Tuesday, 28 June 2022 15:07

Ross 154, also known as V1216 Sgr is a red dwarf UV Ceti type flare star. Studied by Frank Elmore Ross in the 1920's for its variability and its proper motion. Located some 9.7 light years away, makes it currently the 6th closest star to our solar system. Despite the closeness, being a red dwarf, its magnitude is only 10.4 which requires an optical aid to see it. It's estimated to be a relative your star at 1 billion years. And so far no planets or circumstellar dust disk has been detected around it.

Wednesday, 15 June 2022 16:02

A very large red giant star located withing the constellation bounds of Sagittarius. If it was located where our Sun was, it would extend out past Mars. A pulsating long period variable star with a long period of around 670 days. It varies in magnitude from 8.5 to 11.0 over its long period, with a smaller magnitude pulsation period of around a third of a day. There are no reliable distance measurements other that its far enough away that parallax measurements are currently unreliable.  It is the reddish brighter star located near the center. A rich star field for a back drop as we look towards the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022 14:26

HD 84406 is located in the constellation of Ursa Major, and a yellow star of spectral type G, and shines at a magnitude of 6.9, just dimmer than a person can see without optical aid.

What is special about HD 84406? Actually not too much as stars go, but that is a good thing as it was used for the initial focusing of the new James Webb space telescope.

Some of the constraints were the star would have to be in the field of view for the telescope for the entire collimation of the mirrors. The star couldn't be too bright which would cause issues with the sensors. Also the star needed to be in an uncrowded area by other stars. And of course the star needs to be stable with a constant magnitude.

Monday, 30 May 2022 16:31

A red dwarf star located in the constellation of Leo, its the reddish star located in the center of the image. It's name comes from astronomer Max Wolf who studied that exhibit large proper motion across the sky. A star with a large proper motion appears to move across the sky over the years. Most are relative close stars that their movement can be measured over the years.

One of the closer stars at 7.9 light years, but because its one of the dimmest of the local red dwarfs, its magnitude is a faint 13.5.

Image of Wolf 359 taken in 2015, compared to its current location shows its movement over the years.Wolf 359 2015-2022

Sunday, 24 April 2022 12:33

One classification of open clusters is the Trumpler classification. It consists of 3 parameters, the first is the degree of concentration.

I - Detached clusters with strong central concentration.
II - Detached clusters with little central concentration.
III - Detached cluster with no noticeable concentration.
IV - Clusters not well detached, but has a strong field concentration.

The second parameter is the range of brightness.

1 - Most of the cluster stars are nearly the same apparent brightness.
2 - A medium range of brightness between the stars in the cluster.
3 - Cluster is composed of bright and faint stars.

The last parameter categorizes the number of stars in the cluster.

p - Poor clusters with less than 50 stars.
m - Medium rich cluster with 50-100 stars.
r - Rich clusters with over 100 stars.

If the cluster any type of nebulosity, the letter "n" is added to the last parameter.


First up is Messier 34, located in the constellation of Perseus. Consisting of over 100 stars, in a space of a diameter of 14 light years. It is some 1,500 light years distance and shines at an apparent magnitude of 5.5 at an estimated age of 200 million years.

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 17:16

iTelescope.net is an web based network of remotely controlled telescopes currently based in four areas. The service has telescopes based in New Mexico, and California in the United States, in Spain, and in Australia. Using a web browser, one can control or upload a planned observation that can reserve telescope time and execute automatically at the appointed time. It describes itself as a Self-Funding Observatory with most of the profits invested back into upgrading their operation.

Friday, 01 July 2016 22:01

Here are a few of the images I've taken with the new camera and equipment. Still working out the bugs with the new equipment and camera.

First up is the Great Globular Cluster in the constellation of Hercules. Imaged under a full Moon, so not the best imaging conditions.

Friday, 03 June 2016 21:49

Just received a new camera, and no charge for the extended cloudiness that comes with any astronomical purchase. Received a just out ASI 1600MM-Cool camera. It is a 16 megapixel 4/3 CMOS sensor, that has a resolution of 4656 x 3520 pixels, and a pixel size of 3.8 nanometers. It also has a two stage TEC cooling system that can take the sensor down to 40C below the ambient temperature. It also has a very low read noise, which is good for deep sky, and with its relatively high frame rate it can also be used as a planetary camera. Looking forward to trying it out in both types of imaging.



Saturday, 23 April 2016 15:35

 After using the dome for several years, started thinking about the next observatory. Wanted the capability of using two scopes in those seeming rare clear moonless nights, and the ability to image without having to rotate the dome. At the time, automating my dome was looking rather difficult and expensive.

Settled on a roll off roof observatory, and after doing research, ordered plans for a SkyShed RoR. Picked the 10 foot by 10 foot one, based on my ability to haul the supplies, and most likely I would be building it by myself.

Thursday, 21 April 2016 14:44

 When you first start astrophotography, it quickly becomes apparent how much a convenience a permanent setup brings. First you have to bring out the tripod, the counterweights, and the scope. Then haul out the power, either battery(s) or A/C cord. Then a table for the computer, then the computer. Then all the cables to control the mount, the cameras. Then the mount has to be polar aligned with the axis of the earth so the mount can track objects better as they rotate through the sky. Of course, by then, clouds will appear out of no wheres.

So a high priority was to build a permanent setup for the scope and equipment. I decided to tackle building a dome, well because I think domes are cool. They also do a great job of blocking wind, reducing dew, and any stray light, which luckily I don't have much of a problem with.