Flintstone Stargazing

May 24, 2008

Best Saturn Yet / Pinwheel Galaxy


Saturn on 5/23/08

I’ve been struggling with my images of Saturn lately. I’ve had trouble getting a good magnified view using my Barlows – in particular with chromatic aberration. Tonight I tried a different take: eyepiece projection. Using my 15mm eyepiece and my eyepiece projection equipment, I attached my DSI-II to it and projected the image (which makes it larger) onto the CCD. What a difference! I can’t wait to try viewing with an even higher magnification eyepiece. The planet and its rings are well defined and there’s even a subtle hint of the Cassini division in the rings!

Something strange also happened tonight. While I was outside, after 12, maybe 12:30, there was a long, low rumbling from the west. It lasted for maybe 5 minutes. It was a very surreal experience; I couldn’t figure out what was causing the sound and frankly it made me nervous. I thought it might be thunder, but it went on way too long and there were no visible clouds. A jet? I didn’t see one. If that’s what it was, it was either unlit or flying behind Lookout Mountain. A meteor? I didn’t see anything. I felt the ground to see if it was an earthquake, but there didn’t seem to be any vibration and I think that would have shown up in the images I was taking – if you shake the tripod at all, the image will show that. I don’t know what it was and wonder if anyone else heard this.

It’s pretty late, so I’ll just post one more image that I captured tonight. M101 – the Pinwheel Galaxy.

M101 on 5/23/08
M101 on 5/23/08

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