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Partial Lunar Eclipse 6/4/20121250 viewsOrbital dynamics of the Earth-Moon system are on display with the latest two pictures on our gallery page. On May 20th the Moon passed between the Sun and the Earth at its furthest point and created an annular solar eclipse. Steve caught a beautiful image from Albuquerque. Two weeks later on the morning of June 4th, the Moon passed partially through the shadow of the Earth creating a partial lunar eclipse. Venus will transit the Sun on the afternoon of June 5th.
The Owl Nebula964 viewsThe Owl Nebula (Messier 97, or M97) is a planetary nebula in the Big Dipper about 2600 light years away. The nebula formed about 6,000 years ago when a Sun-like star died. The nebula gets its name from the owl-like "eyes". This narrowband image consists Hydrogen alpha, Hydrogen beta and Oxygen emission lines captured through a 120mm f/8.3 refractor and Atik 314L+ camera (109 min total exposure).
The King of the Planets974 viewsJupiter is visible in the early morning almost directly overhead in late September/early October. Larger than all the other planets combined, its only 1/1000th the mass of the Sun. The bands visible in the atmosphere are due to upwelling compounds whose exact nature is not quite known. Ultraviolet light from the Sun caused the compounds brown, orange and other colors. Imaged taken using a 5" SCT at f25 (~3750mm) using an Imaging Source 21AU618 color camera (1/45 sec exp, 3316 fr cap/2875 stacked /90% qual)
Who Needed ISON?844 viewsWhile Comet ISON evaporated while going around the Sun, Comet Lovejoy (C2013 R1) is putting on a show in our morning sky. It is visible low in the NE before sunrise. This is a 4 min exposure through a 100ED refractor at f7.2 with a modified Canon 1000D at ISO 800. The green color is most likely the result of outgassing of primarily diatomic carbon from solar heating. C2013 R1 was discovered on 9/7/2013 and will make its closest approach to the Sun on 12/22.
A Galactic Rose962 viewsThe Rosette nebula (Sh2-275) is a large molecular cloud in the constellation Monoceros. The nebula is about 4-6 times the size of the full moon in our night sky. The cloud is mostly comprised of hydrogen gas and is illuminated from the group of hot, young stars near its center. The nebula lies some 5200 light years from the Earth. This image was taken from Alamogordo NM using a 100mm f7.2 refractor and a modified Canon 1000D (XS) DSLR.
Solar Upheaval838 viewsThe last few weeks have seen the emergence of several large sunspots as solar maximum peaks. Active Region 1967 is wider than the planet Jupiter and its primary dark cores are big enough to swallow Earth many times over. This image was taken in Calcium-K (393.4 nm) from Alamogordo, NM using a 90mm refractor at f20, and Lunt B1200 Cak module and Imaging Source 41AU02 camera.
The Lagoon Nebula908 viewsThe Lagoon Nebula (cMessier 8 or M8, and as NGC 6523) is a giant interstellar cloud in the constellation Sagittarius. The Lagoon Nebula is estimated to be between 4,000-6,000 light years from the Earth. The nebula contains a number of Bok globules (dark, collapsing clouds of proto-stellar material). Imaged using a 100mm F7.2 refractor (112 min) and Hap Griffin modified Canon 1000D DSLR (ISO 800).
Massive Filament on the Sun683 viewsA dark filament of magnetism in the sun's southern hemisphere has curled upon itself to form a circle of gargantuan proportions. The circumference of the ring is almost a million kilometers (600,000 miles)! Magnetic filaments are very often unstable, and have a tendency to collapse. Filaments crashing to the surface of the sun can cause of a type of explosion called a Hyder flare. Any flare from this filament could be extra-energetic as it releases the tension stored in its million-km coil. Image taken from Alamogordo, NM on 11/13/15 at 10:14 AM MST (1714 UTC) using a Meade Instruments Coronado 90mm SolarMax II telescope and Imaging Source 41AU02 camera.
M76 - The Little Dumbbell670 viewsMessier 76 was discovered in 1780 by Pierre M├ęchain and cataloged by Charles Messier that same year. It wasn't until 1918 that M76's true nature as a planetary nebula was discovered by Herber Curtis. Located some 2,500 light years away in the constellation Perseus, M76 it is one of the faintest objects in the Messier catalog at magnitude 10.1. This image was taken from Alamogordo NM using an Astro-tech 130EDT f7 refractor and Atik 314L+ monochrome camera (130 min) using Ha, Hb and OIII signals.
Mercury Transit 2016620 viewsThe Mercury transit was well underway when this image was taken at 8:17 AM MT on 5/9/2016 from the AAG outreach event at Imago Dei Academy in Alamogordo, NM. The image was taken using a Stellaruve 80ED refractor with a Lunt B1200 Calcium-K module and Imaging Source 41AU02 camera. The Calcium K-line (393.4 nm) shows supergranulation in the lower chromosphere (~1200 km) along with lighter regions indicating magnetic activity. Sunspot AR2542 along with the small disk of Mercury are also visible.
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