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.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 23, 2010,  Main group of craters are Ptolemaeus (153 Km), Alphonsus (108 Km), Arzachel (97 Km), Hipparchus (150 Km) and Alpetragius (40Km).  Lunar surface imaged during daylight using a red filter, DMK 31 ccd camera and an 8 inch SCT.  200 frames combined and stacked using RegiStax software.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 18 2010 For the 4th day this giant prominance has persisted. It is loaded with magnitized Plasma.  It streches more than 20 Earth diameters from end to end and Earth would fit through any of the Plasma gaps in the Prominence.  Imaged with a Coronado PST and DMK31 ccd camera. Processed 200 frames stacked and combined using RegiStax software.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Imaged a giant solar prominence this morning 0845 hrs and in the afternoon at 1450 hrs 16 March 2010. The top image is the 0845 image and the bottom the 1450 hrs image. The two images exhibit a noicable difference in shape  This giant arch is loaded with magnitized plasma. Image capture was accomplished using a Coronado PST and a DMK 31 ccd camera afocal to a 12.5 mm eyepiece.  300 frames stacked and processed using RegiStax software.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Solar Prominence March 11, 2010 imaging with Coronado 40mm PST and DMK31 ccd camera. 300 frames processed using RegiStax software.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

On September 2, 2009 Jupiter's moons did a vanishing act. The moons  Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto lined up in front of and behind the Giant planet.  The event was captured uning a 12" SCT, and a Meade LPI CCD camera.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A dark massive plasma filled filament appeared on the Suns surface March 9th 2010.  If and when it collapses and hits the Suns surface the impact could cause a powerful Hyder Flare.  A Hyder Flare is an intense brightening in the Suns chromosphere.  Hyder Flares are not usually associated with energetic particle emission or geomagenetic storms.  The image was capturred using a DMK 31 monochrome ccd camera and a Coronado 40 mm PST.  300 frames were processed and stacked using RegiStax software.

Messier 41, NGC 2287 (Tau Cma) lies at a distance of 2300 light years. It is approx 4 degrees south of the star Sirius and is composed of about 100 stars including several red giants the brightest of which is spectral class K3 it is 700 times more luminous than our sun.  The hottest star in the cluster is of spectral class AO. Hiding in the cluster are at least 2 White Dwarf stars. The age of the cluster is between 190 and 240 million years. It is moving away from us at 23.3 Km/s. The diameter of the cluster is 25 to 26 light years. The image was captured using a 12 " SCT,  DSI ll ccd camera and an f3.3 focal reducer.  Exposure time was 2 minutes seeing conditions were fair.