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Description: Amateur Astronomy Magazine Summer 2014 - Issue #83

Amateur Astronomy Magazine Th e E s s e n t i a l J o u r n a l f o r A m a t e u r A s t r o n o m e r s A r o u n d t h e Wo r l d Amateur Spectroscopy Affordable means of participating in real science using your telescope Dance of the Polar Lights An astronomical tour to view and image aurora borealis Widefield Astrophotography It is not just for beginners How To Tune Up Your Binoculars Observing Deep Dky Treasures Looking South Touring The Trumpler Classes Sunspots Seeing Deep Aware Are We Star People David Ho of Hotech Star Party Calendar Image Gallery Shorts From Down Under Equipment Reviews and News Stellarvue 100 SVQ Sky Watcher s All View Mount Celestron s new Evolution line F 2.2 Astrograph and new Skyris planetary imagers Issue 83 Summer 2014 6.50 US 2 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Amateur Astronomy Managing Editor Charlie Warren Contributing Editors Robert Reeves John Davis Barlow Bob Mike Smith Harry Roberts Dave Reneke Howard Banich Webmaster Charlie Warren Amateur Astronomy is published quarterly by Charlie Warren (615)-332-5555 Mailing address 511 Derby Downs Lebanon TN 37087 E-Mail editor AmateurAstronomy.com Web Site http www.AmateurAstronomy.com Copyright 2014 by Charlie Warren. All rights reserved. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the editor. The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher or editors. Postmaster Send address changes to Amateur Astronomy 511 Derby Downs Lebanon TN 37087 Subscription Rates See chart on page 6. Please see our Author s Guidelines email us for a copy or visit our website Article and Image Submission Guidelines. Please email your articles as an attachment (MS Word PDF or plain Text). For larger articles with a substantial number of digital photos please send on a CD or DVD to our mail address. AA is produced on a Dell computer using Quark Xpress Photoshop MS Studio Suite and Adobe Studio Suite. There are no deadlines - articles are run in the order received ASAP. Photos will be returned if requested. Addresses of authors will be printed unless otherwise requested. Preference is made for those articles received electronically by email disk CD or DVD Mailing dates are approximately Winter (1 1) Spring (4 1) Summer (7 1) Fall (10 1). Delivery takes up to four weeks in the USA. In this issue Cover Image Widefield of Rho region shot by Scott Rosen with Celestron s new f 2.2 Astrograph in the foreground 4 5 14 16 18 22 25 26 28 34 38 45 48 54 58 62 65 72 77 79 82 Editorial Short Subjects Celestron - New Product Releases Today s Cosmology - Donald Pensack Seeing Deep - Howard Banich Shorts From Down Under - Mike Smith Looking South With Mel - Vela - Mel Hubert Star Party and Astronomical Events Calendar Deep Sky Treasures The Celestial Garden John Davis Star People - David Ho by Robert Reeves Dance of the Polar Lights Steve Hubbard NEAIC & NEAF by Charlie Warren & Julia Mariani Amateur Spectroscopy by Stephen Spears Review Stellarvue 100 SVQ by Jon Talbot Review Sky Watcher All View Mount by Charlie Warren Sunspots by Harry Roberts Touring the Trumpler Classes - by Richard Harshaw Widefield Astrophotography - by Scott Rosen Aware Are We by Dave Tosteson Binocular Tune up by Jeremiah Baker Parting Shots Astro men and women Issue 83 Our Star Supporters OPT Oceanside Photo & Telescope Back cover Celestron - page 2 ScopeStuff - page 4 Telescope Support Systems page 7 Starlight Instruments page 9 OPT Oceanside Photo & Telescope Page 7 Equatorial Platforms - page 20 Eyepieces Etc. - page 21 Replacement Eyepiece Caps page 23 Oz Sky Star Safari - page 27 Space Images.com - page 27 Catseye Collimation System page 27 Jack s Astro - page 33 Starmaster Telescopes page 33 HoTech - page 37 Howie Glatter s Lasers - page 44 R Spec Spectroscopy - page 53 Sky-Watcher USA - page 61 Stellarvue Telescope - page 85 Please thank our sponsors for supporting AA and support them in return Don t forget to mention that you saw their advertisement here. They are some of the good guys in this hobby who make this publication possible. www.AmateurAstronomy.com 3 Summer 2014 Editorial comments and updates from the Editor View mount and a new astrograph from Stellarvue the SVQ 100 which is their first quadruplet. For our imagers Scott Rosen delves into wide field astrophotography and explains why it is not only for beginners. We also follow up on the well received article from last issue with another article on amateur spectroscopy. I know that many (myself included) have considered taking a destination travel tour to northern climes in order to experience and image the northern lights. Steve Hubbard shares his experience with us and highly recommends it as an entrant on everyone s bucket list. David Ho of HoTech Engineering is our Star Person this issue. I have gotten to know David through many recent venues and he is a fascinating person and a lot of fun to hang out with. Once again we had a booth at NEAF and I attended the NEAIC imaging conference that preceeded it. I share a little about this premier event and asked a new acquaintance and subscriber to share the experience through the eyes of a very STEM savvy 