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Showing posts from June, 2013

Cruddy Night at GMARS

Due to the smoke that continues to pass overhead (see previous post), the particulate matter is exceptionally high tonight. This tends to exaggerate the appearance of light pollution from places like Yucca Valley and the Coachella Valley.

The Sky Quality Meter gave an average reading of 21.45 at 10:30PM.

Happening Now: It's Damn Smokey Out Here!

There are thick clouds of smoke passing through southern California tonight. As far as I can tell, they appear to be coming from fires in Arizona with the smoke being pushed along by downdrafts associated with monsoonal cloud formation.

Hope it clears for some imaging tonight.

A Monochromatic Eagle and Swan

This avian duo sits near the center of our galaxy from our perspective. The two nebula are prominent features in larger binoculars under dark skies and show up quite easily in photographs of this part of the night sky. Also referred to as M16 (The Eagle Nebula) and M17 (The Swan, Omega, or Lobster Nebula), both nebula glow due to the presence of hydrogen that's had an electron energized by the radiation of a nearby star, causing the electron to orbit at a higher energy level. The electron then wants to move back to a lower energy orbit and must give off a photon to do so. The red light our eyes and cameras capture is the result of that electron moving to a lower energy orbit and releasing a photon with a wavelength of 656.28 nanometers.

Since this is a monochromatic image, you'll just have to imagine that the brighter areas are red. :-)

File Under: Not Seen From Home

While not a particularly interesting photo, it's interesting for me because I don't get to see these stars from home. Living at 34 degrees north latitude, the Southern Cross and the star Alpha Centauri are hidden from view. But at the 22 degrees north latitude of Kauai, these objects become visible above the southern horizon.

Waimea Canyon and the Milky Way

Obviously, this one was taken quite a ways from southern California... With a waxing gibbous moon overhead, the Milky Way rises above a bank of clouds and Kauai's Waimea Canyon. The city lights on the right are from the towns of Ele'ele and Hanapepe. The reflected green light on the left is from NASA's tracking station on the west side of the island.

The Lizard Comet: The Growing Tail of Pan-STARRS

The tail on Comet Pan-STARRS just keeps on growing. Here's an image from the evening of 5/31/2013. The field of view is approximately 3.8° x 2.7° wide — being the selfish comet that it is, Pan-STARRS takes up all of it.

A Bit of Milky Way from GMARS

Here's a 270-second exposure of the central part of our Milky Way Galaxy as seen from GMARS on the evening of 5/31/2013.

Asteroid 1998 QE2 Quietly Passes By

The asteroid and its recently discovered satellite asteroid (not that you can see it here) pass by Earth on 5/31/2013.