American eclipses are about to be made great again! It's been about 38 years since there's been a total solar eclipse over the American mainland. And that one just grazed the northwest and northern plains before turning traitor and curving up into Canada. This time around, the path of totality runs essentially through the middle of the entire width of the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. It will be one of the most witnessed total solar eclipses in history. When: Monday, August 21st (exact times vary based on your location... more below)Where: An approximately 70-mile wide path that cuts through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.Greatest Eclipse: Near Hopkinsville, KentuckyLongest Eclipse: Near Carbondale, IllinoisEclipse LengthShortest: West coast of Oregon at about 1 minute 58 secondsLongest: Southern Illinois at about 2 minutes 41 secondsHow is all the above in…
M81 and M82 are two galaxies hanging out in the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Dipper. M81, on the right, is also referred to as Bode's Galaxy (for its discoverer, Johann Elert Bode). M82, on the left, is also know as the Cigar Galaxy.
Here are the wacky things about images like this one...
(1) Every single star you see in this image is in our own galaxy. It's easy to think you're seeing individual stars in M81 and M82 but that's simply not the case. At 12 million light years away, the galaxies are fairly close to us but they're still much too far to be able to resolve individual stars. Also, while there are such things as rogue stars that get flung out of their home galaxies due to gravitational disturbances, it would be quite rare for one to show up in an amateur astronomer's image.
(2) If your monitor is bright enough and calibrated well, you can see a lot of fuzzy patches, each of which is another galaxy!
After months of waiting for equipment, parts, and exchanging a couple parts... Everything is finally together and working! I do have to tweak collimation and dial in polar alignment a bit, but for all intents and purposes everything is operational. See the previous post for the first light image (the supernova in M82).
Mount: Paramount ME II by Software Bisque
Telescope: AG Optical 10" Newtonian Astrograph
Guider: Takahashi FS-60C Doublet Apochromatic with SBIG ST-i camera