Wednesday, January 18, 2017

imaged NGC 2403 (Halifax)

I really didn't want to go for galaxies with the Moon out. Alas, BGO imaged NGC 2403 (aka Caldwell 7) for me. A big spiral galaxy in The Giraffe. One of the RASC Finest NGCs.

RASC Finest galaxy NGC 2403 luminance

Luminance only, 60 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

Seems soft or dim. Maybe I'll try again later...

An interesting feature of this canted galaxy, even though over 10 million light-years away, is the very large nebula visible. That's NGC 2404. To us, it appears just east of the core.

revisited M67 (Halifax)

I added the open cluster M67 (NGC 2682 or King Cobra) to my imaging queue for the BGO robot as I could only find one log entry for the Messier. Wanted to visit it again. Also, the loose cluster in Cancer is filled with double stars! A good target for a Moony-sky.

Messier 67 with many double stars in luminance

Luminance only, 30 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

I can see BKO 38, BKO 37, BKO 35, CHE 118, BKO 39, CHE 119, BKO 41, BKO 45, CHE 126, BKO 43, CHE 127, CHE 125, EX Cnc, CHE 121, and CHE 120.

Wow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

focused on NGC 2244 (Halifax)

I continue to acquire images of the RASC Finest NGCs. The Rosette Nebula, NGC 2237, is one of them. But the Rosette is huge! To capture it all would take at least 9 panels with the Burke-Gaffney robot. I didn't feel like doing that (again). Instead, I considered centering on an interesting feature, perhaps some of the pillars...

When the Moon brightened, I thought that Monoceros nebula would be dimmed so put it aside. But then I realised the open cluster within, in the centre of the vast structure, could be easily imaged in a bright sky. So I selected NGC 2244 as my target and specifically centered on the star GSC 00154 02417. It also harbours some multi-star systems...

open cluster NGC 2244 within Rosette in luminance

Luminance only, 30 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

Hints of the H-II region nebula are visible because I cranked the stretching. But that's blowing out the bright stars and merging some of the companions.

Multi-star system HD 46150 is just north of centre. There are 10 identified stars according to SkyTools 3 Pro. A, B, C, D, and E are all merged together. The southward lobe is E; the westward bump is D. F is due north. G and H form a triangle with HD 259105 to the south-south-west of 46150. J is to the south-south-east and further along is K to the south-east.

Double HD 259012 is to the south-west of centre. A and B are merged.

Beyond is the cool quad of HD 46056 with the four stars in a line angle up to the north-west.

Near the bottom-left corner of the frame is HD 259332. Unfortunately, the C star is cut-off. There's something interesting going on with the stars immediately to the north too.

Triple HD 46180 is visible to the east-north-east of 46150. A and B are merged; C is just visible above the peanut.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Moon over the trees (Bradford)

Bree said the Moon as coppery. She thought it beautiful. Must has been rising up over the road way as she drove home. Rhonda headed out to the deck. OK. I'll go. It was low but just visible over the trees. Hints of yellow now. Gibbous.

not so clear (Bradford)

Alerts and Facebook posts suggested it was going to be clear. But I saw wispy clouds from the deck.

tried the Spirograph (Halifax)

Thought I'd try IC 418 with the Burke-Gaffney robot, a planetary nebula in Lepus, aka the Spirograph Nebula. Whoa. Very tiny but very bright. All the channels seem to be blown out in exposure so it would have to be shot much faster.

planetary nebula IC 418 in luminance

Red only, 60 seconds subexposures, 5 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

analysed 19 Pup

Had a look into 19 Pup. It appears in my second image of NGC 2539. The C star appears different than how SkyTools 3 Pro presented it. I also wondered about the other nearby stars. I checked the data in the Washington Double Star database.

The BGO image shows C, D, and E stars in positions closely matching ST3P. The B star is lost in the glare of A.

It looks like the C star moved: ST3P says the position angle is 299° but WDS says it is 302°. That's 302 as of the year 2000. Interestingly, the WDS shows 299 but on the discovery date in 1898! Slow. 120 years.

ST3P does not refer to an F star as indicated in the WDS. It's in my image. ST3P shows the faint star J081112.1-125349 near this position, pretty well on the angle of 329°. Also, ST3P shows the bright star GSC 05434-2980 further along; there is no star in the image at this position.

A more careful analyses of my image suggests all the position angles are good. I concur with the new 302 angle for C. E appears to have changed a bit, to 257° vs 256. F looks pretty good too. Arguably it might be 328 and a half! (I guess, at greater separations, the position angles measured in whole units becomes more coarse.) The WDS shows 327 from 1902 and 329 from 2011 suggesting it is increasing (er, going counter-clockwise).

Roughly scaling and measuring the separations in my image (with the WDS numbers in parentheses), I get AC as 30.5 (30.7), AD as 58.3 (57.8), AE as 69.4 (70.1), and AF as 113.8 (114.1). Huh. That's rather good. My measurements are within 1 arcsecond; and these are all within 3 arcseconds of ST3P.

