Monthly Archives: July 2014

Veins of Heaven 

strongNLCs_heden
Image Credit & Copyright: P-M Hedén (Clear Skies, TWAN)

 Transfusing sunlight through a still dark sky, this exceptional display of noctilucent clouds was captured earlier this month above the island of Gotland, Sweden. From the edge of space, about 80 kilometers above Earth’s surface, the icy clouds reflect sunlight even though the Sun itself is below the horizon as seen from the ground. Usually spotted at high latitudes in summer months the night shining clouds made a strong showing this July. Also known as polar mesopheric clouds they are understood to form as water vapor driven into the cold upper atmosphere condenses on the fine dust particles supplied by disintegrating meteors or volcanic ash. NASA’s AIM mission provides daily projections of noctilucent clouds as seen from space.

APOD NASA 31-Jul-14

The Sun Online and solar activity. July 31, 2014

The reported partial halo CME as observed on 30 July at 13:36UT by SOHO and reported by CACTUS, is actually a combination of at least 2 separate CMEs on different locations on the Sun, hence creating the illusion of a wide angle CME. SOHO, SDO and STEREO imagery indicate that the first CME seen in
LASCO-imagery at 13:36UT originates from an eruption in old active region NOAA 2113 on the backside of the Sun. This region was responsible for several M-class flares during its previous transit, and will round the east limb within the next two days. The associated CME was slow (about 300 km/s
plane-of-the-sky speed) and is directed away from Earth.  The second CME originated from a filament eruption on the visible disk south of NOAA 2131 around 18:00UT, shortly after a data gap in SOHO-imagery. This was a narrow, but fast (800 km/s) CME directed to the southeast. Also this CME has no Earth-directed component.
SIDC

Equipment: Coronado 90 +  Imaging Source DMK  + LX75
Processing: Photoshop, Avistack 300 frames
Date: 07/31/14
Time UT: 16:00
Exposure 1/500 sec.

Observatory Sponli

  

Barnard’s Galaxy

bd8db7d615acb1046580032b5b02e1bb.1824x0_q100_watermark
NGC 6822 (also known as Barnard’s GalaxyIC 4895, or Caldwell 57) is a barred irregular galaxy approximately 1.6 millionlight-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. Part of the Local Group of galaxies, it was discovered by E. E. Barnard in 1884 (hence its name), with a six-inch refractor telescope. It is one of the closer galaxies to the Milky Way. It is similar in structure and composition to the Small Magellanic Cloud. It is about 7,000 light-years in diameter.
Edwin Hubble wrote the seminal paper N.G.C. 6822, A Remote Stellar System (Hubble 1925) wherein he identified 15 variable stars (11 of which were Cepheids). He also surveyed the galaxy’s stars distribution down to magnitude 19.4. He provided spectral characteristics, luminosities and dimensions for the five brightest “diffuse nebulae” (giant H II regions) that included the Bubble Nebula and the Ring Nebula. He also computed the absolute magnitude of the entire galaxy.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Geoptik “Formula25″ Newton 10″ 1250mm
Imaging cameras: Home made 450D Cmos Cooled – Baader
Mounts: Sky-Watcher NEQ6
Guiding telescopes or lenses: 60/228
Guiding cameras: Shoestring Astronomy USB Guide Port Interface, Xbox LiveWebcam
Software: Pleiades Astrophoto, S.L. PixInsinght 1.8 RC7
Filters: Hutech IDAS LPS V4
Accessories: Baader MPCC mpcc coma correcteur
Dates: Aug. 6, 2013, Aug. 7, 2013, Aug. 8, 2013
Frames: Hutech IDAS LPS V4: 72×300″
Integration: 6.0 hours

Author:  Giosi Amante
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 31 July 2014

