Tuesday, March 31, 2009

M3 Globular Cluster

At long last, I was able to take my telescope and camera out for an evening when there was no wind, little haze and a new Moon.

The picture I am posting tonight is of Messier Object M3, one of the brightest globular clusters in the sky.

Under dark skies M3 is naked eye visible, and under city lights the cluster can be seen with binoculars, if you know where to look.

M3 rises in the eastern sky after sunset and is visible shortly thereafter. This very bright globular cluster is located in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is magnitude 6.3 (bright for a cluster) and is a mere 11 light years across.

M3 has been said to contain over 240,000 stars, 25,000 of which are variable stars (the most of any deep space object).

The object is located 33,900 light years from our Solar System, a distance farther than the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, but it outshines the glactic center, at least from our perspective.

Stay tuned for more images from my most recent night under the stars.

Clear Skies at Last!



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Something New

At long last I had a chance to take some astro photos. I have a loooooong way to go to master my new telescope, mount and camera, but these two images, though raw and untouched are better than anything I have done previously.

M42 - The Great Orion Nebula (My hopes of imaging several Orion deep space objects have been dashed from consistently cloudy skies. Orion is moving out of sight quickly, so I may have to postpone that task until Fall).

M81 (Bodes Galaxy) & M82 9Cigar Galaxy) upper-right & lower-left respectively, are two of many deep space treasures in the constellation Ursa Major (The Big Dipper). In the weeks to come I hope to image many of these objects.

Come back soon. If the weather cooperates, i will have many more pictures to share.

Star Pilot (soon to become Sky Voyager, maybe)