Preface

I chose the name Central Coast Observatory since this is where Lompoc is located on the California coast. Although the sky is not very light polluted the seeing conditions in this area are poor. Transparency is generally poor due to water vapor agricultural dust and other fine particles such as pollen. For example, only once since 2009 was I able to just barely see the Milky Way and then only with averted vision. Prior years were much the same. Therefore I am pleased that I was able to capture the images exhibited in this web site.

It took much work, lots of time, and required pushing the sensors and optical systems to their limit. Some image processing was required for most images. Lunar imagery is generally no problem. For the most part I feel the systems I have are very robust and thus far have performed well given the seeing conditions in the area.

The observatory is totally home made and is 11 feet in diameter and 8 feet in height. The dome is manually rotated either clockwise or counter-clockwise on twenty-one base ring rollers and 5 radial rollers. The base is 4 inch thick concrete with a cinder block dome base and the dome is constructed entirely of plywood.

The photographs in this web site were taken using two Schmidt Cassegrain Telescopes (SCT) systems. The observatory houses a Meade LX-90 GPS 12 inch system mounted in Polar mode on a Meade Ultra Wedge and Tripod. Two cameras were used, a Meade Deep Space ll CCD Camera (DSI) and a Meade Lunar Planetary CCD camera (LPI). A Compaq computer controls both cameras.

The second SCT is housed in the Solar Observatory and workshop located next to the dome. The Solar optics are shown mounted in the Alt/Azimuth mode but since March 2010 has been reconfigured to the Polar mode. It is a Meade 8 inch GPS SCT and is equipped with a Baader solar white light filter on the primary optics and the spotting scope. Piggyback to the 8 inch is a Coronado 40mm Personal Solar Telescope (PST). The PST and the 8 inch optics imagery were taken with the primary camera which is the Image Source DMK31 monochrome ccd camera. The secondary camera is a Celestron NexImage Solar System CCD Camera. A Lap Top PC controls the solar imaging cameras.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Messier 35, NGC 2168 an open cluster in the constallation of Gemini is at a distance of 2,800 light years and shines at a visual magnitude of 5.3. It is approaching us at 5 kilometers per second. Its linear diameter is 24 light years. The central density of stars is about 6.2 per cubic parsec. The cluster contains some post-main sequence stars including several yellow and orange giants of spectral class G to early K. The hottest main sequence star is of spectral class B. Image capture DSI ll f3.3 focal reducer and 8" SCT. Exposure time 2 minutes, seeing was fair.

Messier 8, NGC 6523, the Lagoon nebula in the constallation of Sagittarius lies at a distance of 5200 light years and shines at a magnitude 6.0.  It is 90 x 40 minutes of arc for a dimention of 140 x 60 light years. It is one of the brightest star forming regions. It has already formed a large number of young stars. Within the nebula is a loosley formed open cluster cataloged as NGC 6530. The nebula is composed mostly of hydrogen that is ionized by radiation from a super star noted as Herschel 36. The image was photographed using  DSI ll CCD camera,and a 12" SCT.  Exposure time was 3 minutes, seeing conditions were fair.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Messier 71, NGC 6838 is a Globular cluster in the constallation of Sagitta.  It lies at a distance of 12,000 light years and spans 27 light years across. It has a visual brightness of magnitude 8.2. It lacks having RR Lyrae variable stars. Its stars have more metals than is usual for a very old globular cluster.  It is in effect a loosley concentrated globular cluster. It has the lumoinosity of approx 13,000 suns and is approaching us at 23 kilometers/sec. The image was photographed using a DSI ll CCD camera and a 12" SCT.  Exposure time was 5 minutes, seeing was good.

