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Astronomical Stargazer Thread


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#221 JamesR

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Posted 27 November 2019 - 2055 PM

 

Got one more finished before we moved.  This one is known as the Elephant trunk's nebula.  Like the others it's a false color image showing the ionized Hydrogen (Ha), Oxygen (O3) and Sulfur (S2).

 

get.jpg?insecure

 

I'm moving to significantly darker skies next month.  Also plan a few upgrades to my imaging rig, starting with a new mount.  After that probably a new camera and then a new scope.. something with a lot more focal length than what I'm using right now (336mm).

Interesting move. Where do you take these wonderful photos now?

 

 

I took most of the images from the backyard of my old house in North Austin, Texas.  I had a 4 lane road behind my house with obnoxiously bright white LED lights that my city was so proud of when installed several years ago.  Due to the street lights, I had my telescope setup on the north side in my house's shadow.  I had a tiny sliver a sky south, north and directly above.  No view east or west.  On the Bortle scale my old house was in class 8.  The new house is in Bortle class 4 skies and has a near 360 unobstructed views.

 

This image of the Elephants truck has over 20 hours exposure in it.  At the new house, I can probably get the same results in just a few hours.  Instead of needing several nights for an image, I'll be able to get it all done in a single night... or continue spending several nights on a single target and go much deeper than what I can do now.

 

Info about the bortle scale:  https://en.wikipedia...ki/Bortle_scale


Edited by JamesR, 27 November 2019 - 2107 PM.

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#222 Corinthian

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 0730 AM

I recently got the iOptron SkyGuider Pro with iPolar electronic polar alignment camera, and I am looking forward to tracked shooting the night sky soon.

 

I recently took a photo of the Saturn-Moon-Venus-Jupiter conjunction from the roof deck of my office building:

 

https://flic.kr/p/2hSGwSg/

 

49144133947_588d2541df_k.jpg


Edited by Corinthian, 01 December 2019 - 0732 AM.

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#223 Corinthian

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 0736 AM

A few months ago, I was able to take a photo of the Andromeda galaxy. I did not have a tracker at the time. I did stacking, using a GX85 mirrorless camera with Leica Summilux 15mm f1.7 prime lens. Image is stacked and cropped.

 

48967333693_304751bceb_h.jpg

 

I am looking forward to taking tracked photos of Andromeda with my Olympus 40-150mm f4-5.6 lens (will be shooting at 100mm). Since it is a micro four thirds system, the EFL is 200mm. I also ordered a Kamlan 50mm (EFL 100mm) f1.1 lens Mk II which I can't wait to use for night sky photography.


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#224 Panzermann

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 1723 PM

Wow. To catch the planets above a city at night.  :o


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#225 JamesR

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 0126 AM

I recently got the iOptron SkyGuider Pro with iPolar electronic polar alignment camera, and I am looking forward to tracked shooting the night sky soon.

 

I recently took a photo of the Saturn-Moon-Venus-Jupiter conjunction from the roof deck of my office building:

 

https://flic.kr/p/2hSGwSg/

 

Very Nice!  Your Andromeda looks great too.  Very impressive for not having any tracking on that one.  Looking forward to seeing what you can do with the new equipment.


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#226 JamesR

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 0135 AM

My imaging is finished for the year.  Everything is packed up for my move so I feel safe sharing this.  It's all the images I took in 2019. 

 

From top left to bottom right:

M42, Moon during Jan Eclipse, Jupiter, Saturn, Horse head and flame nebula, M82 (bodes galaxy & M81 (Cigar galaxy)

Milky way, M101 (pinwheel galaxy), M3 glob cluster, Moon in RGB, Moon in Mono

M16, M8, Pickering's Triangle, Elephant Trunks nebula.

 

NR4QxkGh.jpg

 

 

Larger resolution:

 

https://i.imgur.com/NR4QxkG.jpg

 


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#227 Tim Sielbeck

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 0212 AM

Great shots, James!


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#228 Mobius

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 0658 AM

Does anyone have Space Engine?


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#229 JamesR

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 2252 PM

Great shots, James!

 

Thanks!


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#230 DB

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 1144 AM

Wow. To catch the planets above a city at night.  :o

Should be easy in California, going forward.
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#231 Ivanhoe

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 1044 AM


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#232 Corinthian

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 0515 AM

49303927152_4ec4c396a4_h.jpg


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#233 Panzermann

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 0945 AM

Nice! :)


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#234 BansheeOne

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 0328 AM

Meanwhile, off the shoulder of Orion:

 

A giant star is acting strange, and astronomers are buzzing


The red giant Betelgeuse is the dimmest seen in years, prompting some speculation that the star is about to explode. Here's what we know.
 

 

PUBLISHED December 26, 2019

 

The constellation Orion is one of the most recognizable patterns in the night sky, visible around the world. But if you’ve looked at Orion recently and thought something seemed off, you’re not wrong: The giant red star Betelgeuse, which marks the hunter’s right shoulder, is the dimmest it’s been in almost a century.

