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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

At the northern edge of Mare Imbrium crater Plato is the crown in the band of mountains dividing Mare Frigoris (Above crater Plato) from Mare Imbrium. At the lower right craters Archimides, Autolycus and Aristillus mark the area where in 1959 Russia's unmanned Luna 2 became the first craft from Earth to reach the moon's surface. At extreme left the distinctive semi circle known as Sinus Iridium (bay of rainbows) is eye capturing. Mons Pico ascends approximately 1.5 miles above the Mare floor from its base of 10 by 15 miles. Click image to enlarge.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The double cluster in Perseus NGC 884 & 869 lie at a distance of 7600 and 6800 light years. They are separated from one another by a few hundred light years. The clusters are blue shifted and are approaching Earth at 22 kilometers per second. The hottest main sequence stars are of spectral class B0. Each cluster contains luminous class A, B, and O supergiants. Some of the stars have matured to class M Red supergiants. The age of the clusters, based on their individual stars, are young. NGC 869 is 5.6 million years old and NGC 884 is 3.2 million years old. The image was captured using a SCT converted into a Schmidt camera, a DSI 2 ccd camera and a 20 minute exposure. Some image processing was performed.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sun spot AR1166 is many times larger than Earth. Its magnetic field has potential for X class solar flares. The image is a composite of the sun spot and a flare that was hovering above. The images were taken in Hydrogen alpha light through some high thin cirrus clouds which obscured the flares origin but it appears to have emmanated from spot 1166. On March 3rd 2011 Image capture was accomplished using a Coronado 40mm PST and Image Source DMK 31 ccd camera. Image processed with RegiStax software.