15-year old. Also be sure to check out Julia Mariani s web blog for teens at www.astronoteen.com. Finally we have our usual Down Under feature brought to you by Mike Smith who as many of you know publishes The Night Sky and is the owner of the Bintel astronomy shop in Australia. I don t want to impose on Mike s privacy but many of you have become very familiar with him from his columns and his Mick N Don cartoons in this publication as well as from trips to Oz. Mike is undergoing a significant health challenge and Harry Roberts created the very nice get well soon cartoon which I think Mike would dearly appreciate. If you know Mike please reach out to him with well wishes. We certainly hope that his recovery is quick and complete and look forward to his rejoining us under clear dark skies in the near future. I hope to see you on the observing field at one of this Summer s star parties - Charlie M emories of the long cold Winter of 2014 are now long gone and for many of us Spring brought welcome relief along with some good imaging and observing weather. A few of you based on reports have suffered a rather wet Spring so hopefully Summer will provide some exceptionally fine catch up clear skies. It is once again the height of the Star Party season. Check out our updated Calendar to plan your dark sky outings. There is no shortage of opportunities in all parts of the country. Whether your preferred observing platform is large or small we have plenty of good observing material in this issue to give you inspiration and ideas for your target lists. Howard Banich gives some good information and sound advice to maximize your ability to see deep in his article bearing that title. We finish off the Trumpler classes in this issue and take tours of some Northern and Southern constellations in Deep Sky Treasures and Looking South. We also bring you news on a number of exciting new products from Celestron and reviews of the Sky Watcher All 4 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Short Subjects First Amateur Images of ESA Rosetta s Target 67P The first amateur images of Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko (or 67P) in its 2014 apparition were captured by Australian amateur astronomer Peter Lake from Siding Spring Australia on 22 May 2014. This challenging observation now draws the amateur astronomer community into an exciting comet campaign the European Space Agency or ESA Rosetta mission to 67P. Rosetta s journey to target 67P includes orbiting the comet dropping a lander on it and escort 67P to its perihelion in August 2015. The 2014 recovery from ground-based professional facilities occurred in January 2014 using European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) situated in Paranal Chile. Since the current apparition of 67P was considered to be fainter than previous apparitions predictSummer 2014 Issue 83 ed to reach magnitude 12-13 at best it was assumed to be a difficult challenge for the amateur community. The corresponding astrometric positions were reported to the Minor Planet Center NET UCAC-4. Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko is currently at -27 degrees declination in the southern skies and unavailable northern observers. The telescope used is located at the iTelescope.net Observatory at Siding Spring NSW Australia (Q62) and is a 0.5m Planewave f 4.5 with a FLI PL-09000 CCD camera. Twelve 300 sec images were stacked in 3 groups of 4 to create a blink mosaic to confirm the movement of the comet. The 4 images in each group were stacked to account for the movement of the comet at 0.16 arcsec per min at a Position Angle (PA) of 226 degrees. Due to the slow speed of the comet relative to the plate scale of the CCD camera (1.1 arcsecs per pixel) longer expo- sures were used to increase the signal to noise ratio of the target and enable detection of such a faint target. The comet is in a very crowded starfield and I was fortunate that on this occasion it was in between the background stars. It is travelling very slowly at the moment and you can use that to your advantage to deeply stack the images explained Peter Lake. There is not much detail there at the moment as it is still very faint but it was an important first task to detect the comet and determine the best techniques to begin gathering data. The next step will be to gather some data in the R filter its still a little faint for that yet the luminance filter has a wider bandwidth and gathers more light which is an advantage at this stage . Mr. Peter Lake is the Coordinator of Social Media for iTelescope.net a not-forprofit community of members and affiliates www.AmateurAstronomy.com 5 that collectively manage and use a suite of research grade telescopes on three continents in a follow-the-night operation. The images of 67P were acquired for the PACA Project comet observing campaigns via a partnership between iTelescope.net and PACA (Pro Am Collaborative Astronomy) a social media driven community that allows amateur astronomers and professionals to work together in a learning and collaboration exchange and promotes scientific research as a result. Figure (1) is a stacked image of 67P and Figure (2) is a video of the raw images of 67P. The PACA Project is led by Dr Padma