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Look Up & Enjoy the Night Sky – Visit Local Astronomy Clubs – Go to Star Parties, Observatories

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Sharing the Wonders of the Night Skies, an Amateur Astronomers endeavors to capture and share the Night Skies on Film and Digital Media.

Astronomy Clubs

Temecula Valley Astronomers (TVA)

Orange County Astronomers (OCA)    

Riverside Astronomical Society (RAS)

The Astronomical League   (Search for Clubs)

Mount Palomar Observatory – A private facility owned and operated by California Institute of Technology (Caltech).  The Facility has a great Visitors Center, and amenities.  It is one of the only Working Observatories  to offer Guided Tours .  If you live in or visit Southern California you must see The 200″ Hale Telescope .

Globular Star Cluster in Hercules M13 (NGC 6205)

M13 Globular Star Cluster in Hercules NGC 6205 TEC140 f/7 Canon 20d
Telescope / Lens TEC 140 f/7 980mm; TMB 80 f/6 manual guiding
Mount Type Astro-Physics 1200 mount
Camera Canon 20D & Angle C magnifier
 Filters N/A
 Film  Digital
 Exposure 5 minutes x 8 stacked
 Processing Photoshop CS2 Cropped; 2017 CS6 & CCDStack
 Date  9-11-2007
 Location June Mountain, South of Eagles Rest, Oregon
 Conditions 3232′ magnitude 6.2 Skies; Clear & Steady

The brightest globular cluster in the northern latitudes, the Globular Star Cluster in Hercules M13 (NGC 6205) shines at magnitude 5.8 and is visible to the naked eye from a dark sky site. It is approximately 20 arcminutes in diameter with around 300,000 stars. Located in western edge of the Keystone in the constellation of Hercules. It takes an 11-12″ telescope to resolve the stars decently, like diamond dust on black velvet. Go to a 14″ or larger at a dark sky site and it is a real treasure! The Great Hercules Globular Cluster of stars lies 22,200 light years from earth. This is roughly one quarter the width of our Milky Way Galaxy.

The larger galaxy, upper right-hand corner is NGC 6207 at magnitude 12.2 , 3 x 1.2 arcminutes and 45 million Light years distant, about the distance of the Virgo Galaxy Group . The smaller galaxy, just to the upper right of the globular cluster, in between M13 and NGC 6207. This galaxy is IC 4617 magnitude 15.5, 1.2′ x 22″, at 489 million light years away.  A visually challenging object through an eyepiece.

DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex)  cameras are really opening new doors in astrophotography and the Canon 20d and 20da really preform. Currently in 2018, the Canon 6d (full size) and 7d Mark II (APS) have really made monumental strides in Resolution, QE (Quantum Efficiency), Noise, etc.

 

 

The Pleiades Open Star Cluster M45

Pleiades Open Star Cluster M45
Pleiades Open Star Cluster M45 also know as Maia Nebula
Telescope / Lens 300mm f/2.8  Lens;  420mm f/4 Lens DSLR
Mount Type Piggyback on G11 (Stepper)
Camera Canon F-1 ; Canon 20D
 Filters 112mm UV
 Film  Kodak E200 (Slide Film)  DSLR
 Exposure 2 film exposures 45 min. ea; manual guiding FS/78; 10 DSLR
 Processing Slides scanned Nikon 5000 @ 4000dpi 16bit (130 MB files) 3 images stacked; processed in Photoshop CS5 AIP & CCDStack DSLR images stacked with film in CCDStack
 Date  7/25/2003 & 8/20/2004
 Location  Oregon Star Party 120° 09′ W 44° 18′ N
Indian Trail Springs, Ochoco National Forest (Also Eagles Rest 25 miles SE of Dexter, Or.)
 Conditions 5000′ magnitude 6.2 Skies; Clear & Steady

The Pleiades Open Star Cluster M45 is a well known naked eye Open Star Cluster in the constellation of Taurus (The Bull). The Pleiades is a young open cluster of stars enshrouded in gas and dust which is illuminated by several bright stars. Also know as the Seven Sisters covering an area of 2° and lying a mere 415-444 light years away. In fact through binoculars you can see nine prominent stars, two of which are the parents of the seven sisters. The stars are of varying brightness and distances from Earth. They vary from Magnitude 2.9 Alcyone 240 ly to Celaeno magnitude 5.5 and 590 ly distant.

