The Pleiades

New image: M45 The Pleiades, from Clearfield Observatory on October 28th. Also called the seven sisters, this is the finest open cluster in the night sky.

The series of images used to create this photograph were taken about the time of changing off Daylight Savings Time (DST). So I gained an extra hour of darkness that morning.

Updated 2006.11.03: I reprocessed the image to better hold details while keeping noise down.

A Shower and A Comet

October 21st was the peak of the Orionid meteor shower. It was cloudy in my area until Sunday so I missed the main show. This is unfortunate, the activity reported this year by various observers on mailing lists described higher than normal activity. That increase is confirmed by a report in the Meteor Activity Outlook by Robert Lunsford. From the page:

The Orionids (ORI) put on a fantastic display this past weekend. Rates were three times than what were expected. Rates are still above normal at around 10-15 per hour.”

Sunday night (10/23) Phil and I met in the Flint Hills to catch Comet Swan. We were bothered by clouds all night and I was not successful in getting a good picture. By 1:00 am we were seeing many Orionids, two days after the peak. Clearly the shower had been nice this year.

NGC 6888

New Image: NGC 6888, the Crescent nebula in Cygnus. From the Flint Hills on August 23rd, this is a redo of a shot I did last year at nearly the same time.

This time the sky was better and I exposed much longer. Post processing of this image is also much better than last year. Sky was clear all night but ground fog slowly enveloped the area and we had to quit around 1:00am.

Orionid Meteor Shower

The Oriniod Meteor Shower timing is very favorable this year: the moon is not a factor being new on the 22nd.

This shower is a result of Halley’s comet and is fairly weak with a ZHR of around 20. I watched this shower in 2003 and saw very few meteors; certainly less than I expected.

A Full Moon

Last night was a full moon, the Harvest Moon to be precise. And this year it appeared bigger than normal being at perigee. The sky was very clear and? the moon seemed brighter than usual, a very pretty sight. No pictures, just a visual? experience.