Lunar Eclipse Photos

Lunar Eclipse Photos

I have to admit it: It was blisteringly cold and there were intermittent clouds and I missed the lunar eclipse. But, I still got to see it thanks to John S Gianforte of Blue Sky Observatory. He caught the images above (click for larger versions) using a Meade 127ED refractor at f/9 with a Canon 20Da DSLR. The sequence above was taken by Richard Drumm. Rich said the image was taken with a “Nikon D-70 at prime focus of an Orion Atlas 10 reflector. Totality image is a stack of 2 images (stacked by hand in PhotoShop). The little star (HIP 50370/TYC 840-1499-1 mag 8.5, 1,124 LY, non-variable binary >10” sep, 3.6 solar radii) in the totality image had to be stacked separately from the Moon as the Moon had moved slightly between images. The 2 totality...

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Quick Share: Asteroid 2007 TU24 & SN2008A

Quick Share: Asteroid 2007 TU24 & SN2008A

Image is link from Dr. Richard Steinberg’s website at Drexel University. It is the combination of (I think) 52 two-second exposure images of asteroid 2007 TU24. Serendipitously caught in the image are NGC 634 and its most recent supernova, SN2008A. (The cross hairs in this image mark the Supernova). If you click on the image it will take you to an animated gif of the asteroid moving through the sky. Giant hat type to Derek C Breit who posted this on the AAVSO-Photometry listserv.

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Go out, look up, see the Geminids

The other night, while driving home, I saw the constellation Orion looming large over the horizon. This leaning ancient warrior was fighting off Taurus the Bull as he does every winter from here in the Northern Hemisphere. The return of this particular set of stars to my home commute can only mean 2 things, 1) I stayed on campus far too late (which wasn’t the case) or 2) it’s almost the end of the semester (which was the case). For me, the end of the semester marks several coincident things that I need to pay attention to. The first is final’s week (next Monday through Friday), the second is my Birthday (Wednesday) and the third is the Geminids meteor shower ( now through about December 17, peaking December 13-14. (see here for free chart...

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AAVSO: Day 1

AAVSO: Day 1

I’m currently at the AAVSO meeting in Cambridge, MA. I just had one of the most terrifying experience of my public speaking life. I attached my laptop to the overhead projector cable and my CPU DIED. Died died died died died. I paniced (and hopefully hid it well), rebooted, and my computer decide it was going to do a split screen display with the projector as the primary monitor (EEK), and fixed it, all while going through the “pictures aren’t required” intro part of my talk (EEK EEK). When I opened PowerPoint I totally missed that it opened a recovered file instead of the correct file (ACK!), and half way through my talk I ceased to slides (breath breath breath), so I closed the recovered file, opened the correct file, and made it...

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Comet 17P/Holmes

If the Sun is down and you are in the northern hemisphere, look at the finder chart here and then go outside and look at this object. Now. This website will still be here when you get back. Hi there. Have a good time? No one quite knows what happened. This normally bland, boring, not visible without a fairly large telescope comet suddenly decided to flare into something that can be seen from big cities. Personally, I can’t wait to see the science on this one.  One of the best collections of data I’ve seen so far is here. There is an annulus of material (from an outburst? from a tail seen face on? from both?), jets, and evidence of molecular carbon in the tail. Why? No idea. Go look again :-)  Will discuss this more when the science papers...

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Making photometric data fit in a Standard System Using Excel

Making photometric data fit in a Standard System Using Excel

This entry goes out to all you amazing observers who want to do better science with your photometric data. Over on the AAVSO listervs I also see emails from folks asking for good comparison stars for variable stars, especially those one off variables – supernova and nova – that tend to go off once, or once in a lifetime. This discussion (based on the talk I gave at AstroFest Saturday) will help those of you wanting to come up with your own comp stars make the measurements you need. For those of you not wanting to get into the special details of photometry, rest assured tomorrow I’ll have a special online treat 🙂 Now onto the the nitty-gritty data analysis details… There are several different ways to obtain astronomical data. Perhaps the...

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