Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kitchen Pass + Nature Pass = New Pictures!

Observation Log for May 12th, 2008

My 'Young Bride' gave me a Kitchen Pass on an evening when the sky was clear after 1 month of cloudy nights. Consequently, I was able to view and photograph some celestial objects.

Viewing conditions weren't the greatest. There was an abundance of moisture in the air that reflected light from a half-Moon. As a result, most deep space objects were washed out with light, but who am I to complain. At least it was clear.

Here are a few of the pictures that turned out:

M57 (The Ring Nebula) is at lower left and Beta Lyra (Sheliak) is at upper right. M57 is a planetary nebula (gas remnants of a star that went super nova). Beta Lyrae (Sheliak) is a group of eclipsing binary stars that ar locked in one anothers gravitational fields.

Mizar & Alcor Binary Stars:
The Double Star in the Big Dipper portion of Ursa Major is actually multiple binary stars.
The star at upper-center is actually a binary pair named Mizar A (magnitude 2.2) and Mizar B (magnitude 4). Mizar B is not visible in this picture. The star at lower-center is Alcor (magnitude 4). The star at right-of-center is Sidus Ludoviciana (magnitude 8). I will try and split the Mizar binaries in a future viewing session.

M3 Globular Cluster in the constellation Canes Venatici.

M13 Globular Cluster in the constellation Hercules.

M5 Globular Cluster in the constellation Serpens Caput.

M12 globular Cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus.

M10 Globular Cluster in the constellation Ophiuchus.

Meteorites @@@@@@

@ The Mars Phoenix probe landed successfully on the Martian surface on Sunday, May 25th, 2008. Link: http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/

@@ COOL DOWNLOAD - Microsoft has launched an interactive planetarium website. If you don't have a telescope, use this website to explore the heavens. Very, very cool!
Link: http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/

@@@ Good News! In June, when the ISS can be next viewed in the D.C. area, one of the NBC4 meteorologists may use my ISS photo (See my previous Blog) as an example of what local viewers can see when the ISS passes overhead.

Praying for Clear Skies!



Thursday, May 22, 2008

International Space Station Passage - May 22nd, 2008

The International Space Station (ISS) passed over our local area tonight (05/22/2008), and for once it was NOT cloudy. Above is the picture I took at 21:32 EDT as the ISS passed through the Big Dipper portion of Ursa Major. I used a tripod so there is some star trailing.

It was beautiful seeing the ISS pass from South to North along the meridian.

Here are the camera settings I used to compose the picture:

Mount: Tripod
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: 50mm F/1.8 @ F/3.5
ISO Sensitivity: 400
Exposure: 40 Seconds
Time: 21:32 EDT

Three of four stars in the 'Cup' of the Big Dipper and two stars in the 'Handle' are visible.


Star Pilot