Friday, November 30, 2007

Final Comet Holmes?

Comet Holmes is definitely changing in appearance. It is larger than the sun from last word, and has become a very noticeable naked eye blob in the northern sky. It had a pretty dramatic start, and it's appearance changed almost nightly. This comet has been the astronomical equivalent of a cliffhanger novel, with a surprise in store each night. At least that is how the early days of this apparition were. The comet has now evened itself out fairly well, and is remaining largely unchanged. It still remains a great target, but unless something truly exceptional happens, I don't think I will image it much more.

Oh well, maybe one more wide-field if it crosses something interesting.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Little Dumb Bell

This is the Little Dumb Bell Nebula, named for it's resemblance to the larger Dumb Bell Nebula in a different region of the sky. It is a planetary nebula, and is basically a dying star throwing off it's shells of gas prior to burning out. This will not happen anytime soon, as galactic time is VERY slow compared to what we experience, so we get to enjoy it as pretty scenery for quite a while longer.

Crab Nebula

I really like Black and White images. I think there is a drama to them missing from many color images. Here is a monochrome version of the Crab Nebula photo I shot several weeks ago. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Silver Coin Galaxy

I took this image of NGC 253 a few nights ago. This galaxy is a very large galaxy in the constellation of Sculptor. It has had several Supernovas detected in it in the past. I should have taken more images, but it was windy and hard to get anything at all.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Holmes in Detail

This image shows a close-up of Comet Holmes. You can clearly see the nucleus and a jet coming off it leading to the much dimmer tail which is not visible in this photo. You can also see some detail where the front of the gas halo is being impacted by the solar wind and is forming a type of Bow Shock.

A false color view is shown below...

Another View of Comet Holmes...

Comet Holmes is passing through the constellation Perseus in this image. You can faintly see the gas halo and blue ion tail. The tail has been disturbed by the solar wind, and has a large gap shortly behind the head (coma).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Crab Nebula

This is the Crab Nebula. It is a large star that exploded and we are seeing the resulting shell of gas expand away from it. The explosion occured in the 9th century AD, being recorded by Chinese astronomers and a few others. At it's center lies the first known Pulsar, an spinning neutron star that only emits it's light from the polar regions. It blinks on and off as it spins. This star spins so fast, it flashes in milliseconds.

I imaged this with my smaller Mak-Cassegrain scope using Cyan-Magenta-Yellow filters.

Rose is a Rose

I snapped this quick image of the Rosette Nebula with my Guidescope while waiting on another target to rise. Turned out pretty well for such a short exposure. The Rosette is a star forming region where the stars have aged a bit and are blowing away the nebula with their solar winds. You can see the cleared away towards the center with a cluster of stars in the middle. There are still Bok Globules present (the dark spots) which are globs of matter coalescing into stars.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Holmes Beginning to Show a Tail!

As this comet slowly turns around the sun, it's tail will become more prominent. The blue area to the upper right of the comet's disk is the beginnings of a tail. The green area is a cloud of gas surrounding the entire comet. I tried to capture what little tail may be visible through a series of long exposures (4 min) with my DSLR and biggest scope.