Messier 79, NGC 1904 is a Globular cluster in the constallation of Lepus. It is at a distance of 41,000 light years. Its apparent diameter is 9.6 arc minutes with a linear extention of 118 light years. It is slightly elliptical, has 7 variable stars and shines at a visual magnitude of 7.7.  It is receding from us at 200 kilometers/sec. M79 is not a native to our galaxy but instead to the Canis Major Dwarf galaxy. That galaxy is currently in close encounter with our galaxy and it is unlikely it will survive intact.  The photograph was taken using a DSI ll CCD camera and a 12" SCT.  Exposure time was 4 minutes seeing conditions were 3 to 5 arc seconds.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Messier 3, NGC 5272 Globular cluster in Canes Venatici lies at a distance of 33,900 light years. It contains about 500,000 stars. Its apparent diameter is 18 arc minutes corresponding to a llinear extension of 180 light years. The cluster shines at a magnitude of 6.2. It is moving toward us at 147.6 kilometers per second. The cluster is rich in variable stars, 170 RR-Lyrae type. These type stars are used to determine distance. A large number of blue main sequence stars have been detected.  A DSI ll CCD camera, f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT were used to photograph the image. Exposure time was 3 minutes, seeing conditions were average for the area.
Messier 7, NGC 6475 (sometimes refered to as Ptolemy's Cluster) is an open cluster in Scorpius and lies at a distance of 900 light years.  The cluster is 25 light years in size, approx 220 million years old and is approaching us at 14 kilometers/sec.  The brightest star is a yellow giant of spectral class G8 at a magnitude of 5.6.  The hottest main sequence star is spectral type B6.  The cluster also contains 4 magnetic Ap/Bp stars. The cluster contains 80 stars brighter than magnitude 10. Total light is magnitude 3.5.  The image was taken using a DSI ll CCD camera, f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT. Exposure time was 2 minutes, seeing conditions were average.
Messier 13, NGC 6205 The Globular cluster in the constallation of Hercules lies at a distance of 25,000 light years. It shines with a total light equivalent to a 6th magnitude star. It has an angular diameter of 23 arc minutes corresponding to a linear diameter of approx 145 light years. In the central portion of the cluster it is estimated that there are one or two stars per cubic light year. All of the stars in he cluster should be the same age, however it appears that during M13's journey around the galaxy it picked up a field star. This young blue star is of spectral type B2 and is tagged Bernard # 29.  It has been verified by radial velocity measurements that the star belongs to the cluster. The image was photographed using  a DSI ll CCD camera, f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT. Exposure time was 2 minutes, seeing conditions were fair.

Friday, November 27, 2009

NGC 2024 the Flame Nebula is an emission nebula in the constallation of Orion. It lies at a distance of approx.1200 light years. The bright star Alnitak shines with ultra violet light and knocks electrons away from the cloud of hydrogen gas in the nebula. The glow results when the electrons and ionized hydrogen recombine. Dark gas and dust lie front of the bright part of the nebula. The Flame nebula is part of the molecular cloud which includes the Horsehead nebula. The image was taken using a DSI ll CCD camera f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT.  Seeing conditions were fair. Exposure time was 4 minutes.

Messier 39,NGC 7092 ia an open cluster in Cygnus (Northern Cross) at a distance of 900 light years. Its angular diameter is 32 arc minutes and its visual magnitude is 6.8 it is of spectral class A0. It is one of the nearest clusters. All of the stars in the cluster were found to be main sequence. The estimated age of the cluster is 270 million years. Many of the stars are grouped in pairs. The image was photographed using a DSI ll CCD camera, f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT. Exposure time was 2 minutes. Seeing conditions were very good, approx 2 to 4 arc seconds.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

IC 434 (Barnard 33) known as the Horsehead nebula lies at a distance of 1600 light years.  It is a dark nebula in the constallation of Orion.  The horsehead is a dark globule of dust and non luminous gas.  The red glow is hydrogen gas ionized by the nearby bright OB class star Sigma Orionis. Bright young stars in the nebula base are in the process of forming. Imaging of this nebula was difficult considering the average seeing conditions at this location.  The Camera used was a DSI ll CCD a f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT.  Exposure time was 8 minutes. Some image processing was required.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Messier 101 NGC 5457 is a very large galaxy in Ursa Major with a diameter of 170,000 light years, almost twice the size of our Milky Way galaxy.  It lies at a distance of 27 million light years and shines like an 8th magnitude star. It is considered a late type spiral of class Sc. It has a disk mass in the order of 100 billion solar masses. It contains large and extremely bright H ll regions.  H ll regions usually accompany extremely large clouds of high density molecular hydrogen gas that contracts under their own gravitational force where stars form.  H ll regions are are ionized by bright hot young stars.  The image was captured using a DSI ll CCD Camera, f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT.  Exposure time was 5 minutes seeing conditions were fair.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

IC 5146 the Cocoon Nebula (Caldwell 19) is a star cluster and emission / reflection nebula nearly 15 light years wide and 4000 light years distant. Like other star forming regions it is red glowing hydrogen gas excited by young hot stars. The bright hot and luminous B0 type star near the center is perhasps only a few hundred thousand years old. The cluster of stars that are near the center are mostly low mass like our Sun but much younger.  The image was captured with a DSI ll CCD camera, f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT. Exposure time was 4 minutes, seeing conditions were not favorable due to some high thin cirrus.

