reduced the exposure significantly, so that the bright areas were a little more controlled. The flaring seemed to be confined to 3 bright areas:

I'll finish out the gallery with some of the other images I took:

Friday, October 24, 2014

AR2192 Continues to Evolve

AR2192 continues to grow and evolve as it moves across the center of the sun's disk. An X-Class flare from this spot would likely bring significant auroral activity. This image was taken through a haze of cloud, so the contrast is fairly washed out in terms of fine surface detail.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Dumbbell Nebula 10.22.2014

Like the Ring Nebula, the Dumbbell nebula is a planetary nebula marking the end of a star's life as it puffs off its outer layers into space.  The central star of the nebula is the largest known white dwarf. The shape of the nebula is an oblate spheroid and we are looking at the plane of its equator. The rate of expansion is around 17 km per second. This image is a stack of 20 15-second exposures with the ASI 120MM camera.

The Ring Nebula 10.22.2014

Last night, I decided to do a quick imaging session with the ASI 120MM camera. It is amazingly sensitive. This image is a stack of 17 10-second exposures. I did not use the color wheel last night as the goal of the session was to see how the Orion focal reducer worked with the 14 inch.

The Ring Nebula is a planetary nebula, which is an emission nebula of ionized gas. This gas is a "shell" puffed off from the surface of an old, red giant star as it reaches the end of its life. The shell is a cylinder we are seeing from "end on," and it is expanding at around 30 km per second. The center of the nebula is expanding faster than the ring. The central star is a white dwarf about the size of earth and it glows at around Magnitude 14.7.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

AR2192--A Fire-Spitting Dragon! (October 22, 2014)

AR2192 has been flaring spectacularly. Here are some pix taken today of this dragon on the sun! The complex activity of this active area can be clearly seen in these images, as can the changes from the image of 10-19, when the spot was closer to the edge of the sun.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Sun on 10.19.2014

It was not a good day for imaging, with lots of hazy cloud that significantly reduced image contrast. The sun continues to be very active. The following images show AR2192, which has been torching off X-Class flares (the most powerful flares the sun emits), and also filaments around ARs 2193 and 2187.


Filaments near AR2187 & AR2193

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Imager and Pix

Yesterday, I received my new Mallincam Jr Pro. As whoever controls the weather seems to have been asleep, the weather was clear last night. I made some quick adjustments, added a .5x focal reducer and skyglow filter, and attached the camera to the scope.  Here is the first thing I saw:

This image is a pic captured with my iphone off the small (and rather low-quality) monitor mounted on the scope. It is a 3-second integration and yet the colors are clearly visible, as is the 14.7 magnitude central star! This is all the more impressive as there was a full moon last night and a hazy sky.

One issue I had with the camera is that I was unable to achieve long integrations. When I programmed for, say, a 30-second exposure, the remote controls did appear to be performing the exposure, but the camera continued to update every 3 seconds. With a longer exposure, even more vivid color and structure would be visible.

Here's a pic of the camera itself. It's a beautiful piece of work hand-built and signed by Rock Mallin himself. The only problem is that the supplier I bought it from (not the US supplier) sent the wrong camera. I had ordered one with the enhanced imaging ship but they shipped the standard model by mistake. I returned the above camera today and I'm hoping it won't be too long until the new one is shipped. As we have about a week of rain ahead, I'm not too disappointed!

Here are a couple more images I took last night:

M13 is always gorgeous and even a 3-second exposure shows lots of stars.

The Dumbell Nebula is one of my favorite objects and, like the Ring Nebula, is well-placed for observation at this time of year.  A 3-second exposure is much too short for this object, but the image above still shows significant color and detail (the image on the screen was significantly better than this capture).

All in all, I'm looking forward to using this little camera as an adjunct to my CCD imaging. I recommend it highly to anyone who does public outreach, or who just wants to see color images of DSOs in record time!