The big differences are in brightnesses. There a number of issues with ST3P. And there seem to be some discrepancies in the WDS!

ST3P, in the atlas or chart, says B as magnitude 4.7. This is an obvious error. In the Object Information box, it is correctly listed as 11.2.

The C star is listed in ST3P and the WDS as 13.2. This does not seem right. It seems very dim. Many of the GSC stars I compare it to in ST3P are listed as magnitude 14 and 15. It is clearly dimmer than GSC 05434-3319 and GSC 05434-2503. Unfortunately, most of these stars are noted as "poor quality" so it is difficult to know for sure.

Next up: D. This star is listed in ST3P and the WDS as mag 8.9. OK. But then E and F are shown in the Washington catalogue as mag 9.4 and 10.7. Nope. E is much brighter than D. F is brighter too! ST3P shows E as mag 7.8 so that is tipping the scales in the right direction.

So, the end result of all this is... well... confusing.

For my life lists, I'll log the C, D, E, and F stars as seen. If nothing else.

tried for Pal 1 (Halifax)

Something went wrong. I asked BGO to capture Palomar 1. I received a message that only "Part of your special observation of TYC4517018101 (ID 2816) was done before an error occured (likely clouds)!" I suspect it was the weather: the CSAC alert only showed a one hour window.

When I retrieved the image data, I only found one image, the luminance frame. No colour data. The lum frame was clearly flawed. And even when dramatically stretched, I could not see the dim, tiny globular.

The job fell out of the queue so I'll have to re-add it.

SpaceX resumed

Missed the SpaceX launch. Glad to hear it went well. Back in the saddle.

Then I learned they nailed another landing. Congrats!

Friday, January 13, 2017

revisited NGC 2022 (Halifax)

The RASC Finest NGC planetary nebula 2022 is one of the first targets I imaged with the Burke-Gaffney Observatory system. We've come full circle. Orion is back.

I was trying to get more blue data. My last images were from March 2016 when it is getting low. In fact, I deleted a job in late March and missed out on ionised oxygen data.

Well, this time I captured all channels, luminance, red, green, blue, O-III, and hydrogen alpha.

planetary nebula NGC 2022 in luminance

Luminance only, 60 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

planetary nebula NGC 2022 in blue

Blue only, 60 seconds subexposures, 5 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

planetary nebula NGC 2022 in oxygen

O-III only, 60 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

planetary nebula NGC 2022 in hydrogen

Hα only, 60 seconds subexposures, 20 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

Overall, the quality of the data looks good including the blue filter. And now I have O-III and Hα so I should be good to go.

caught Pal 2 (Halifax)

The BGO robot imaged Palomar 2 for me. A dim globular cluster in Auriga. Fairly compact in a medium intensity star field. The gradient is a little distracting. Stoopid Moon.

globular cluster Palomar 2 in luminance

Luminance only, 60 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

SkyTools 3 Pro does not show distance info. Where Is M13? does: 85000 light-years. That puts it in the top 15 or 20 for distance records.

It is essentially opposite the galactic core from us and slightly below the plane.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

imaged NGC 4111 and friends (Halifax)

BGO also imaged NGC 4111 (and neighbours) for me. A lovely edge-on galaxy in Canes Venatici. One of the RASC Finest NGCs.

RASC Finest galaxy NGC 4111 in luminance

Luminance only, 60 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

North of the canted spiral are four faint small round fuzzies: LEDA 2214969, LEDA 2214632, LEDA 2215310, and LEDA 2214631.

To the west is the large, very faint, and disturbed galaxy MCG 7-25-20.

South-west of 4111, near the bottom-right corner, is the faint oval of MCG 7-25-22.

Closer to the main target is NGC 4109 with its bright centre. Immediately below 4109 is a tiny oval: LEDA 2210517. To the east of 4109, further away, is a brighter oval: LEDA 2210701. Further still, but barely detectable, is the larger smudge of MCG 7-25-25.

Due east of the core of 4111 in a small faint oval. Is LEDA 2212301 a companion?

North-east of the galaxy is the double star HD 105288. Actually, a triple. Oddly, the C star appears to correspond to the core of NGC 4111.

Beyond the double are two more galaxies. Large, bright NGC 4117 and small, faint NGC 4118.

Fun.

imaged 39 Leo (Halifax)

I asked the BGO robot to image the double star 39 Leo for me. It is near the top-right of this image.

double-star 39 Leo in luminance

Luminance only, 3 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

I wanted to revisit this double, aka SAO 81270, as I had not successfully split it back in May 2014. Was it because the noted magnitudes are very different (5.8 vs 11.4)? Or something else.

Certainly it is curious. There is no bright star to the north-east of the primary! But there is a noticeable bump on the primary at the north-west! That's a significant change. SkyTools does not show this as a binary. I'll have to do some research...

