Flintstone Stargazing

September 20, 2012

M27 – Dumbbell Nebula Widefield on 9/20/12

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 11:11 pm

This is one of the widefield Messier Objects I imaged tonight.


November 20, 2009

M27- Apple Core Nebula on 11/19/09

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 12:23 am

I’ve decided to just call M27 the Apple Core Nebula. It’s also known as TNFKATDN or “The Nebula Formerly Known As The Dumbbell Nebula”. It was a pretty nice night, though cold, until about 11, when wispy clouds started to mess up the view. I spent a while earlier seeing if I could gather images with my DSI which could be used for asteroid hunting, but came to the conclusion that with my setup, that’s not going to be possible. Anyway, at least I got one good image tonight…

October 28, 2009

M27-Dumbbell Nebula on 10/28/09

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: , — Ed @ 11:34 pm

Tonight was mostly clear, with occasional wispy clouds. I decided just to focus on one thing with my D50 and choose the Dumbbell Nebula – M27. M27 is a planetary nebula (which has nothing to do with planets) which is the remnants of a star that exploded. You can see the star if you zoom in – it’s the cyan one in the center of the nebula. The huge number of stars in this image is from the location of this nebula inside the Milky Way. The Dumbell Nebula (or Apple Core Nebula as I refer to it) is an easy to find and easy to see target in the fall night sky.

September 22, 2008

First clear night in forever…

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 12:20 am

Tonight was pretty clear with moderate seeing conditions. I decided to get out and try out some autoguiding. This evening I used both PHD Guiding and Envisage’s built-in guiding. PHD is better by far. I have yet to see if I can guide with PHD and capture with Envisage (with different cameras) at the same time. I hope so.

Anyway, the M27-Dumbbell Nebula above is from my Envisage guiding. It allowed me to take 1 minute sub-images to build this one. I even had a couple successful 2 minute subs, but they weren’t reliable enough to stack on so I just stuck with 1 minute. The result is my best M27 shot yet – lots more detail on the filaments that make up this beautiful planetary nebula. I’m excited about being able to start using what I’ve learned about drift alignment along with autoguiding to start creating some extremely long duration images. If I can ever get to 10 minute subs, I will have really arrived and I don’t think I’m that far away… Note that if you zoom in (click on the image to be able to see other sizes) there’s a lot more detail than in previous versions.

September 11, 2008

M27-Dumbbell Nebula on 9/11/08

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 11:43 pm

I’m trying out more widefield shots with the D50 lately. Tonight, though, the Moon really washed things out, but I still got a reasonable shot throught the D50. I used PHD Guiding to autoguide and it seemed to work really well. The biggest issue I have with this image is that it appears that I’ve got a bit of coma going on. Normally the Schmidt-Newtonian’s are thought to have a pretty flat field, but that doesn’t appear the case in this image, anyway.

August 31, 2008

M27-Dumbbell Nebula on 8/30/08

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 1:03 am

Tonight I’ve been experimenting with a bunch of things – computer control of the scope, a couple new alignment methods – and so I haven’t been doing a whole lot of imaging. I’ve really just been figuring things out. But, the sky has been pretty good so I decided to get a good image of the dumbbell nebula. I think I’m happier with this version than any of my others. Part of it is the sharp focus, but also the alignment was pretty good tonight. Anyway, you can see a bit of the “knots” that are found in this nebula.

August 12, 2008

M27-Dumbbell Nebula on 8/11/08

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 1:11 am

Here’s the Dumbbell Nebula – this is just 8 stacked images, but since each of them is 60s, the image is really the best I’ve ever gotten of it. Long exposures make a huge difference.

Well, while I’ve been doing this, clouds have started to roll in and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to see too many meteors tonight. I haven’t completely given up hope (I actually just saw one), but I’m not sure viewing conditions are going to be good enough for me to justify staying up extremely late.

August 6, 2008

M27-Dumbbell Nebula on 8/6/08

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 11:41 pm

With 60s exposures, the central star (the blue dot in the center of the nebula) really stands out. M27 is a great target – it’s not hard to find and it’s easy to see in the eyepiece as well as in the camera. I still think it should be called the Apple Core Nebula though.

July 12, 2008

GPS Star Party on 7/11/08

GPS Star Party on 7/11/08

Last night, the Barnard Astronomical Society had a star party for a summer class at GPS at Vic Rogers’ house. It was quite a lot of fun. It was well attended by both BAS members as well as the girls and their families.

GPS Star Party on 7/11/08

I noticed at this (as I’ve seen at other star parties) that it is the parents who tend to be the most interested. It’s really kind of funny – they tend to hold back but then once the questions start, they ask a ton of them. The kids were interested though.

Vic and Melinda at the GPS Star Party on 7/11/08
Vic Rogers and Melinda Lord

Eddie (my oldest son) and I arrived a bit late (it was over an hour away from my house, in Soddy Daisy), and everyone had their scopes pointed at the moon, which is easy to spot even when you can’t align the scope).

The Moon on 7/11/08
The Moon on 7/11/08

After it got a bit darker, I was able to align and then was able to show Saturn to a number of people before it set. I had the camera hooked up to the scope (and the laptop, of course) and once Saturn set, I pointed it at Jupiter. Being able to see through the scope using the computer got a lot of people to my telescope. I think it also helped that many people could see at one time, since the screen is reasonably large.

Jupiter on 7/11/08
Jupiter on 7/11/08

I got a lot of questions from people about how it worked, having it hooked up to the computer and I got to talk about how different telescopes worked as well as things like focusing, stellar and planetary distances and more. It was quite a lot of fun. Once it got even darker (the moon was still out, though), I went ahead and pointed the scope at M27-the Dumbell Nebula as well as the M57-The Ring Nebula. I showed how different they looked through the eyepiece vs. with the camera.

Overall, it was a great evening and we left after midnight. Here are the images I got of those Messier Objects:

M27-Dumbell Nebula on 7/11/08
M27-Dumbbell Nebula

M57-Ring Nebula on 7/11/08
M57-Ring Nebula

October 15, 2007

The Dumbbell Nebula

M27-Dumbbell Nebula on 10/15/07

This image is a 25 minute exposure of M27 – The Dumbbell Nebula. I’ve imaged this before, but never for this long. This image shows a lot more detail than my previous effort. Tonight, prior to observing, I collimated my telescope which I believe made a big difference in how crisp the image was. My previous version had a lot of coma visible in the stars. This one really didn’t have that problem nearly as much. I also made sure to get a good focus with my Hartman Mask. All of this paid off with the longer exposure to give a nice depth to this image.

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