 

Normally, Betelgeuse is among the 10 brightest stars in the sky. However, the red giant began dimming in October, and by mid-December, the star had faded so much it wasn’t even in the top 20, Villanova University’s Edward Guinan reported in an Astronomer’s Telegram.

 

“Now the outline of Orion is noticeably different with Betelgeuse so faint,” he says.

 

To be clear, dimming alone isn’t all that odd for a star like Betelgeuse. It’s what’s known as a variable star, and its shifts in brightness have been closely studied for decades. However, it is unusual for one of the sky’s most prominent points of light to fade so noticeably, prompting scientists to consider the possibility that something more exciting could be about to happen: Betelgeuse might explode and die, briefly blazing brighter than the full moon before vanishing from our night sky forever.

 

Huge, red stars like Betelgeuse live fast and die violently, exploding in stellar events called supernovae that are visible across vast distances. So, while Betelgeuse is a relatively young star—only about 8.5 million years old—astronomers know that it is nearing the end of its life.

 

“The biggest question now is when it will explode in a supernova,” UC Berkeley’s Sarafina Nance, who studies Betelgeuse and stellar explosions, said on Twitter. “Disclaimer: I don't think it's going to explode any time soon,” she added during an interview with National Geographic. “But I am excited [for] when it does.”

 

[...]

 

https://www.national...bout-supernova/


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#235 Panzermann

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 0512 AM

What? Mercury is closer?  :blink:

 

 

 

 

 

2 Mar 2019 in Commentary & Reviews

Venus is not Earth’s closest neighbor
Calculations and simulations confirm that on average, Mercury is the nearest planet to Earth—and to every other planet in the solar system.
 
Tom Stockman
Quick: Which planet is closest to Earth? Ask an astronomer or a search engine, and you’ll probably hear that though the situation changes frequently, Venus is the closest when averaged over time. Several educational websites, such as The Planets and Space Dictionary, publish the distance between each pair of planets, and they all show that Venus is nearest to Earth on average. They’re all wrong. NASA literature even tells us Venus is “our closest planetary neighbor,” which is true if we are talking about which planet has the closest approach to Earth but not if we want to know which planet is closest on average.
 
As it turns out, by some phenomenon of carelessness, ambiguity, or groupthink, science popularizers have disseminated information based on a flawed assumption about the average distance between planets. Using a mathematical method that we devised, we determine that when averaged over time, Earth’s nearest neighbor is in fact Mercury.
 
That correction is relevant to more than just Earth’s neighbors. The solution can be generalized to include any two bodies in roughly circular, concentric, and coplanar orbits. By using a more accurate method for estimating the average distance between two orbiting bodies, we find that this distance is proportional to the relative radius of the inner orbit. In other words, Mercury is closer to Earth, on average, than Venus is because it orbits the Sun more closely. Further, Mercury is the closest neighbor, on average, to each of the other seven planets in the solar system.
 
Simple but wrong
To calculate the average distance between two planets, The Planets and other websites assume the orbits are coplanar and subtract the average radius of the inner orbit, r1, from the average radius of the outer orbit, r2. The distance between Earth (1 astronomical unit from the Sun) and Venus (0.72 AU) comes out to 0.28 AU. The table at the bottom of the article shows the calculated distance between each pair of planets using that method.
 
Although it feels intuitive that the average distance between every point on two concentric ellipses would be the difference in their radii, in reality that difference determines only the average distance of the ellipses’ closest points. Indeed, when Earth and Venus are at their closest approach, their separation is roughly 0.28 AU—no other planet gets nearer to Earth. But just as often, the two planets are at their most distant, when Venus is on the side of the Sun opposite Earth, 1.72 AU away. We can improve the flawed calculation by averaging the distances of closest and farthest approach (resulting in an average distance of 1 AU between Earth and Venus), but finding the true solution requires a bit more effort.
 
A better approach
To more accurately capture the average distance between planets, we devised the point-circle method. The PCM treats the orbits of two objects as circular, concentric, and coplanar. For our solar system, that’s a pretty reasonable assumption: The eight planets have an average orbital inclination of 2.6° ± 2.2°, and the average eccentricity is 0.06 ± 0.06. An object in a circular orbit maintains constant velocity, which means that over a sufficiently long period, it is equally likely to be in any position in that orbit. We consider a planet’s position at any given time as a uniform probabilistic distribution around a circle defined by the average orbital radius, as shown in figure 1a. The average distance between two planets can therefore be described as the average distance of every point on the circle c2, defined by r2, to every point on the circle c1, defined by r1.
 
(...)
 

​

 
 
read the whole thing with graphs and stuff:  https://physicstoday...20190312a/full/
 
 
 
for the reading impaired there is a video:
 
 
 
I really like how he happily talks about his findings and how he did it. You can really hear the joy of science. :)

Edited by Panzermann, 25 January 2020 - 0603 AM.

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#236 Mobius

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Posted 26 January 2020 - 1546 PM

 

What? Mercury is closer?  :blink:

 

 

 

 

 

2 Mar 2019 in Commentary & Reviews

Venus is not Earth’s closest neighbor
Calculations and simulations confirm that on average, Mercury is the nearest planet to Earth—and to every other planet in the solar system.
 