A. Yanamandra-Fisher Senior Research Scientist of the Space Science Institute (SSI) Boulder Colorado U.S.A. since 2013 and currently supports various comet observing campaigns. She is also the ESA Rosetta Coordinator of Amateur Astronomers and a member of the NASA 2014 Comet Integrated Observation Campaign (CIOC) to characterize the encounter between comet C 2013 A1 (Siding Spring) and the planet Mars on 18 October 2014. The PACA Project is open to all professional and amateur astronomers interested in participating in the various observing campaigns of the CIOC Siding Spring and 67P via http www.pro-amastronomy.org and Facebook groups (CIOC_SidingSpring and PACA_67P). In addition PACA welcomes other professional amateur observing campaigns of other comets asteroids planets and exoplanets. stars. And it has a rare chemical composition with vanishingly small amounts of metallic elements present. Now a team of scientists including an MIT astronomer has analyzed that chemical composition and come away with new insights into the evolution of galaxies in the early stages of our universe -- or in this case into a striking lack of evolution in Segue 1. Commonly stars form from gas clouds and then burn up as supernova explosions after about a billion years spewing more of the elements that are the basis for a new generation of star formation. Not Segue 1 In contrast to all other galaxies as the new analysis shows it appears that Segue 1 s process of star formation halted at what would normally be an early stage of a galaxy s development. It s chemically quite primitive says Anna Frebel an assistant professor of physics at MIT and the lead author of a new paper detailing the new findings about Segue 1. This indicates the galaxy never made that many stars in the first place. It is really wimpy. This galaxy tried to become a big galaxy but it failed. But precisely because it has stayed in the same state Segue 1 offers valuable information about the conditions of the universe in its early phases after the Big Bang. It tells us how galaxies get started Frebel says. It s really adding another dimension to stellar archaeology where we look back in time to study the era of the first star and first galaxy formation. Contacts Dr Padma Yanamandra-Fisher padmayf gmail.com Peter Lake swanssm gmail.com plake itelescope.net astroswanny http www.itelescope.net aartscope-t11 Blog http aartscope.blogspot.com Google Plus PeterLake iTelescope.net http www.itelescope.net telescope-information A wimpy dwarf fossil galaxy reveals new facts about early universe Faintest galaxy ever detected illuminates unusual aspects of the universe s early evolution. Out on the edge of the universe 75 000 light years from us a galaxy known as Segue 1 has some unusual properties It is the faintest galaxy ever detected. It is very small containing only about 1 000 Metal-poor stars a telltale sign The paper Segue 1 An Unevolved Fossil Galaxy from the Early Universe has just been published by Astrophysical Journal. Along with Frebel the co-authors of the paper are Joshua D. Simon an astronomer with the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution in Pasadena Calif. and Evan N. Kirby an astronomer at the University of California at Irvine. The analysis uses new data taken by the Magellan telescopes in Chile as well as data from the Keck Observatory in Hawaii pertaining to six red giant stars in Segue 1 the brightest ones in that galaxy. The astronomers are able to determine which elements are present in the stars because each element has a unique signature that becomes detectable in the telescope data. In particular Segue 1 has stars that are distinctively poor in metal content. All of the elements in Segue 1 that are heavier than helium appear to have derived either from just one supernova explosion or perhaps a few such explosions which occurred relatively soon after 6 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 the galaxy s formation. Then Segue 1 effectively shut down in evolutionary terms because it lost its gas due to the explosions and stopped making new stars. It just didn t have enough gas and couldn t collect enough gas to grow bigger and make stars and as a consequence of that make more of the heavy elements Frebel says. Indeed a run-of-the-mill galaxy will often contain 1 million stars Segue 1 contains only about 1 000. The astronomers also found telling evidence in the lack of socalled neutron-capture elements -- those found in the bottom half of the periodic table which are created in intermediate-mass stars. But in Segue 1 Frebel notes The neutron-capture elements in this galaxy are the lowest levels ever found. This again indicates a lack of repeated star formation. Indeed Segue 1 s static chemical makeup even sets it apart from other small galaxies that astronomers have found and analyzed. It is very different than these other regular dwarf-type galaxies that had full chemical evolution Frebel says. Those are just minigalaxies whereas [Segue 1 is] truncated. It doesn t show much evolution and just sits there. Professor Paul Monks Director of G-STEP University of Leicester said Space is a high-growth high-value industry in the UK recruiting the number of quality of graduates is a critical challenge. This event