Tag Archives: September

Alpine Tundra Ecosystem of Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

Welcome to the land above the tree line, the Alpine Tundra Ecosystem inside Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The area starts around 11,000 to 11,500 feet above sea level, and the quick change is pretty dramatic, especially along the Trail Ridge Road.

Alpine tundra conditions occur in mountains all around the Earth. It is marked by stunted growth in plants and lack of trees due to colder temperatures, high winds and diminished greenhouse effect at these higher altitudes.

rmnp_eco

Tech Specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens, HDR image 1/640 and 1/250 seconds, ISO 500, f/20, 200mm. Image date: September 21, 2016.

…Tom

The Least Chipmunk in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

I snapped this picture along one of the main roads in Rocky Mountain National Park while waiting for the elk to come out of the woods. I realized there were different types of chipmunks in the park, and the way to distinguish this variety was to either count teeth, not happening, or to count toes, also not happening. This picture shows a third way to identify the Least chipmunk from other varieties, check out how the stripes go down the back all the way to the tail. With the Eastern chipmunk (found in my neck of the woods), these stripes will fade out when they approach the tail.

least-chipmunk

Tech specs: Canon 6D, Canon EF400mm f/5.6L USM lens, ISO 2000, 1/320, f/9. Photo taken in September 2016.

…Tom

Messier 75 – Globular Cluster in the Constellation Sagittarius

Messier 75 (M75 or NGC 6864) is a compact (class I) globular cluster found in the constellation Sagittarius. It is about 67,500 light years away and has an apparent visual magnitude of 8.5.

m75_8min_090116-1

Tech Specs: This image is composed of 32 x 15 second images (8-minutes total) at ISO 3200 with 5 x 15 second dark frames and 5 x 1/4000 second bias frames. Equipment: Meade LX90 12” telescope and Canon 6D camera mounted on a Celestron CGEM-DX mount, unguided. Software: DeepSkyStacker, ImagesPlus, and Adobe Lightroom. Imaging was done on September 1, 2016. Location: Weatherly, Pennsylvania.

Online resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_75)

SEDS (http://messier.seds.org/m/m075.html)

AstroPixels (http://astropixels.com/globularclusters/M75-01.html)

Carpe noctem!

…Tom

NGC 7009 – The Saturn Planetary Nebula in Aquarius

NGC 7009 is a planetary nebula found in the constellation Aquarius. As you can tell from the picture, it is also referred to as the Saturn Nebula. The inset picture has been expanded and edited to bring out further details including several shells and expanding jets. This nebula is about 2,300 light years away.

Planetary nebula are created when a red giant star expels its outer layers, these outer layers are then illuminated by the new central white dwarf star. Typically these planetary nebula only last a few tens of thousands of years before dissipating.

ngc7009_6min_090116final

Tech Specs: This image is composed of 24 x 15 second images at ISO 3200 with additional dark and bias frames using a Meade LX90 12” telescope and Canon 6D camera mounted on a Celestron CGEM-DX mount. Imaging was done on September 27, 2016 from Weatherly, Pennsylvania.

Online Resources:

SpaceTelescope.org (https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/opo9738g/)

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_Nebula)

SEDS (http://messier.seds.org/xtra/ngc/n7009.html)

Carpe noctem!

…Tom

Messier 72 – Globular Cluster in the Constellation Aquarius

Globular Cluster Messier 72 (M72 or NGC 6981) is a globular cluster that can be found in the constellation Aquarius. It has been estimated that this globular cluster has a combined mass equal to 168,000 times the mass of the sun!

m72_8min_090116_1-1

Tech Specs: This image is composed of 32 x 15 second images at ISO 3200 with additional dark and bias frames. Meade LX90 12” telescope, Antares Focal Reducer, and Canon 6D camera. Imaging was done on September 1, 2016.

Online resources:

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messier_72)

SEDS (http://messier.seds.org/m/m072.html)

Carpe noctem!

…Tom

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