Showing posts from March, 2015

Conjunction Between the Moon and Venus on 3-22-2015

Here's a pic I took while stuck in a traffic jam on I 65 south of Lafayette, IN. Not a great pic as I took it through glass with my Samsung Note 4, but the Moon and Venus are clearly visible. It was a beautiful and striking sight. Both were low in the west and I was hoping to get home and take an image before they set. The traffic jam slowed things down, but it was also a fortunate event--2 minutes after taking this pic, the western sky was completely overcast!  It's an ill wind.... :)

The Sun 03-16-2015

A frequent contributor to the Yahoo PST group not only takes great solar images and time-lapse videos, he also has some great ideas. Today, I tried his technique of removing the barrel from the ASI 120MM imager and placing it directly over the eyepiece barrel of the PST. I tried this technique in a very rapid imaging session over lunchtime. I held the camera in place with a rubber band with the camera body slightly tilted. The results were pretty good for a first attempt, and most importantly, the Newton's Rings that have plagued my images are eliminated!  I plan on experimenting more in the next days and weeks to see if I can get close to matching some of his superb images.

These pix show AR 2297 prominently. It's a region that has been cracking with X-Class flares.

Sun Pillar

I was driving home last night, enjoying a spectacular sunset. As it developed, a sun pillar appeared. The pillar seemed to spread from a bright, compact core (visible in the image; the sun was actually below the horizon). It looked like a faint cross for a while (but very different and much smaller than those associated with Sun Dogs). So here's the pic--a lovely interaction between an astronomical object, our sun, and the ice crystals in our atmosphere.

The Orion Region

Tonight I imaged a larger part of the Orion nebula complex using the Orion 80mm ED apochromat mounted on the 14 inch. The poor quality Meade diagonal I use with the Orion fell apart twice and the camera dropped 5 feet onto solid concrete. It is a testimony to the quality of Mallincam products that the camera was completely unaffected--not even a scratch!

Here are the images. I was hoping to image the Running Man Nebula, but the light scatter caused by a light haze, washed it out completely, even with a Skyglow filter.

Processing Jupiter--When is it enough, and when too much?

I took some images of Jupiter a few days ago and I just got around to processing them. Seeing was below average. Images were captured with a 14 inch ACF and ASI 120MM camera. After stacking, I processed them with the unsharp mask in Photoshop. The unsharp mask really pulls detail out of the image, but there's a fine line between "enough" and "too much," as these examples show. It's an interesting conundrum as the most processed image shows more details, but definitely looks unnatural and overcooked.

M43--De Mairan's Nebula

One the edge of M42, the Great Nebula in Orion, is M43, also known as De Mairan's Nebula. This H II region is separated from M42 by a large lane of dark dust. The image is a single capture with a MCJR Pro and 14 inch ACF. Image was taken on 3-07-2015.

The Sun on 3-6-2015

Finally, after weeks of being below the tree line, and more weeks of temperatures far below freezing, I was able to start imaging the sun again. Although this puzzling SolarMax is coming to an end, H-Alpha imaging can still show an enormous amount of interesting detail on a disk that may look featureless in white light. These images show long, filaments, a glowing active area, and a looping prominence. Even though the sun is heading for a quieter period, there will still be lots to see; a new, flaring, active area is moving onto the disk.