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, December 20, 2010

This image of Mare Humorum "Sea of Moisture" is an old impacet basin some 875 kilometers across. The mountains surrounding the Mare mark its edge. It is infilled with Mare lavas and a relatively thick layer of Basalt estimated to be 3 kilometers thick at its center. Rupes Liebig is a fault running along the edge of the mare (see star). Mare Humorum is bordered by Oceanus Procellarum "Ocean of Storms" and Mare Nubium "Sea of Clouds". Crater Gassendi was considered as a landing site for Apollo 17. Imaged with Meade SCT and LPI ccd camera. (click to enlarge)

On 7 December a large Solar magnetic filament (some 700,000Km long) became unstable, collapsed and in a blast of epic proportions erupted on the south east limb of the sun. It produced a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) spewing high energy particals and plasma into space. The CME was not aimed toward Earth. The image exhibits only the beginning of the CME because of obscuring clouds. Eight (8) images were taken at random intervals of 3 to 5 minutes, processed with RegiStax and Gimp software into a endless loop gif file. Image capture using a Coronado 40mm PST and Image Source DMK 31 ccd camera.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This photo is a high resolution image of a section of Mare Imbrim Latin for "Sea of Showers" or "Sea of Rains". The main features of this area are Craters  Archimedes, Eratosthenes, Conon, Timocharis, Bancroft, Autolycus, Aristillus and the mountain range Montes Apenninus. These mountains rise more than 4572 meters (15,000 Ft) above the Mare.  Mare Imbrim is the largest of the Lunar Mare. It is an ancient impact basin infilled by impact and volcanic materials. As an added note, Apollo 15 landed in this South East region of the Mare near the Apenninus mountains (see arrow) in a region called Palus Putredinis "Swamp of Decay" near Hadley Rille a V shaped gorge.  Hadley Rille not visible in this image.  Image capture 12" SCT and DMK 31 ccd.(Click image to enlarge)