Messier 33, NGC 598 Galaxy in Triangulum lies at a distance of 2.9 million light years.  It is classified as an Sc spiral and has a star equivalent magnitude of 5.4. At least 112 variables have been discovered including 4 Noavae, super Nova remnants, and about 25 Cepheids.  There are also strong X-ray sources within the galaxy.  There are some Population ll stars and globular clusters and blueish clouds of young stars.  The estimated diameter of the galaxy is 60,000 light years and the mass estimated between 10 and 40 billion solar masses.  Image was obtained using a DSI ll CCD camera, f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT. Exposure time was 5 minutes, seeing conditions were fair.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Messier 44 NGC 2632 Galactic cluster known as the Beehive cluster in the constallation of Cancer shines at a star magnitude of 4.5.  It lies at a distance of 500 light years. The central region of the cluster is about 13 light years across.  The cluster contains some 1000 gravitationally bound stars 68% of which are M dwarfs, 30% are sun-like of spectral classes F, G and K and about 2% are bright stars of spectral class A. There are also 5 giant stars 4 of which have spectral class K0 lll and the 5th G0 lll.  Thus far 11 white dwarfs have been identified.  Brown dwarfs are extremely rare in this cluster. The image was obtained using a DSI ll CCD camera, f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT. Exposure time was 1.5 minutes, seeing conditions were fair.

Messier 22 NGC 6656 Globular cluster in Sagittarius is 10,300 light years distant. The cluster contains some 70,000 stars 32 of which are variables. The cluster is receding from us at a rate of 149 kilometers/sec. It is one of the brightest clusters and shines at a magnitude of 5.5.  The angular diameter is 32 minutes of arc, corresponding to approx 97 light years. This image was captured using a DSI ll CCD camera and a 12" SCT for an exposure time of 2 minutes. Seeing conditions were fair.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Solar reference data Images provided by solar observatory in he USA.
Sun Diameter = 870,000 miles......Age = 4.5 billion years
Mass = 330,000 x Earth....Distance from Earth = 93,000,000 miles
Density = 1.41 (water = 1).....Distance to nearest star = 4.3 light years
Solar wind speed = 3 million Km/hr.....Luminosity = 390 billion,billion megawatts
Solar cycle = 8 to 11 years......Temperature at the surface = 5,500 deg C (9,932 deg F)
Temperature at core = 14 million deg C (22.5 million deg F)...Temperature of Sun Spots = 4,000 deg C(7,232 deg F)
Rotation period at Equator = 25 Earth days.....Rotation period at poles = 35 Earth days.
Photo on left exhibits Solar disk and some prominences. Lower photo exhibits Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)

The Planet Jupiter is the largest of the planets in the solar system and takes 12 years to orbit the sun. Its axial rotation is 10 hours. Jupiter is a dense ball of hydrogen, helium, water, nitrogen and other gasses over a tiny rocky core. Powerful hurricane like storms dominate the atmosphere.  The great red spot is about 2 earth diameters wide. Jupiter has 4 major moons Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede.  To date scientists have discovered that Jupiter has a total of 60 moons. Some of the newest moons are no more than 2 to 4 kilometers wide. Many of these new moons have retrograde (backward) orbits.  Jupiter is so huge that its gravity captured most of the moons rather than them forming. Jupiter contains about 71% of planetary matter in the solar system. Its size is about 88,000 miles in diameter at the equator.  The image was captured with an LPI CCD camera, 2 X Barlow and an 8" SCT. Exposure time was 5 seconds. Seeing conditions were fair.



Messier 10 NGC 6254 Globular cluster in Ophiuchus lies at a distance of 14,300 light years with a linear diameter of 80 light years.  Four variable stars have been found within the cluster. Its visual magnitude is that of a 7th magnitude star.  The image was taken using a DSI l CCD camera, f3.3 focal reducer and an 8"SCT.  Seeing conditions were fair but variable 3 to 5 arc seconds.  Exposure time was 3.5 minutes

Friday, November 20, 2009

Messier 92 NGC 6341 Globular cluster in Hercules contains about 16 variables 14 of which are RR Lyrae type that can be used to determine the globulars distance.  One of the variables is an eclipsing binary which is an unusual occurrence in globular clusters. This cluster lies at a distance of 26,000 light years and is approx 100 light years across. The image was taken using a DSI ll CCD camera spaced 40 mm from a f3.3 focal reducer coupled to a 12" SCT.  Seeing conditions were fair, exposure time was 2 minutes.

