Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cocoon Nebula

Here's another image I did at the 2009 Eldorado Star Party in Eldorado, TX. The Cocoon Nebula seems to be connected to a trail of dark nebula that hides from us stars in the Milky Way arm. Click here to see a larger uncropped version with details.

This is an HaLRGB image. I added the Ha data to the red channel in PhotoShop to enhance what is a rather faint nebula.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

North American Nebula imaged from Eldorado Star Party

Imaged this at the 2009 Eldorado Star Party a few weeks ago. See larger resolution and image details here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Eldorado Star Party 2009

Astrophotography is a lot of work: setting up, making sure all components are working, and battling the weather elements. This year, Vance and I decided to try something different: image remotely from inside his camper. I'm controlling my gear via a 50 foot ethernet cable running to a USB-to-ethernet hub. At the time of this post, it is COLD outside. Normally at ESP, I am freezing by this time of night and usually giving up, or reducing my exposure intervals just to get the image over with. Not this year! I am toasty warm inside Vance's RV and running long sub-exposures.

My youngest child just turned 3. I missed his birthday because I'm at this star party. I took this photo of him the day before I left for this trip. He loves riding his scooter.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I attempted to create a template for comparing astrophoto CCD camera chip sizes by their actual millimeter dimensions. Of course, this is a slightly oversized representation. While the sizes relative to each other are accurate, the chips are all a bit smaller.

I'll add more info soon, e.g. pixels, pixel microns, etc...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

amateur captures LCROSS in flight to moon

Paul Mortfield of Ontario, Canada, captured this video of LCROSS spacecraft as it flew by galaxy IC3808. Click the link to see a nice write-up by Tony Phillips of

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 15 - Cloudcroft NM area

That's me standing next to the rolloff housing for the Apache Point 2.5 meter Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope.

Aiden stands next to a National Solar Observatory (NSO) display of the sun. There are some earths next to the sun. The idea is to guess which earth is proper scale next to the sun.

First observatory dome on the NSO grounds. It was made from a grain bin.

Hiking the NSO grounds.

We saw a timber wolf and some deer. I was too slow on the camera and the car brakes to get a pic of the wolf.

This houses a 3.5 meter telescope on Apache Point.

The view from up here is incredible.

Conner enjoyed the infrared interactive display at the NSO museum.

This is a coronagraph at the NSO. By blocking out the solar disc, images of the edge prominences can be obtained in great detail.

Housing for the big solar telescope.

This large solar telescope goes deep into the ground. They use this for a number of activities, including granular detail of the solar surface.

Next to the big solar telescope is light path instrumentation.

No solar observing today.

NSO has a nice visitor center.

I like the street names.

This site was incredible. We saw about half of the main petroglyphs along the trail. A storm caused us to head for safety.

Heading back because of lightning.

Cynde and the kids enjoying the fire in the cabin. We're at 9000 ft and it is cold up here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 14 - no internet in the woods

We are in a cabin in Cloudcroft, NM. Am posting from my phone. Sign on kitchen wall says "do not let children play outside unattended due to bears.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 13 - Tucson, AZ - PIMA and Kitt Peak

View from Kitt Peak

This is the 2.1 meter of many telescopes on the peak.

We spent a wondeful morning at PIMA Air Museum learning a lot of history and viewing an excellent military aircraft collection. We were occasionally treated to the a pair of A-10 War Hogs and British Tornado fighters doing maneuvers overhead. At 7000 ft elevation, Kitt Peak was about 20 degrees cooler than Tucson. Since the grounds closed at 4:00pm, we didn't get to see as much as we had hoped, but what we did see was educational and the landscape views were fantastic.

Glad the weather cooperated for the views. Too bad the clouds kept the domes shut that night.

Family outside the dome housing the 2.1 meter telescope.

Conner, the presidential history buff, stands near the presidential seal on the plane utilized by Kennedy and Johnson.

Conner stands near a historically significant plane. This plane transported home, upon their release, the Americans held hostage in Iran.

Aiden is like his big brother, Conner, in that he wants to be a pilot.

My little astronaut.

The PIMA museum has a large amount of historical displays, including this one devoted to Gen. Doolittle of Pearl Harbor fame.

The family stands next to a B25. Doolittle architected the Pearl Harbor reactionary plan to get B25 bombers to launch from an aircraft carrier for a bombing run on Japan.

Conner being Conner.

Flag from D-Day. Sign says it was the first flag on Utah Beach on D-Day.

Conner wasn't thrilled about the hike to the 2.1 meter telescope after reading this sign.

The Embassy Suites hotel provides a scenic view of the mountains. We really liked staying here while in Tucson.

Kitt Peak

Conner really wants to be a pilot. He brought up the fact that flying lessons can start in the teenage years.

Aliens were recently discovered on the moon.

Kitt Peak

MiG 29: what an awesome aircraft. Very fast, can hit some seriously high altitude, and very agile. Bet Russia would like to get this one back.

A slice of the moon brought back by lunar astronauts. Sure would like to add that to my meteorite collection. The guy watching over this said it is worth about $10 million, mostly because of shipping & handling.

British Tornado jet coming in for a landing. Tour guide explained that the Brits like to practice maneuvers in Tucson and come out every year.

This solar scope extends deep into the ground to create a 500 ft light path for the solar light.

The Vomit Comet: NASA's weightlessness plane for training astronauts. It would fly in a roller coaster pattern to create the weightless feel.

We love Swensons sticky chewy chocolate. This is one of the things we miss about our hometown of Springfield, MO. Wish we had these in the Dallas area.