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 24, 2012

Lunar crater Copernicus is 93 Km in diameter and 3.8 Km in depth. The central peaks rise as high a 1.2 Km above the floor of the crater. The peaks are partially composed of the Mafic form of Olivine a magnesium iron silicate. The Crater is relatively young approximate 800 million years old. The floor of the crater does not appear to be filled by lava flood.  There are visible arc shaped landslides due to slumping if the inner walls. Crater rays spread as far as 800 Km across the surrounding Mare. Image capture was with a 12 inch SCT and a DMK31 ccd camera. 160 frames of 200 frames were processed using RegiStax software.

A massive solar prominence erupted during January. Prominences extend outward from the Sun's surface and are often loop shaped. They are anchored to the Sun's surface in the photosphere and extend outward into the Sun's Corona. They are held above the surface by strong magnetic fields. Prominences are cooler plasma (ionized gasses) than the coronal plasma. Sometimes a prominence will break apart and become a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).  CME's release huge amounts of electromagnetic radiation into space. The ejected material is a plasma consisting of high energy particles of electrons and protons and other materials.  Image capture was accomplished with a PST and DMK31 ccd camera. 180 frames out of 300 were processed using RegiStax software.