Full Moon: April Fools

Even mother nature likes April Fools day. Tonight has been crystal clear with very good seeing. Ideal for astrophotography, except the moons full tonight. Yes one could do narrow band imaging but I’m not set up to do that with my DSLR.

Time for some good old visual astronomy. Saturn was awesum in the eyepiece. The steady seeing allowed me to use more magnification than normal. But that moon sure is bright!

A Rose For Christmas

Out in the Flint Hills on Saturday, December 23rd for some dark sky time. The weather was not bad dropping to around 29 degrees F. I was able to capture enough exposures for a new image: the Rosette Nebula. While I was hoping to get a bit more exposure time a line of clouds formed and cut the night a bit short. But overall the night out was a nice holiday treat.

Thanksgiving Clear Sky

New image: The Flaming star nebula, IC 405. Taken November 23, Thanksgiving night, from Clearfield Observatory.

The sky was very clear Thanksgiving night as an approaching low pressure system was pulling dry air over my area. This is one of the longer exposures I have done with over 35 individual exposures taken that night.

This picture was done with the telescope at f4.5 using the Astro-Physics .75 telecompressor. In the past I have not used this configuration as much because the vignetting from the two inch camera adapter is significantly greater than the f6 field flattener configuration. This leads to problems when processing the final photograph. But with my light box I can take flat field frames that corrects this problem. I should have been doing this all along as this has increased my photographic options with only a small amount of additional work.

Weak Leonids

Friday night, November 17th, I met Phil in the Flint Hills for a night of meteor observing. The sky was clear and the temperatures were ok at low 40s. The wind was bothersome; steady 10mph or better all night with gusts up to 15 or 20mph at times. While not watching for the elusive Leonid meteors I was taking pictures.

New image: The Seagull nebula, IC 2177. Imaging sequence started around 2:30am. Temperature had dropped to 30 degrees F.

There were very few Leonid meteors until early Saturday morning. I saw more sporadic meteors until around 4:00am. The frequency of Leonids increased the last few hours before end of darkness with most being fast and faint streaks. Overall a weak display, Leo-NOTs as we started calling them.

Mercury Transit

Well the transit is over for me; sun is too low for my location. But you could not have asked for a better day here around Lawrence. Hot and sunny, no clouds!

Of course to look at the sun you need a special filter. I constructed my Baader solar filter for my AP130 scope this morning. I’ve had the material forever and just needed a good excuse to finish it. Works fantastic. The view is bright and crisp. Using a 17mm eyepiece on my scope the suns whole disk was visible with the little dot of Mercury slowly working its way across the sun. A giant new sunspot was visible, dwarfing the little spot that Mercury was.

I did not intend to photograph this event since I was not setup with the right equipment. But I could not resist attaching the Canon 20d to the scope and shooting off a few exposures using eyepiece projection. To be posted later.