Tom Stockman
Quick: Which planet is closest to Earth? Ask an astronomer or a search engine, and you’ll probably hear that though the situation changes frequently, Venus is the closest when averaged over time. Several educational websites, such as The Planets and Space Dictionary, publish the distance between each pair of planets, and they all show that Venus is nearest to Earth on average. They’re all wrong. NASA literature even tells us Venus is “our closest planetary neighbor,” which is true if we are talking about which planet has the closest approach to Earth but not if we want to know which planet is closest on average.
 
As it turns out, by some phenomenon of carelessness, ambiguity, or groupthink, science popularizers have disseminated information based on a flawed assumption about the average distance between planets. Using a mathematical method that we devised, we determine that when averaged over time, Earth’s nearest neighbor is in fact Mercury.
 
That correction is relevant to more than just Earth’s neighbors. The solution can be generalized to include any two bodies in roughly circular, concentric, and coplanar orbits. By using a more accurate method for estimating the average distance between two orbiting bodies, we find that this distance is proportional to the relative radius of the inner orbit. In other words, Mercury is closer to Earth, on average, than Venus is because it orbits the Sun more closely. Further, Mercury is the closest neighbor, on average, to each of the other seven planets in the solar system.
 
Simple but wrong
To calculate the average distance between two planets, The Planets and other websites assume the orbits are coplanar and subtract the average radius of the inner orbit, r1, from the average radius of the outer orbit, r2. The distance between Earth (1 astronomical unit from the Sun) and Venus (0.72 AU) comes out to 0.28 AU. The table at the bottom of the article shows the calculated distance between each pair of planets using that method.
 
Although it feels intuitive that the average distance between every point on two concentric ellipses would be the difference in their radii, in reality that difference determines only the average distance of the ellipses’ closest points. Indeed, when Earth and Venus are at their closest approach, their separation is roughly 0.28 AU—no other planet gets nearer to Earth. But just as often, the two planets are at their most distant, when Venus is on the side of the Sun opposite Earth, 1.72 AU away. We can improve the flawed calculation by averaging the distances of closest and farthest approach (resulting in an average distance of 1 AU between Earth and Venus), but finding the true solution requires a bit more effort.
 
A better approach
To more accurately capture the average distance between planets, we devised the point-circle method. The PCM treats the orbits of two objects as circular, concentric, and coplanar. For our solar system, that’s a pretty reasonable assumption: The eight planets have an average orbital inclination of 2.6° ± 2.2°, and the average eccentricity is 0.06 ± 0.06. An object in a circular orbit maintains constant velocity, which means that over a sufficiently long period, it is equally likely to be in any position in that orbit. We consider a planet’s position at any given time as a uniform probabilistic distribution around a circle defined by the average orbital radius, as shown in figure 1a. The average distance between two planets can therefore be described as the average distance of every point on the circle c2, defined by r2, to every point on the circle c1, defined by r1.
 
(...)
 

​

 
 
read the whole thing with graphs and stuff:  https://physicstoday...20190312a/full/
 
 
 
for the reading impaired there is a video:
 
 
 
I really like how he happily talks about his findings and how he did it. You can really hear the joy of science. :)

 

I understand the theory but if he is going to go through the theoretical by comparing every point in the orbits he might as well tell us the closest average in the next and past 100 years.  Then the answers might be different.  Using the theory the sun is closer on average than any two planets are to each other.


Edited by Mobius, 26 January 2020 - 1547 PM.

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#237 JamesR

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Posted 26 January 2020 - 1737 PM

Finished up my first image of 2020!  This is an image of an open star cluster known as Melotte 15. This star cluster is at the center of the Heart Nebula, near the constellation Cassiopeia. This picture is focused on the center, the entire nebula really does look like a heart. The stars at the center are young and some of the big ones are 50 times as massive as our own sun. The light from the nebula region is mostly coming from ionized hydrogen with some sulfur and oxygen. The heart nebula is around 7500 light years from us. This image has 21 hours of exposure, taken with a 70mm triplet refractor, a monochrome camera and three filters (Ha, O3 & S2).

 

get.jpg?insecure

 


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#238 Tim Sielbeck

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 0024 AM

Sweet!


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#239 Corinthian

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 0601 AM

Beautiful shot, JamesR!

 

I am missing one piece of my astrophotography rig which is the ASIAir Pro. Alas, recent issues means I'll be able to get it later in the year. I will instead have to use my laptop which severely limits the places where I can shoot the night sky.

 

My current rig:

 

Lumix GX85

Olympus 50-150mm f4-5.6 telefoto

Leica Summilux 15mm prime

iOptron SkyGuider Pro tracker

ZSO120mini + ZSO 30mm guidescope

 

Would really love to have the SpaceCat telescope for astrophotography but the import duties will easily make it almost twice the price. :(


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#240 lucklucky

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 1935 PM

Very nice, What we would see with just our eyes?  - i mean if they had more range -


Edited by lucklucky, 27 January 2020 - 1936 PM.

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