Monday, January 09, 2017

NGC 2539 and 19 Pup (Halifax)

Back on 15 Dec, I tried to image the Finest NGC 2539 with the Burke-Gaffney system. The result was satisfactory but the open cluster was not quite centred or framed the way I wanted. So I aimed a bit to the east, centering on TYC 05434-2972 1. It worked. And this time I also caught the multi-star system 19 Pup.

NGC 2539 and 19 Pup in luminance

Luminance only, 30 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

19 Pup aka BU 1064 is to the south-east, near the bottom-left corner of the image. The D and E components, to the west of the primary, are obvious. D is the dimmer star to the north; E is brighter below. Curiously, SkyTools 3 Pro, according to the chart display, says D shines at magnitude 8.9 while E is 9.4. But E is clearly brighter. The Object Information box says E is mag 7.8. That's better.

Now things get really interesting. There's a pair of stars (GSC 05434-3319 and GSC 05434-2503) with similar spacing to D and E to the south of D and E and fainter than D. They are not part of this system. There's J081115.6-125648 to the south of A, about the same separation as E, brighter than D, but again is not considered an element.

There's something up with the C star. ST3P shows C to the north-west of A at mag 13.2. The photograph shows a star at this position but extraordinarily dim. Is that it? Or did C move?

ST3P shows the A and B stars as very tight (and very different) so I'm not surprised that I cannot isolate them in this image. Too bad there are optical problems in this corner. Doesn't help.

There seems to be a glow around this multi-star system. I'll look in that, check and see if there's something really there.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

imaged M34 (Halifax)

I asked the Burke-Gaffney robotic telescope to image Messier 34 for me. An open cluster in Perseus.

Previously viewed during a whirlwind session in March 2013, I wanted to visit M34 again. Partly to review the colours of the stars. And on learning it contained many multi-star and double-star systems I wanted to carefully examine them.

open cluster Messier 34 with multi-star systems luminance

Luminance only, 30 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

West-north-west from centre, close to the centre, is a bright wide pair. They are nearly equal in brightness; SkyTools 3 Pro says they are magnitudes 8.4 and 8.5. This is HD 16705 aka HJ 1123. They are oriented roughly in a north-east to south-west.

West-south-west from centre, well away, near the right edge of the frame, is an unequal tight pair. They are about 2 magnitudes different in brightness. ST3P says 9.5 and 10.9. This is HD 16627 aka HJ 2154. They are oriented north-west to south-east.

There is a multi-star system due south of centre. HD 16728 or STT 44. The very wide almost equal bright stars are A and C (HD 16719 proper). C is west-north-west from A. The D companion is south-east of C, dimmer, relatively close. The B star is not visible to me. It is a very tight partner to A. It is curious to me why the other 3 stars, while fainter, are not considered part of this system.

Due east of centre is the delicate pair SAO 38259 or ES 1506 with a bright primary and nearly-touching secondary.

Finally, to the east-north-east is another bright pair, HD 16782 aka HJ 2155. The B star is a couple of levels fainter than A.

the passion of science

Watched episode 1, What is Out There?, of the series The Story of Science: Power, Proof and Passion by Michael Mosley. This first segment focused on early astronomy through to our current questions about dark matter. TVO is running the short 2010 documentary produced by the BBC. I learned of this on Carol's Facebook feed. I like the emphasis on the people and their quirks and idiosyncracies. I also like how Mosley emphasises that achievements are slow, not sudden, built upon other ideas, progressively, and that it is our hindsight and simplification that creates this notation of science and technological progress being made up of only big breakthroughs. Reminds me of James Burke.

checked the MPG camera

Jason G of Western reported a problem with the Meteor Physics Group camera feed at the CAO. I had a look and, for the moment, it looks OK. But I said we'll schedule an inspection.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

got Cosmic

Enjoyed some Cosmic during Guys Nite at Scott's. A smooth cream ale from the Cameron's Brewery. Cars, race tracks, talkin' with our hands.


Their description:
On clear nights, it seems as if you can reach out and touch the stars.  Cosmic Cream Ale is the perfect companion for idyllic, curious nights beneath the constellations.  Brewed with a cosmic blend of European hops for a fruity and floral backbone, this ale is fermented warm then laid to rest at a cold, lagering temperature.  The result is an elegant golden ale which is crisp, balanced and refreshing.
Put one aside for Rhonda.

Mmm, camping.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Carol stacked

Carol posted a lovely image on her Facebook feed: her first stacked deep sky image. Nicely done.

Carol's image with Facebook discussion

Wide field but tight on the head of the scorpion. I like how she also captured Mars and Saturn.

checked X for 2017

Updated the Lunar X spreadsheet. Here are the windows for 2017, thirteen in all. For Ontario residents...

table of 2017 Lunar X opportunities

The evenings of April 3 and November 25 appear to be the best chances. There are also twilight opportunities on June 1, July 30, and September 27.