Tuesday, January 31, 2017

caught NGC 2683 (Halifax)

Before the clouds rolled in, the BGO was able to image NGC 2683 for me. A very nice edge-on galaxy in Lynx. One of the RASC Finest NGCs. Is it my imagination or is it gravitationally disturbed?

RASC Finest galaxy NGC 2683 in luminance

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

There are many little fuzzies in the image.

LEDA 2032797 to the north-west.

LEDA 2030257 to the west.

LEDA 2027348 to the south-west.

LEDA 2030408 to the south, close. Another spiral?

LEDA 2028167 to the south-east.

There appear to be more but SkyTools 3 Pro does not identify them.

PGC 24945 to the east.

LEDA 2034115, LEDA 2034935, LEDA 2034078, LEDA 2034818, LEDA 2034409, and LEDA 2034864 to the north-east.

Again, I believe there are more still.


Processed in colour on 6 Mar '21.


Wikipedia link: NGC 2683.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

plotted SQM data for one year

Plotted a full year's worth of Sky Quality Meter data with our SQM-LE meter at the Carr Astronomical Observatory. The orange line is a polynomial trend line on an order of 4.

SQM-LE readings line chart for 2016

Strange readings at the end of the year with a number of very high readings and then tapering off in December (no surprise there).

There were back to back readings on 1 December over 22. Snow piled on the top perhaps? On 9 November there were readings over 22 and then a few over 23! I'd have to go back and look at the weather reports...

started reviewing Mr Eclipse

Dove into the Mr Eclipse web site. This will likely be one of many visits... A guru of solar eclipses, Fred Espenak, has collected a lot of information here and it will take some time to absorb it.

imaged NGC 2903 (Halifax)

BGO captured NGC 2903 for me. An amazing spiral galaxy in Leo. One of the RASC Finest NGCs. The outer arms extend very far outwards.

RASC Finest galaxy NGC 2903 in luminance

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

The small, faint oval fuzzy LEDA 1647510 is to the south-west, near the bottom edge of the image.

Due south of the incredible galaxy is the bright but very small and round fuzzy LEDA 1648681.

There's a round lint ball to the east: UGC 5086.

Quasar WEE 30 is just barely visible GSC 01409-0909 and GSC 01409-0850, to the north-west of the grand spiral. SkyTools says it has a redshift (z) of 2.53 with a light time of 9.4 Gyr.


Processed in colour.


Wikipedia link: NGC 2903.

imaged NGC 2841 (Halifax)

The Burke-Gaffney telescope imaged NGC 2841 for me. A big spiral galaxy in Ursa Major. One of the RASC Finest NGCs. It has smooth core but dusty lanes. Lovely, subtle.

RASC Finest galaxy NGC 2841 luminance

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

A bit north of the large galaxy is a tiny round fuzz ball. That's LEDA 2387317.

North-north east, near the top of the image, is a very faint oval, LEDA 2389105.

I see a fuzzy north of GSC 03431-0158 and south-east of GSC 03431-0805, almost in-line. SkyTools 3 Pro says this is a star, J092103.2+510717. I don't think so.

West of 2841 is LEDA 2387030, a slightly larger oval fuzz patch.

South of this, near the pair of stars, is LEDA 2385722, a tiny round blob.

MCG 9-16-8 is to the south-east but is cut-off, at the edge of the frame.


Wikipedia link: NGC 2841.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

imaged NGC 2359 (Halifax)

BGO imaged NGC 2359 or Thor's Helmet for me again. I had first tried on 7 Dec '16. I cranked the stretch in FITS.

Thor's Helmet in luminance

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

Took Oxygen-III data this time.

NGC 2359 in O-III


imaged Palomar 1 (Halifax)

The Burke-Gaffney robot imaged Palomar 1 for me. A small, faint globular cluster in Cepheus.

Can you see it? It's just above centre in the image. Just below, or south, of the little dipper of stars. Not easy...

globular cluster Palomar 1 in luminance

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

To the north-east, near the top-left corner of the image, is the faint, small, oval of LEDA 2780572.


Tried again on 7 Dec '18.


Wikipedia link: Palomar 1.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

shaken not stirred

Some anomalies emerged in recent vibration testing of the James Webb Space Telescope. But it sounds, from the Spaceflight Now article, like they have sorted it and will resume testing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

neverending grey

This is truly dismal. Weather.

Monday, January 23, 2017

attended long meeting

Attended the RASC Toronto Centre council meeting last night (via Skype). First meeting with the new crew. It was a long one. Almost 4 hours. Ugh.


Next will be in March some time...

examined 39 Leo

Reviewed 39 Leo.

