Wednesday, January 27, 2016

At The Eyepiece Tonight - Asteroid Ampella with animation of moment!


I'm going to be posting up a few images of asteroids that I have been tracking down lately because they are just SO COOL! To actually be able to see and track them across the sky, as the animation above shows highlights our universe above our heads always has something going on for us backyard stargazers, if we are willing to go off the beaten path from time to time.

The asteroid is Ampella and it's currently trekking across the constellation Gemini at a respectable magnitude 11.9. It lies just 1.6 AU from us here on Earth, or about 149 MILLION miles from us folks! As you can see, in the span of just a tad oven an hour, it moved quite a bit and should be easy to notice moving among the static background stars in my animated GIF above.

Want to hunt down Ampella for yourself? Well its actually rather easy to find the general neighborhood Ampella is currently travelling in, which is in Gemini and just about between Gamma Gem and Mu Gem. I have a finder chart below, and the tick marks represent its position for the next 20 days.


Finder Chart courtesy of SkyTools3

Finder charts created via SkyTools3

Get out and track this one down yourself, it's not the brightest asteroid currently visible, but since when do we backyard stargazers let only bright objects spend time at the eyepiece? My bet is you'll get hooked on tracking down these asteroids, and it makes a wonderful nightly, weekly or even monthly observing challenge to image or sketch there motion through our solar system.




Saturday, January 16, 2016

At The Eyepiece Tonight - NGC 2903

I REALLY like this galaxy!  NGC 2903 has some fantastic detail, and it was viewed with just a simple 30 second exposure. Shared live on my NightSkiesNetwork channel At The Eyepiece on January 5th.




Residing in the constellation Leo, its currently high enough in the east to deserve some scrutiny around 10 PM local time.  It is a barred spiral of magnitude 9.7, so its fairly bright for a galaxy. What is so interesting is all the subtle detail in the arms, which in our grab above you can clearly see. Just look at distinct bridge of dust, gas and stars that cross the central bulge. No doubt too are the rich Ha regions sprinkled about in the outer arms. Wow, what a sight!

Below are some finder charts so that you too can get NGC 2903 at the eyepiece of your own telescope!  I would LOVE to hear about your observing session for this galaxy, so be sure to leave a comment and don't forget to subscribe!  See you next time, At The Eyepiece.





Friday, October 30, 2015

Todays Sun in Hydrogen-Alpha with Coronado SM60II

Quick grabs from today. With all the prom action and not so much disk, decided to use the Coronado SM60 II, 2xBarlow, DMK21.04. 800 frames, best stacked in AS!2, wavelets in Registax6, and colorized with Gimp.
AR2443



And now the same images, just in the original monochrome with the DMK21.04.