Daily Archives: June 27, 2014

Martian Anniversary Selfie 

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Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS

June 24th marked the first full Martian year of the Curiosity Rover’s exploration of the surface of the Red Planet. That’s 687 Earth days or 669 sols since its landing on August 5, 2012. To celebrate, consider this self-portrait of the car-sized robot posing next to a rocky outcrop dubbed Windjana, its recent drilling and sampling site. The mosaicked selfie was constructed with frames taken this April and May using the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), intended for close-up work and mounted at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. The MAHLI frames used exclude sections that show the arm itself and so MAHLI and the robotic arm are not seen. Famous for panoramic views, the rover’s Mastcam is visible though, on top of the tall mast staring toward the left and down at the drill hole.

APOD NASA 27-Jun-14

California Nebula

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The California Nebula (NGC 1499) is an emission nebula located in the constellation Perseus. It is so named because it appears to resemble the outline of the US State of California on long exposure photographs. It is almost 2.5° long on the sky and, because of its very low surface brightness, it is extremely difficult to observe visually. It can be observed with a Hβ filter (isolates the Hβ line at 486 nm) in a rich-field telescope under dark skies. It lies at a distance of about 1,000 light years from Earth. Its fluorescence is due to excitation of the Hβ line in the nebula by the nearby prodigiously energetic O7 star, xi Persei.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Orion Optics UK CT8
Imaging cameras: SBIG ST-8300C, SBIG ST-8300M
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Orion Optics UK CT8
Guiding cameras: Starlight Xpress Lodestar guide camera
Focal reducers: Baader Planetarium RCC
Software: Maxim DL, photoshop
Filters: Baader Planetarium UV/IR Cut Filter, Baader Planetarium 7nm H-Alpha
Accessories: Celestron Radial Guider
Dates: Oct. 3, 2013, Oct. 4, 2013
Frames: 
Baader Planetarium 7nm H-Alpha: 37×900″ bin 1×1
Baader Planetarium UV/IR Cut Filter: 26×300″ bin 1×1
Integration: 11.4 hours

Author: Jacek Bobowik
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 27 June 2014