The Sun Online and solar activity. July 30, 2014

The largest event of the period was a C4 flare peaking at 16:33UT on 29 July in the trailing portion of NOAA 2130. This area shows some mixed magnetic polarities and was also the source of one C3 and three C1 flares. NOAA 2125 and 2127 contributed with a C1 flare each. NOAA 2126 has simplified and remained quiet. The long filament in the NE quadrant erupted early this morning between 04:30 and 05:30UT. According to the currently available STEREO-imagery, the associated CME was directed mostly to the north and away from Earth. Another CME was first observed by SOHO/LASCO at 01:25UT and was also associated to a filament eruption at or just behind the east limb. This CME is not directed to Earth. The filaments near the NE-limb and south near the Central Meridian (CM) were relatively stable. 
Further C-class flaring is expected, with a small chance for an M-class flare from NOAA 2127 and 2130. Solar wind speed declined further from 350 to 310 km/s, with Bz varying between -5 and +3 nT. A small equatorial hole is approaching the CM and may influence the geomagnetic field around 4 August.
Geomagnetic conditions were quiet and are expected to remain so.
SIDC

Equipment: Coronado 90 +  Imaging Source DMK  + LX75
Processing: Photoshop, Avistack 300 frames
Date: 07/30/14
Time UT: 16:00
Exposure 1/500 sec.

Observatory Sponli

  

M31: The Andromeda Galaxy 

m31_bers_1824
Image Credit & Copyright: Jacob Bers (Bersonic)

 Andromeda is the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Our Galaxy is thought to look much like Andromeda. Together these two galaxies dominate the Local Group of galaxies. The diffuse light from Andromeda is caused by the hundreds of billions of stars that compose it. The several distinct stars that surround Andromeda’s image are actually stars in our Galaxy that are well in front of the background object.Andromeda is frequently referred to as M31 since it is the 31st object on Messier’s list of diffuse sky objects. M31 is so distant it takes about two million years for light to reach us from there. Although visible without aid, the above image of M31 was taken with a standard camera through a small telescope. Much about M31 remains unknown, including how it acquired its unusual double-peaked center.

APOD 30 Jul 2014

M 78 in Orion

b35d0b3e16f2da4b41ee309f9a94c760.1824x0_q100_watermark
The nebula Messier 78 (also known as M 78 or NGC 2068) is a reflection nebula in the constellation Orion. It was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1780 and included by Charles Messier in his catalog of comet-like objects that same year.

M78 is the brightest diffuse reflection nebula of a group of nebulae that include NGC 2064, NGC 2067 and NGC 2071. This group belongs to the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex and is about 1,600 light years distant from Earth. M78 is easily found in small telescopes as a hazy patch and involves two stars of 10th magnitude. These two stars, HD 38563A and HD 38563B, are responsible for making the cloud of dust in M78 visible by reflecting their light.

About 45 variable stars of the T Tauri type, young stars still in the process of formation as well as some 17 Herbig–Haro objects are known in M78.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Geoptik “Formula25″ Newton 10″ 1250mm
Imaging cameras: Home made 450D Cmos Cooled – Baader
Mounts: Sky-Watcher NEQ6
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Geoptik 50/200 mm finderscope
Guiding cameras: Shoestring Astronomy USB Guide Port Interface, Xbox LiveWebcam
Software: photoshop, Pleiades Astrophoto, S.L. PixInsinght 1.8 RC7
Filters: HUTECH IDAS LPS P2
Accessories: Giosi Made Fasce anticondensa, Home made Arduino Focuser (project sir Jolo – ascom-jolo-focuser), Baader MPCC mpcc coma correcteur
Dates: Dec. 4, 2013, Dec. 5, 2013
Frames:
48×300″ -45C
HUTECH IDAS LPS P2: 45×300″ 5C
Integration: 7.8 hours

Author:  Giosi Amante
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 30 July 2014

The Sun Online and solar activity. July 29, 2014

The strongest flare of the last 24 hours took place in NOAA 2125. The C2 flare peaked at 14:10UT and was associated to a non-Earth directed CME. The 4 other C-class flares were all minor C1 events taking place in the trailing portion of growing active region NOAA 2126.The other 8 sunspot groups were quiet, including NOAA 2127 which has some mixed magnetic polarities.
Further C-class flaring is expected, in particular from NOAA 2126 and 2127.
After yesterday’s sector boundary crossing, solar wind speed decreased from 450 to 350 km/s. Initially, Bz varied between +6 and -6 nT, but its amplitude gradually decreased to 2 near the end of the reporting period. Geomagnetic conditions evolved from unsettled to quiet.
Quiet geomagnetic conditions are expected, with locally an unsettled period possible.
SIDC

Equipment: Coronado 90 +  Imaging Source DMK  + LX75
Processing: Photoshop, Avistack 300 frames
Date: 07/29/14
Time UT: 16:00
Exposure 1/500 sec.

