nmbrandt

Nov 082020
 
View of the barn and new stage under construction from the ridge where we typically setup for astronomy.
Looking SW’ish where most of the informal star party group was setup.
Looking NE on the ridge
Sh2-155 The Cave Nebula
SVQ-100 with ASI533MC OSC CMOS on Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount
IC 342
SVQ-100 with ASI533MC OSC CMOS on Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount
Galaxy NGC 891
SVQ-100 with ASI533MC OSC CMOS on Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount
Sh2-136
SVQ-100 with ASI533MC OSC CMOS on Orion Atlas EQ-G Mount
Sh2-150
FSQ-106ED with SX-46 Mono CCD on AP900GTO

Nov 062020
 

This trip to Cherry Springs State Park promised an amazing clear stretch but was marred by dense smoke obscuring much of the sky from the wildfires raging in CA and other parts of the US.

The sun looked like a planet hanging in an overcast sky due to all the smoke.
If there had been any sun spots they may have been naked eye visible without a sun filter!
The sky was clear yet the blue wasn’t quite able to break through the hazy smoke.
Frank in the Astro Tent
This is what dealing with the public usually looks like 🙂
LDN 1235 – The Dark Shark
FSQ-106ED with SX-46 CCD on AP900GTO Mount
Only salvaged image during the few smoke free nights
Cherry Springs Time Lapse

Nov 052020
 
Two rigs imaging with the MW rising.
Cherry Springs Sunset
Jupiter & Saturn Rising with the Milky Way
Mosaic of Cygnus with Canon 6D and Rokinon 85mm
Cluster NGC 6604 and surrounding nebulosity. This is an often overlooked region just above the famous Eagle Nebula M16 which is just peaking in on the left.
Apr 042020
 

We’ve had far too many rainy days followed by isolation and the closure of astronomy parks and related facilities. Even if it cleared, we have nowhere to go. So here’s a quick reminder of the winter nebula that are leaving now not to be seen until next year. I wish I had time to do a mosaic and capture the whole nebula but I didn’t. It truly is a LARGE nebula. This image is 2.4 degrees across and could hold more than 18 full moons. (The moon varies between about 29′20″ – 34′6″ in size)

NGC 1499
AP130GTX, Apogee U16M, 14x20min HA
Clinton, TN
Dec 012019
 

IC 1805 / Sharpless 190, more commonly known as the Heart Nebula, lies approximately 7,500 light years from Earth. This data set was comprised of 43x20min Ha, 23x20min O[III], and 24x20min S[II] for a total exposure time of 30 hours over several nights in November 2019.

Melotte 15 – The open star cluster that lies at the center of IC 1805 and provides the radiation that gives the nebula it’s soft glow.
NGC 896 – The brightest part of the Heart Nebula; it was cataloged separately because it was the first part of the Heart Nebula to be discovered.
The Heart Nebula – This image spans almost 2.6 degrees x 2.6 degrees. For scale, it would take 27 full moons to fill this field of view.
Oct 272019
 
Road to the Observing Ridge at Dawn Thursday Morning

After missing the BFSP at Cherry Springs State Park, PA last new moon we were anxious to get out for one last hurah for the year. Weather looked great initially from midweek into the weekend but rapidly went downhill as we got closer to the weekend. We did however have an amazingly clear Weds night and clear until 3:00am or so on Thursday.

Observers on the Ridge on Thursday Morning

Friday morning arrived with clouds and slightly warmer temps (no frost) than Thursday morning. The sunrise was spectacular.

I am not a galaxy imager. I’m at home with short refractors imaging large nebula in our own galaxy. Spring and Fall are more or less galaxy season though if you want to be able to image the same object the majority of these longer nights. So I picked out a decent size bright galaxy and dusted off the long f/ratio 5″ refractor and gave it a try. It’s not without it’s problems but nice to see a 28 year old refractor still collecting photons!

Crop of Galaxy NGC 891
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NGC 891 – Full Frame (minor crop)
5.3 hours of Lum, 5.5 hours RGB
AP130EDT f/8 with SX-46 CCD on AP900GTO
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Annotated NGC 891
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Sep 302019
 

We had some great weather for the annual star party at Pickett State Park, TN last new moon. This star party is still young and looking to grow. The park rangers are doing a great job, it’s a great venue for presentations and a great field for observing / photography. I’m not sure why it still remains a hidden gem of sorts.

Overall sky quality, other than some early clouds, was excellent. With SQM measurements around 21.77 mag/arcsec^2 this was the darkest I’ve seen Pickett. I would note too that of the other dark sky sites I routinely visit, this quality of night is nothing to complain about.

Presentation Space
Setup on the field
Dusk; waiting for the thin stuff to clear
Last few clouds clearing with the MW shinning through!
The rig is facing N,NE towards the Constellation Cepheus imaging Sharpless Object SH2-154
SH2-154: AP900GTO, FSQ-106ED with SX-46 CCD. Image scale of 2.33 arcsec/pixel. Exposure time ~13.5 hours. Also plainly visible on the right edge of the frame is SH2-155 The Cave Nebula. Sometimes the faint objects like 154 don’t get a lot of love because they’re not much to look at. At least it’s got a nice tight open cluster NGC 7419 nearby to draw some attention.
Annotated

Jul 282019
 

We had a great clear spell 7/23 through 7/27 with only moderate lunar interference in the early hours of the morning. This is 14 hours of exposure divided equally across Hydrogen-alpha, Oxygen [III], and Sulfur[II] emission lines. Scope was an AP130GTX with Apogee U16 CCD on an AP1200GTO mount. Located outside Clinton, TN. The following are crops from the main image.

Finally, here is the nearly full frame image encompassing the whole area.