Messier 64 NGC 4826 a galaxy in Coma Berenices, sometimes known as the Black-eye Galaxy, shines at a magnitude of 8.8. The angular diameter is approx 6 by 3 minutes of arc. It lies at a distance of 12 million light years and has a red shift of 352 kilometers per second. It is generally classified as an Sb spiral due to the lane of dust near the center.  This object was imaged using a DSI CCD Camera, f3.3 focal reducer and a 12" SCT.  Exposure time was 5 minutes under 3 to 5 arc second seeing conditions.

Messier 5 NGC 5904  Globular cluster in Serpens is a rich cluster having a brightness of a 6th magnitude star. Its angular diameter is 12 minutes of arc and at the clusters distance the diameter corresponds to 100 light years.  It contains a large number of variable stars that are known to be RR Lyrae stars with periods of about 1/2 day. It is extremely compressed in the middle with stars from 11th to 15th magnitude. This image was taken with a DSI ll CCD coupled to a 12" SCT at the prime focus. Exposure time was 3 minutes with fair seeing conditions.
Planet Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system.  It is named after the Roman god Saturn and is equated to the Greek god Kronos. The planet is composed of hydrogen with portions of helium and trace elements.  The core is small consisting of rock and ice surrounded by a thick layer of metalic hydrogen and a gaseous outer layer. Saturn's diameter at the equator is 74,900 miles.  It takes approx 29.5 years to complete one orbit around the sun. Saturn is encircled by seven major rings and several smaller ones. The planet has 25 satellites that measure at least 6 miles in diameter, numerous smaller ones and the planets largest satellite is Titan whose diameter is about 3500 miles. The image of Saturn was captured using a LPI CCD camera coupled to a 2 X Barlow lens at the prime focus of a 12" SCT. The exposure time was 5 seconds. Seeing conditions were excellent approx 2 arc seconds which is rare for this area.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Messier 1 NGC 1952 is the famous Crab nebula.  It is an expanding cloud of gas from a super nova.  It was observed in 1054 a.d. by oriental astronomers. It appears to be expanding at a rate of 1000 miles /sec. and lies at a distance of 6,000 light years.  Its angular size is 6 by 4 minutes of arc which corresponds to approx 10 by 7 light years.  Its magnitude is equivalent to a star of visual magnitude of 8 - 9.  Near the center is a 16th magnitude star that is the collapsed core of the super nova.  That object is the pulsar NP 0532 which emitts a pulse of radiation every 0.033 seconds at optical, X-ray and radio wavelengths. It is beleived that it is a rotating neutron star and its gradual loss of momentum provides the energy that causes the nebula to shine.
The image was photographed using  DSI 1 CCD camera that was coupled to the prime focus of a 12" SCT using an F3.3 focal reducer.  Exposure time 3 miinutes, seeing conditions were fair.

