Thursday, November 24, 2016

Almost the supermoon!

I had a bunch of moon photos from right before the super moon...

Time to put them out there!
 A little over half...
 Once again...

 This was just shooting with the camera out of the door on top of the observatory.
 This looks like the night before full
 And again...
This is the difference between shooting through the telescope and shooting just through a zoom lens, this is at 250mm of zoom!


I was going to go out and post this album a while back but I got swamped with other responsibilities, bad weather, snow, flying monkeys.  These kind of things happen.

Oh well, better late than never!

Meagan and I went down to Brighton Beach in Duluth, Minnesota so we could shoot the Supermoon rising up over Lake Superior.  I knew that the atmosphere would bend the light of the moon as it rose on the horizon, and that is exactly what I wanted to catch.
 No moon yet....
 There is some moon!
 Little more...
 Pretty much fully up, but notice how squashed the moon is as it sits in the zone of interference right along the horizon.

 Still looks like a squashed potato.

 As the moon rises it also gets less and less red.

 There must have been a temperature inversion as it squished up again.

 Only for a moment...

Finally I went back to the observatory and got a real shot with the telescope!  SUPERMOON!

Saturday, November 19, 2016


There is something to be said about time, timing, time spent, time lost, time served, time clocks, time.

Eventually I will have the time to come back to this draft and finish this thought.

Right now is not that time.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Update from the observatory

So, I have the laptop out in the observatory now.  I have enough wifi available so that I can update the blog.  I have heat, I have a couch, I have music.

I need a kleenex, but alas, I can get a box of tissues later.

In the meantime I can write out here now!

I can paint out here now!

I can leave things set up and no one will mess with them because I have the only key!

Basically, I have built a really smart man cave.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Pluto is not very easy to see... However, not impossible to see.

Pluto is damn.... damn....  DAMN!!!!! dim.

That being said, here is the moon.

 Slightly more moon than yesterday, it looks like the clear skies are going to disappear for a few days, and I have to work in the mornings, so by the time we get back to the moon it will either be really big or getting smaller.
 Ok, Pluto is in this picture..  No really, its there...  It is really, really, really damn faint however, that and the clouds, plus the moon light, and that it was not far after sunset made it a really really hard shot.  I am going to do some processing and cropping and I will see what I get...  Maybe by the end of this blog.
 This is Mizar, (the really bright one in the center) the second brightest star in the picture (up and to the left) is Alcor.  If you look REALLY closely at Mizar you may notice that it isn't just one star, it is two stars.

Ok, here is the really fun part, Alcor us actually two stars as it has a red dwarf companion, Mizar is actually 4 stars rotating as two groups of two stars orbiting around each other.  The pairs that make up the stars of Mizar are so close that they can only be percieved using spectography!

Now the fun history part, Mizar and Alcor make up the second star from the end of the handle in the Big Dipper.  Back in the olden days the ability to see them as two stars is what allowed you to be an archer in the Greek army, or something like that.
This is Shedir in Cassiopeia.  The fun thing about this is that it is in the Milky Way, and as a result this picture is really damn busy.
Ok, I promised....  But it is not very impressive, I will try again on a dark night, more than an hour after sunset, although this may not be for several months...
Theoertically                                    ^

There is a barely visible slightly faint spot near the blue stuck pixel, should be above the little carrot thing, although screen resolutions will throw that all to shit.

Sorry, no pluto yet...

I just missed...

No really, it was not very dark yet either, but give it some time.

Here are a few more...
I always start with the moon, it is a really good object for getting the focus set.
 And if you wiggle over a little bit you can get the light side really nice.  Atsome point I am going to combine two of these images so you can get both sides.
 The Cigar galaxy, one of my favorites.
 Mars, a touch over exposed, but the color lines are cool, there is also an odd circle about where the outermost moon should be.
That blue dot almost in the center, that's Uranus....

Like I said I tried to get Pluto, unfortunately I missed by about .2 degrees...  I am having a few alignment issues, seems to wander more than it should, my battery may be getting dead though.  I have the power adapter for it, I would just have to run a cord until I get an outlet up there tomorrow.

Oh, and there is this thing too...

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A quick night of observations

Ok, all I have is the moon and M42, but holy shit balls...

First the moon!
 The clouds are amazing, but look at the detail of the dark side!
 And now the light side...
 and another shot of the light side!
Now, a couple of hours later when the sky is actually dark, a shot of M42 in Orion there was no photoshopping, this is raw!

I am going to be up in the observatory again tonight!  I am going to do some cleaning and I have been doing trim work all day, but hey, guess what, the fundraiser is still running!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Another close call on the Asteroid front!

Asteroid 2016 VA went skimming past the Earth yesterday, the miss distance was 50,000 miles, give or take...  This is only one fifth the distance from the Earth to the Moon!

It wasn't a big rock, not a life-on-Earth coming to an abrupt end kind of thing, but big enough that if it made it into the atmosphere it would be similar to that rock that hit Russia a coupe of year back, if it had a more direct path and hit a populated area it would be a bad scene in that immediate area.

The fun thing is that this rock is in our neighborhood and sticking around!  Expect another close call on Novembr 2nd 2024!  According to he forecast at its closest it would still miss by 70,000 miles, but could miss by as much as 2 million miles...  I am guessing they will narrow that down a bit over time.