Saturday, 30 May 2020 12:06

Messier 13 is located in the constellation of Hercules naturally. It contains an estimated 300,000 stars and is located some 22,000 light years away, with an estimated age of 11.6 billion years old.

Friday, 29 May 2020 16:43

Abell 2151 - The richest galaxy cluster of the  Hercules super galaxy cluster. It contains around 200 galaxies and is located some 500 light years away. It contains a wide variety of spirals and elliptical as well as lenticular galaxies.

Thursday, 28 May 2020 16:00

Wolf359 is a red dwarf star at a distance of 7.8 light years away from Earth. Located in the constellation of Leo it is one of the nearest stars. It is also one of the faintest low mass stars known. So despite its closeness, it takes a telescope to see it as it shines at a dim magnitude 13.5. A relative young star at less than 1 billion years, as a red dwarf, it will survive for a trillions of years. It is also a flare star with a high rate of flares. It possibly has two planetary objects around it. The Wolf designation comes from Max Wolf who studied high proper motion stars and kept a catalog of them. It's motion can be seen over the years across the sky.

Thursday, 21 May 2020 12:08

Messier 61 is a barred spiral galaxy located in Virgo, and part of the Virgo galaxy cluster. M61 is roughly the same size as our galaxy and is classified as a starburst galaxy that is undergoing a high rate of star formation. On May 6, supernova 2020jfo was discovered in the galaxy making it one of seven that has happened in this galaxy that has been observed this century.

Thursday, 14 May 2020 14:38

Messier 109 is a barred spiral located in Ursa Major, and the brightest galaxy of the M109 galaxy group. It has a radius of around 90,000 light years and contains an estimated 1 trillion stars. Charles Messier made note of the nebula, but it wasn't included in his original catalog. M104 through M110 were added later by other astronomers. Many distant background galaxies are in this view.

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.