Morning Stars – September 13, 2017

Here is a view from the morning of September 13, 2017 showing the moon and the winter stars shining more prominently in the morning skies. How many of the brighter stars can you name in this image? Venus is hidden in the clouds on the lower left.

Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens, three image composite with each image being 8 seconds at ISO 3200, f/4, 17mm. Images pieced together using Microsoft Image Composite Editor (Microsoft ICE). Date: September 13, 2017 Location: Hickory Run State Park, Pennsylvania.


Polaris – the Double Star

I’ll be honest, I really never viewed Polaris under any magnification before. I’ve always used it as a guidepost to align a telescope or other piece of astronomical equipment. While recently setting up my pier and Meade telescope for the first trial runs, I focused the scope on Polaris to begin alignment, and snapped a few quick pictures. That is when I noticed a little companion star right next to it! Low and behold, Polaris is a multiple star system with an 8.7 magnitude companion (see image in the two o’clock position). Polaris actually has another, closer star, designated Polaris Ab that amateur scopes can’t resolve. You can see a Hubble view of this star at:

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX90, Celestron CGEM-DX mount, Canon 6D stock camera, ISO 3200, 10 second single exposure using Backyard EOS, no darks or bias frames. Image Date: August 25, 2017. Location: The Dark Side Observatory in Weatherly, PA.

Additional information:


Supernova SN2017eaw in the Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946)

I had some time last evening to collect data on the Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946) knowing that there was a recent supernova discovered in it, actually back in May of this year. I had the opportunity of collecting data on this galaxy in the past (2015) so I was able to compare the views and see the supernova (see pic) using my own data.

The bottom photo clearly shows the supernova with a distinctive reddish hue.

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX90 + Antares Focal Reducer +Canon 6D, guided using a Canon 400mm lens and ASI290MC ZWO camera. 24 x 60 second subs at ISO 1600, 3 x 60 second darks and 3 x 1/4000 second bias. Date: September 10, 2017  Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA.


Open Cluster Messier 39 (M39) or NGC 7092

Here is view of the open cluster M39 located in the northern section of the constellation Cygnus. There are about 30 members in this cluster and it is about 800 light years distant. Best viewed with a wide angle lens.

Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon 400mm + Canon 2x Extender III, piggy-back mounted on my main scope, guided using a Canon 100mm lens and ASI290MC camera. Celestron CGEM-DX mount, 8 x 60 seconds at ISO 1600. Software: Backyard EOS, DeepSkyStacker, Adobe Lightroom. Date: September 8, 2017. Location: The Dark Side Observatory, Weatherly, PA.

Additional information:


Sunspot/Active Regions AR12674 and AR12673 – September 7, 2017

Wide field view of Active Region 12674 and 12673 taken on September 7, 2017.

Tech Specs: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM + Canon 2x Extender III + ZWO ASI290MC camera piggyback mounted on a Meade 12” LX90 telescope on a Celestron CGEM-DX mount. Best 50% of 5000 frames collected using SharpCap v3.0 and AutoStakkert! V3.0.14 (x64). A 77mm Thousand Oaks Optical Solar Filter was on the business end of the lens. Date: September 7, 2017.

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