I imaged the double star on 10 Jan. The photo shows a bump rather close to the primary. It is angled to the north-west. This is different than how SkyTools 3 Pro shows it in its charts. The software shows the B star is to the north-east. And further away.

The Washington Double Star databases has 32 observations of this pair going back to 1851 and as recent as 2015. The current numbers are: 6.7" and 307°. The ST3P chart is roughly 14" and 56°. That's completely wrong. Curiously, the Object Information box shows 7.6 and 299 as of 1972. That's reasonable. Chart's wrong; data is close.

The neat thing is that the bump on the bloated A star in my image is exactly where the B companion should be. So, while not separated, I think I can saw fairly that I have spotted the tight, dim partner.

Maybe I could not split it back in May 2014 as the chart had me looking in the wrong place, wrong direction, and wrong separation. The magnitude delta, 5.8 vs. 11.3 (WDS values), would ordinarily be challenging. Maybe it was that the dim star is hard to see so close to the parent.

I am marking this as observed.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

enjoyed episode 3

Watched episode 3 of Human Universe, Are We Alone?, with Prof Cox. Thanks, TVO! Very interesting episode. A nexus-interconnection-synchronicity point was his reference to psychonaut John C Lilly. There's a name I've not heard in a long time!

Friday, January 20, 2017

assembled NGC 2403

Tried to put together NGC 2403 in colour using the LRGB data from 18 Jan '17. Quick and fast.

galaxy NGC 2403 in colour

I'm not really pleased. Feeling rusty. Photoshop CS2.

Luminance 60x10, RGB 60x5 each.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

galaxies galore

And so galaxy season begins. I continue to image with the BGO robotic system in Halifax. I continue to capture the RASC Finest NGC objects. And most of the targets appearing in my SkyTools list are galaxies. This is gonna be fun!

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. Gradient coming from the right (west) edge. 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.


Quickly assembled the data for a colour image.


While updating ST3P, I found this NGC in my "edge-on galaxies" list. Ah, no.

Forgot that I quickly imaged this with the SLOOH system back in Feb 2011.


Collected better data on 3 Feb.

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 a lot of pairs and multi-star systems including BKO 37, BKO 35, BKO 38, CHE 118/BKO 36 (triple), BKO 39, CHE 119/BKO 40 (quadruple), BKO 41 (trip), BKO 45, CHE 126/BKO 47 (trip), BKO 43, CHE 127 (trip), CHE 125, EX Cnc/CHE 123/BKO 46 (trip), CHE 122, CHE 121/BKO 42 (quad), and CHE 120. I found I had to annotate them to keep track.

BKO 41 is a triple, according to SkyTools 3 Pro, but I cannot spot the C component. The BC separation is just over 2 seconds of arc which is below the system resolution.

Variable EX is the primary element of the triple with EW as the B star.



multi-stars in M67 annotated

I'm still kind of amazed that the interesting dipper-shape pattern between BKO 41 and CHE 119 is not identified as a multi-star system...


Wikipedia link: Messier 67.

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 (aka Caldwell 50) 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. [ed: Er. No. B is well away from HD 259012 A. In fact, HD 259012 B is the G star of HD 46150! Also known as BAL 2999.]

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.


On viewing a revised image with a lower brightness setting, many companions emerged as separate stars. This included HD 46150 D and E, HD 259012 A and B, and HD 46180 A and B.

Also, a point appeared to the north-east. HD 46150 B? If so, it moved!



Discovered in SkyTools I had this NGC in my View Again list. I think I can remove it now.


The Rosette Nebula itself is referred to in Sir Moore's catalogue as Caldwell 49.


Reshot HD 46150 (faster) on 11 Nov '17. Successfully split more stars.


Wikipedia link: NGC 2244.

Monday, January 16, 2017

received second reminder

The RASC national office sent out another renewal notice. Indeed.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Moon over the trees (Bradford)

Bree said the Moon as coppery. She thought it beautiful. Must have 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.


Gathered more data on the evening of 4 November 2018.


Wikipedia link: IC 418.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

analysed 19 Pup

Had a look into 19 Pup aka β1064. 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 [ed: slightly]: 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!

In the atlas or chart, when hovering over the star, ST3P 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 appears very dim in the photo. 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. Perhaps it is mag 16 or 17! 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.

funny math

Phil sent out a message. He included a note received from iOptron on how to polar align a mount in the daytime. This would prove handy during a solar eclipse. But I read the instructions over and over, unable to fathom the approach.
First level the mount with a bubble level, then set the polar axis scale on your mount to the latitude of your observing sight [sic erat scriptum].  Now you hang a weighted string from the center of the base of your tripods/mount.  Take a protractor and place it on the ground under the center of your weighted string, rotate the protractor until the strings shadow lies on the known azimuth +180 degrees.  Now simply rotate your mount until the polar axis is directly above zero on the protractor.
Confused, I searched Google for instructions. Found the Sky and Telescope article clear. Saw what was tripping me up.