The bright stars are middle aged hot B type Blue stars forming the closets star cluster to earth.  They formed approximately 100 million years ago. The nebula is not related to the stars and is just illuminated interstellar dust. 

This formation of stars (6) is know as Subaru in Japan (to unite).  It was chosen as Subaru brand of cars which united 5 companies into one thus the 6 stars depicted for their logo. 

Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611

Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611 20070620
Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611 20070620 also known as the Star Queen Nebula and The Spire
Telescope / Lens TEC 140mm APO F/7 Refractor
Mount Type Astro-Physics AP1200
Camera SBIG ST8XME NABG
 Filters Astrodon LRGB+HA Generation 1
 Film  CCD
 Exposure Total exposure time 115 minutes
 Processing CCDSoft & Photoshop CS2
 Date  June 20, 2007
 Location  June Mountain, near Dexter, Oregon 122° 43.53 W 43° 48.41′ N
 Conditions 3252′ magnitude 6.2+ Skies; Clear & Steady

The Eagle Nebula, M16 is an 8th magnitude Open Cluster in the constellation of Serpens next to Ophiuchus with this cluster lying near Sagittarius. Through a telescope the cluster of stars is visible but little or no nebulosity can be seen. This is because ours eyes are not sensitive enough to see the nebulosity. Therefore long images on film or CCD are needed to show the nebulosity. The three central pillars were imaged by The Hubble Space Telescope and are referred to as the” Pillars of Creation. Most importantly, you can see small stars that are emerging from these dust clouds. 55 stars make up this Open Stars Cluster lying 7,000 lights years from Earth.  

Below is a cropped view that clearly resemble the famous “Pillars of Creation” taken by the Bubble Space Telescope in 1995 by   Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen.  Remember this image was taken trough a modest TEC 140mm Refractor telescope here on earth, near Dexter, Oregon.

Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611, Crop image highligthening the Pillars of Creation"
Eagle Nebula M16 NGC 6611_ Crop. “Pillars of Creation” from an amateur’s 5.5″ refractor.

Sad Note:

Evidence from the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) indicates that the “Pillars of Creation” have already been destroyed.  A Super Nova explosion’s shock wave has destroyed these structures.  Therefore the image we see no longer exists. Since we are thousands of light years away it will be a millennia before we see the damage caused by the shock waves. The light from this super nova would have been visible on Earth some 1000-2000 years ago.

Trifid Nebula M20 NGC 6514

Trifid Nebula M20 NGC 6514
Trifid Nebula M20 NGC 6514
Telescope / Lens TEC 140mm  f/7
Mount Type Astrophysics 1200
Camera SBIG ST10XME NAGB
 Filters Astrodon LRGB e-series filters (generation 1)
 Film  CCD
 Exposure 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) LRGB (L=75 m (15×5) RGB=25 each, 5 min. subs
 Processing CCDSoft, CCDStack, AIP, Photoshop CS2
 Date  07/19/2009
 Location Snow Peak, S/E of Cottage Grove, Oregon 122° 52′ 35″ W, 43° 31′ 21″N
 Conditions 4658′ elevation, magnitude 6.5+ Skies; Clear ;

M 20 (NGC 6514) Trifid Nebula
The Trifid Nebula (Messier 20 or M20 & NGC 6514) reside within the constellation of Sagittarius. The name Trifid refers to the three lobe appearance of the red emission portion of the Nebula. Recent images show a blue reflection nebulosity and an open star cluster. The dark dust lanes, dark nebula, is designated Barnard’s 85.  This object shows up well in amateur telescopes reviling lots of detail and visible to the naked eye (magnitude 6.3) at dark sky locations. The actual distance is estimated at 5200 light years.  Some stars associated with M20 are 2700 to 5700 light years distant.

M20 itself is approximately 21 light years in diameter, roughly 15,000’xs larger than our solar system. Recent images that go deeper reveal a blue glow around the main red emission portion of the Trifid indicating that some of the reflected nebulosity runs behind and around the red portion. Earlier shots I’ve taken did not reveal this, but CCD images of a couple hours or more reveal this phenomenon. NASA’s Spitzer Space telescope discovered 30 embryonic & 120 newborn stars within the Trifid in 2005.

The image of the Trifid nebula was dominant on the view scenes of the Enterprise, Original Star Trek series.

Star Forming Area
M20 Cropped
M20 Cropped TEC 140 mm f/7 & ST10xme CCD