Messier 16 NGC 6611 open cluster and IC 4703 Eagle nebula lie at a distance of 7,000 light years in the constallation of Serpens Cauda.  It is 40 light years in size and an estimated age of 5.5 million years. It is a combination of emission nebula and open cluster.This object is an active area of star formation.  There are light year long pillars of gas dense enough to form new stars. The nebula is caused to shine by high energy radiation of  massive young hot stars. The image below was captured using a DSI ll CCD camera coupled to an f3.3 focal reducer set at the prime focus of a 12" SCT.  CCD exposure time was 4 minutes. Seeing conditions were somewhat poor, variable 3-5 arc seconds.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Some factorial info on Spectral classification of stars. The various types of stars are subdivided on the basis of their spectra features.The Spectral classification main divisions...O  B  A  F  G  K  M   R  S.  These are in order of decreasing temperature. Remembering the major classifications  are as follows...Oh  Be  A  Fine  Girl  Kiss  Me  Right  Now  Smack.
Class:
 O = Ionized and neutral helium, ionized metals, weak hydrogen.
B = Neutral helium, ionized metals, hydrogen stronger.
A = Hydrogen dominant, plus singly ionized metals.
F = Hydrogen weaker, neutral and singly ionized metals.
G = CA ll prominent, hydrogen weaker, neutral metals.
K = Neutral metals, some molecular bands.
M = Neutral metals, TI O bands dominant.
R&N = Neutral metals,C2, Cn and CH bands.
S = Neutral metals, Zr O and TI O bands.
The 3 remaining classes are Q-Novae, P-Gaseous Nebula, and W-Wolf-Rayet stars.
Wolf-Rayet stars spectra are characterized by bright emission bands of hydrogen and helium and their color temperature is approx. 13,000 degrees Kelvin (22,940 degrees F).
 The principal difference between the main classes is temperature...Hot stars are O B A and are refered to as early stars. The cooler ones K M N R S etc are refered to as late stars.
A bright star will be larger and it outer regions will be more rarefied than a faint star.  The more luminous a star the narrower will be its spectrum lines since pressure is one of the line broadening mechanisms.
O = 30,000 - 60,000 K (Blue Stars):  B = 10,000 - 30,000 K (Blue/White Stars)
A = 7,500 - 10,000 K (White Stars):  F = 6,000 - 7,500 K (Yellow White Stars).
G = 5,000 - 6,000  K  (Yellow stars like the Sun):  K = 3,500 - 5,000 K (Yellow Orange stars).
M = < 3,500 K (Red stars)
Messier 93  NGC 2447 is a Galactic cluster in Puppis that contains 60 members brighter than 13.5 magnitude and cover an area of approximately 18 minutes of arc.  The cluster is large and rich in stars.The total magnitude of the cluster is 6.  This object was captured using a DSI ll CCD camera coupled to a F3.3 focal reducer athe prime focus of a 12" SCT.  The CCD camera was coupled to the focal reducer at a distance of 50 mm to provide a wide field view.
Messier 51 NGC 5194 is the famous Whirlpool galaxy that has a companion, NGC 5195 that lies just North by 4 minutes of arc. M51 is 11 by 7 minutes of arc in size and is magnitude 8.  NGC 5195 is 3 by 2 minutes of arc and approx 1 1/2 magnitudes fainter.  M51 is a late type spiral with an irregular companion.  Both lie at a distance of 31 million light years and is an example of a Sc galaxy.  The galaxy contains dark dust lanes.
The image was captured using a DSI ll CCD camera coupled to a F3.3 focal reducer at the prime focus of an 12" SCT.  The exposure time was 6 minmutes.  Seeing conditions were approx 4 arc seconds.
Messier 57 NCG 6720 is the famous Ring Nebula.  It was not discovered my Messier but by Antoine Darquier 1779.  It is located between Beta and Gamma Lyrae.  It is a patch of light about 1 minute of arc in diameter and is about the brightness of a 9th magnitude star.  It is elliptical in inshape, 74 by 62 seconds of arc. Its inner dimentions are approximately half of the outer dimentions.  From spectrum line data it exhibits that it is expanding.  The central star is a difficult object to image in small telescopes.  The estimated magnitude between 14.1 and 15.4.  M57 lies at a distance of 4100 light years.The image was captured using a DSI ll CCD canera at an exposure time of 5 minutes.  The camera was affixed to a F3.3 focal reducer at the prime focus of a 12" SCT.  Seeing conditions were very good at 3 arc seconds.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Messier 27 (NGC6853) Planetary  nebula in Vulpecula is commonly refered to as the Dumbbell Nebula.  It has an apparent size of 8 by 4 minutes of arc and shines at approx 8th magnitude.  It lies at a distance of 1,250 light years, the major axis of the hour glass is almost 3 light years long. At the center of the hour glass is a 13th magnitude star which has an estimated temperature of 85,000 degrees Kelvin (152,540 deg F).  The stars radiation causes the gas to shine by fluorescence.  When visually observing this object it appears to be hanging in space, an illusion caused by nearby field stars.
Image capture was accomplished using a DSI ll CCD camera coupled to a F3.3 focal reducer at the prime focus of a 12" SCT. Camera exposure time was 2 minutes.  Seeing conditions were fair.
Messier 20, (NGC 6514) is a diffuse nebula in Sagittarius known by the common name as the Trifid Nebula It is named for its three lobed appearance. The dark rifts that separate the lobes are non uniform in brightness.  It is 29 by 27 minutes of arc and lies at a distance of 2,200 light years. Imbedded in this cloud of gas and dust is a very hot 7th magnitude star of spectral class O7. this star is what causes the nebula to shine.  It is basically a reflection nebula whose dust is illuminated by neighboring stars. 
Imaging was accomplished using a DSI ll CCD camera, an F3.3 focal reducer at the prime focus of a 12" SCT.  The exposure time was 2 minutes in auto guide mode.
Messier 46 Galactic Cluster is a fairly rich cluster lying at a distance of about 5600 light years and is approximately 28 minutes of arc in diameter. The total brightness is equivalent to a 6th magnitude star.  Within the cluster is a planetary nebula NGC 2438 near the Northern fringe of the cluster.  It does not appear to be part of the cluster but rather a foreground object.  The nebula is non uniform in brightness and somewhat blue/grey in color.  The image below was photographed in black and white mode.
The image was captured using a DSI ll CCD camera, an F3.3 focal reducer coupled to the prime focus of a 12" F10 SCT.  The CCD was spaced 50 mm from the focal reducer to acheive a wide field of view.  Seeing conditions were fair approx 3 to 4 arc seconds. Total exposure time was 4 minutes in the auto guide mode.