The sentence ending, "rotate the protractor until the strings shadow lies on the known azimuth +180 degrees" is actually a mathematical formula. Maybe it should say "rotate the protractor until the strings shadow lies on the known azimuth +180 degrees" or "rotate the protractor until the strings shadow lies the total of the known azimuth plus 180."

When I got out a scrap of paper and sketched it, it made perfect sense.

sketch, calculating NCP from Sun azimuth angle

So, as usual, I want to rewrite these instructions. Finding the North Celestial Pole (NCP) in the day time.
  1. Level equatorial mount.
  2. Set mount altitude scale to the latitude of observing site.
  3. Hang a weighted string from centre of base of mount.
  4. Place protractor on ground under centre of weight.
  5. Determine azimuth of Sun (in software, if possible). e.g. 115°.
  6. Add 180 to value. e.g. 295°.
  7. Rotate protractor until string shadow lies on total value.
  8. Rotate mount in azimuth until polar axis is aimed to 0/360° on protractor.
I guess I'll pack the protractor.

All the while, I kept thinking about simply using a compass! Although one must know the magnetic declination... I crunched the numbers for our planned location. Declination should be around 8° 30' east.

I guess I'll pack the compass too.

Ironically, most people would likely get the Sun's position from a smartphone app...

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 occurred (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.


Wikipedia link: Palomar 2.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

a quasar brightens

It seems there is a quasar in outburst. CTA 102 or 4C 11.69 is a quasar in Pegasus which usually glows at about magnitude 17. Currently reports are showing it in the mag 12 to 13 range. The AAVSO has computed a light curve. It'd be interesting to try and spot it... I added it to my SkyTools list.

Binary Universe: NASA's Eyes

cover of the RASC Journal 2017 February
I downloaded the February RASC Journal from the members area.

Good to see images by Ron Brecher and Tim Lahey. Enjoyed the piece on the search for intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Will need to re-read the article on Canada's birthday.

My software review column Binary Universe featured the Eyes on the Solar System application from NASA (and hinted at Eyes on the Earth and Eyes on Exoplanets).

I showed how it could be run with a simple or advanced interface. One could take predefined tours or explore randomly. I particularly enjoyed all the details revealed with old and current space probes.

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. It's actually just over the border, in Ursa Major.

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

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.


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...


It checks out (23 Jan).

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. Why would they not be included with the others when they are as close and bright?

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.


Did a deeper analysis of 19 Pup.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

a skein

In the tradition of group or company names for animals, I thought I'd try some labels for groups of deep sky objects. It all started with "gaggle of galaxies" which has a nice ring to it...

For your consideration...

an ostentation of asteroids
a flutter of aurora
a covey of comets
a bask of crepuscular rays
a deceit of double stars
an exaltation of exoplanets
a gaggle of galaxies
a pride of globulars
a knot of nebulae
a murmuration of Messiers
a muster of meteors
a nye of NGCs
a clutch of open clusters
a parliament of planets
a pack of planetaries
a siege of satellites
a smack of Sharpless
a wisp of sundogs
a watch of variables

What do you think?

Saturday, January 07, 2017

winking stars (Bradford)

Stepped out onto the porch for a moment after Rhonda beckoned me out. Clear but cold! Orion was over the trees. Pleaides straight up. I pointed out Sirius in the middle of the deciduous tree, winking different intense colours.

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.


Wikipedia link: Messier 34.

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 idiosyncrasies. 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.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

took a peek (Bradford)

We had a quick peak outside from the porch. I squinted, without my glasses. Orion rising over the trees. I could see the Pleiades. Aldebaran between. It was cold.

'round the corner

I didn't know that! The public school around the corner here in Bradford is named Chris Hadfield! I've gone by the building many times but only today (as a passenger) did I notice the name.

Found an article on when he visited the school in June 2016.

panoramic view (Bradford)

From possibly the highest point in Bradford, near the second water tower, as the Sun was just setting, and families rode toboggans and sleds down the hill, we took in the sights. The crescent Moon and the Belt of Venus. I encouraged Rhonda to find Venus. She spotted up and left of the Moon, three fingers away. I had to squint, without my specs, to see it. We talked about the Green Flash. Very clear skies. First time in a long time.