  

A Sky Portal in New Zealand 

SkyPortal_horalek_1500
Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek

To some, it may look like a portal into the distant universe. To others, it may appear as the eye of a giant. Given poetic license, both are correct. Pictured above is a standard fisheye view of the sky — but with an unusual projection. The view is from a perch in New Zealand called Te Mata Peak, a name that translates from the Maori language as “Sleeping Giant”. The wondrous panorama shows the band of our Milky Way Galaxy right down the center of the sky, with the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds visible to the right. The red hue is atmospheric airglow that surprised the photographer as it was better captured by the camera than the eye. The above image was taken two weeks ago as the photographer’s sister, on the left, and an acquaintance peered into the sky portal.

APOD NASA 29-Jul-2014

NGC 281 in the constellation of Cassiopeia

d4c27289e5864ced0db0af7e842c049d.1824x0_q100_watermark

NGC 281 is an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia and part of the Perseus Spiral Arm. It includes the open cluster IC 1590, the multiple star HD 5005, and several Bok globules. Colloquially, NGC 281 is also known as the Pacman Nebula for its resemblance to the video game character.

The nebula was discovered in August 1883 by E. E. Barnard, who described it as “a large faint nebula, very diffuse.” The multiple star HD 5005, also called \beta1, was discovered by S. W. Burnham. It consists of an 8th-magnitude primary with four companions at distances between 1.4 and 15.7 seconds of arc. There has been no appreciable change in this quintuple system since the first measurements were made in 1875.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: GSO RC8
Imaging cameras: Canon EOS 450D / Digital Rebel XSi / Kiss X2
Mounts: Sky-Watcher NEQ6
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Sky-Watcher Equinox 80
Guiding cameras: lacerta mgen2
Focal reducers: AP CCDT67
Software: photoshop, PixInsight, Iris
Accessories: Astronomik ha filter 12nm (EOS clip type), astronomik CLS filter (EOS Clip)
Dates: July 9, 2012, Oct. 30, 2012
Frames:
Astronomik Clip CLS: 35×300″ ISO400 bin 1×1
Astronomik H-alpha 12nm: 10×300″ ISO400 bin 1×1
Integration: 3.8 hours
Darks: ~22
Flats: ~38
Bias: ~35

Author:  Philippe Mingasson
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 29 July 2014

The Sun Online and solar activity. July 28, 2014

There are 8 relatively small sunspot groups visible. NOAA 2127, still close to the southeast limb, and NOAA 2126 produced each one C1.2 flare (peaking resp. at 14:18UT yesterday and at 11:45UT today). Both regions seem to have some mixed magnetic polarity.  No Earth-directed CMEs were observed. Some 10-20 degrees long filaments are observed in the NE, SE and NW solar quadrant, as well as in NOAA 2121.  There’s a chance on further C-class flaring, in particular from NOAA 2127
and 2126. An eruption of one of the filaments is possible.
A disturbance was observed in ACE solar wind data starting shortly after 03:00UT. Over the next four hours, wind speed gradually increased from 350 to 430 km/s, while Bz varied between +11 and -8 nT, being mostly positive near the end of the period. The geomagnetic field was unsettled to locally active in response to this disturbance. Quiet to unsettled geomagnetic conditions are expected, with locally an
active period possible.
SIDC

Equipment: Coronado 90 +  Imaging Source DMK  + LX75
Processing: Photoshop, Avistack 300 frames
Date: 07/28/14
Time UT: 16:00
Exposure 1/500 sec.

Observatory Sponli