Messier 2 Globular Cluster in Aquarius lies at a distance of 50,000 light years. The cluster is as large as 12 minutes of arc which corresponds to a linear size of about 175 light years.  The total light from M2  is  of visual magnitude 7. The cluster is poor in variable stars most of which are RR Lyrae variables with periods of about half a day, 3 have a period of 16 to 19  days.  Image capture was performed using a DSI ll CCD camera coupled to a 3.3 focal reducer lens at the 12" aperture F#10 SCT's prime focus.  The CCD was spaced 50 mm from the focal reducer to obtain a wide enough field to image all of the cluster.  Total CCD exposure time was 2 minutes in the auto guide mode.  Seeing conditions were fair approx 4 arcsec with occasional interference with some high cirrus clouds.

Observing and photo sessions can get out of control for there are so many wonderful objects in the night sky to view.  I have a current list of all the objects that I have imaged and photographed and keep that list in the observatory for easy reference. Prior to each observing session I select what objects I want to image, some may be ones that I have imaged previously but were not satisfied with the results and some will be new objects.  The new objects I select from the Planetarium program contained in the observatory computer. I keep a record of the type of CCD camera used and camera settings and if applicable the filters used. I have a data sheet on which I record this type of information.  The data sheet consists of the following information:
Object # NGC/ Messier etc....CCD Camera model # .....Camera Gain....Offset.....Exposure time.....Contrast.....Shadow  Enhancement....
Filter type.....Number of Images combined and stacked.....Focal Reducer if applicable.....Type of image Fits, Jpeg or Bmp.  Estimate of seeing conditions at the time.  These data are very useful for maintaining consistancy in imaging
Some of the  photos in my Lunar album are annotated with crater names and sizes. I usually annotate photos that exhibit what I consider to have very unusual and rugged surface features. Several of my friends have asked me where I get that information.  There is a web site called Moon Atlas Lunar Navigator that has name and size information.  If observing that site a mouse over a given feature yields the information on the feature. 

The CCD that I use to image is equipped with a removable IR filter.  I have found that if the IR filter is used there is a considerable amount of attenuation in the image wherein the camera gain and exposure time has to be increased which tends to bloat the images..  With the filter removed the camera is more sensitive, the exposure time is reduced yielding a cleaner image with improved resolution. I have found that this holds true with my 12" SCT and is independent of seeing conditions.  The image below of Messier 42  with  DSI ll CCD no IR filter an a 1.5 minute exposure time. 


    

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Sun had a loop shaped prominence on its limb today 14 Nov 09.  I used my Coronado Personal Telescope (PST) to image the prom. The imaging was accomplished using a CCD camera configured in Afocal mode to a 16.8 mm ocular at the PST prime focus.  Some high Cirrus clouds were present which made imaging a bit difficult.  The  captured image was processed using RegiStax processing program.  The image below is uploaded to the Solar album.



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Solar Planetary Camera


I tried out my new Solar Planetary camera, mfgrd. by Celestron, on the 8" system. Took this photo of Jupiter. It does as good a job as the the LPI which is somewhat the same camera. Good control over the imagery. The camera comes with   software and part of that software is RegiStax. The camera takes the image in AVI format and RegiStax does all the conversion. It can also take the image as a Jpeg. I tried both the AVI and the Jpeg aspect both functioned well. RegiStax is basically an image processing tool.