Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Orion Nebula through TS 70

Here is an image of the M42 Orion Nebula taken from the Travel Scope 70 with a Nikon D3100. I still have to find a mount with a motor drive so I can do long exposures and avoid the star trails.


The Orion Nebula (M42/NGC 1976) is also known as "the Great Nebula." It is a bright magnitude 4 emission nebula that is located in the middle of the hunter's sword (second of the three star looking points below the belt of Orion). The great wings of gas curve away from a glowing mettled core, lit by a quadruplet star system known as the Trapezium (hard to distinguish from the image above). Trapezium, easily seen in telescopes as a trapezoid of four close bright stars, is located at the heart of M42. It is a multiple system of newborn stars - a large collection of young stars and protostars called the Orion association. M42 is accompanied by a smaller detached nebula M43 (NGC 1982) which glows northeast of the nebula.

Here is a Hubble image of the Orion nebula:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

1st Attempt at Prime Focus

My first few attempts in astroimaging at prime focus using my Celestron Travel Scope 70 and Nikon D3100.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

From Shades of Grey to Brilliant Red - December 10, 2011 Total Lunar Eclipse

Last night was the second total lunar eclipse of the year visible from the Philippines. I was fortunate enough to witness both however I failed to observe all phases of the second due to poor weather. We were suppose to go to PAGASA observatory with the RTU students but my companions decided to call off the observation since the sky remained covered with thick clouds by the evening. It also rained when the penumbral stage began.

I waited outside after the rain hoping the skies would clear up, but it remained heavilly clouded. I kept up with the updates from observers in Negros via txt and they were blessed with superb sky conditions to see the eclipse and the meteors that streaked by.

Later, gaps began to emerge and the red moon was revealed. I rushed to set up the camera to image the red moon. I was able to see the eclipsed moon till the end with occasional covering of clouds. I also failed to use the TravelScope 70 as lens attachment since the tripod that came with it couldn't hold the weight when pointed at the zenith.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 10, 2011 - Total Lunar Eclipse

This coming Saturday, December 10, 2011, we will experience the 2nd Total Lunar Eclipse visible to the Philippines this year (A timely astronomical event for those still watching breaking dawn..hehe).

Here is the Eclipse time table provided by Fred Espenak on the Astroleague of the Philippines site:
Eclipse Phases Time (PST) Altitude Azimuth
Moon enters Penumbra 07:33:32 pm 30 deg 72 deg E
Moon enters Umbra 08:45:42 pm 47 deg 72 deg E
Moon enters Totality 10:06:16 pm 64 deg 67 deg E
Maximum Totality 10:31:48 pm 70 deg 63 deg NE
Moon exits Totality 10:57:24 pm 75 deg 55 deg NE
Moon exits Umbra 12:17:58 am 80 deg 325 deg NW
Moon exits Penumbra 01:30:00 am 65 deg 294 deg NW

 The reddening effect of the moon during the total lunar eclipse happens when the Moon enters the umbra, or the darker shadow of the Earth. When this happens, light from the Sun reaching the moon is blocked completely by the Earth, however the atmosphere of Earth acts as a lens which bends light into its component parts (spectra). The light that is bent most is the red part of the spectrum, which also explains the red-orange hue of the sky during sunrise and sunset. In contrast, blue wavelengths are the easiest component of light that is scattered - hence the blue colored sky as particles in the air scatter the blue light.

24-year old Fil-Am One of NASA's Youngest Engineers

Gregory Galgana Villar III, a Filipino American, is one of the youngest verification and validation engineers for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission who worked with the Mars Curiosity Project that is set to arrive on Mars on August 2012.

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