directly addresses that need for jobs and growth. There has been an immense interest in this event from young professionals and businesses alike. Dr Martin Killeen Head of Technology at Loughborough College said We are delighted to be working with the University of Leicester and the National Space Academy for this pioneering event through the unique top-quality degree-level training offered by our new Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering. The space sector is showing rapid and significant expansion and this event will enable students to engage first-hand with the huge range of exciting opportunities offered by the industry. Anu Ojha Director of the UK s National Space Academy programme said The Government s Space Growth Action Plan has highlighted the crucial role that the Higher Apprenticeship scheme for the Space Sector will have in accelerating the growth of the UK space sector. The need for thousands of new entrants to the sector has been clearly expressed by UK space companies that are seeing increasing demand from global customers space-focused careers events for young professionals are critical platforms necessary if the sector is to grow fourfold to its full potential by 2030 as an industry that could by then contribute 40 billion per annum to the National economy. Showcasing the career possibilities in key areas of the industry were companies including CGI QinetiQ SCISYS UK UKSA Spirent Communications The Satellite Applications Catapult Serco Services Bluesky International Sterling Geo Space Internship Network (SpIN) We would like to find more Dwarf galaxies astronomical modeling has found appear to form building blocks for larger galaxies such as the Milky Way. The chemical analysis of Segue 1 sheds new light on the nature of those building blocks as Frebel notes. The findings on Segue 1 also indicate that there may be a greater diversity of evolutionary pathways among galaxies in the early universe than had been thought. However because it is only one example Frebel is reluctant to make broad assertions. We would really need to find more of these systems she notes. Or if we never find another one [like Segue 1] it would tell us how rare it is that galaxies fail in their evolution. We just don t know at this stage because this is the first of its kind. Frebel s work often focuses on analyzing the chemical composition of unusual stars closer to us. However she says she would like to continue this kind of analysis for any other galaxies like Segue 1 that astronomers may find. That process could take a while she acknowledges that any such future discoveries will require patience and a little luck. Written by Peter Dizikes MIT News Office CAREERS LAUNCHPAD FOR SPACE INDUSTRY UK s first ever event showcasing opportunities in space industry held in Leicester The UK s first Careers in the Space Industry event has been hailed as a huge success.The event attracted more than 150 people and included representation for key industry partners. Organised by University of Leicester G-STEP part of the University of Leicester the National Space Academy and Loughborough College the event also saw the launch of the Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering. It is the only space-themed careers event in the UK and took place at the National Space Centre. Matthew Hancock MP Minister for Skills and Enterprise attended the event to announce the launch of the new Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering from Loughborough College in association with the University of Leicester and the National Space Academy. The minister took questions from the students and exhibitors in attendance. Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 7 Reaction Engines International Space University UKSEDs IRSA The Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester and GRACE University of Nottingham. Craig Clark Chief Executive of Clyde Space Ltd gave a key note presentation entitled The Decade of the Space Entrepreneur . Speakers were taken from the above-named companies and also the following organisations Surrey Satellite Technology Limited Magna Parva Tullow Oil Airbus Defense and Space Zeeko Limited and ESA Business Innovation Centre. The event was rounded off with a panel Q&A session and concluded with a planetarium show. The space sector has a huge impact on everyday life showing significant growth despite the economic downturn. The commercial sector is driven by increasing demand from consumers for satellite TV and radio mobile phone services GPS navigation and from government for emergency services and security for air traffic management or to monitor climate change. This is predicted to lead to continued high growth projected at 5% per annum in real terms to 2030. The Government has pledged an extra 60 million to the UK Space Agency for Europe s space programme bringing the UK s total investment in the European Space Agency to an average of 240 million per year to 2018. This will allow the UK to play a leading role in the next phase of European space collaboration and has secured the future of the ESA facility in Oxfordshire including transferring ESA s telecoms satellite headquarters to the UK. nonprofit AMC promotes the protection enjoyment and understanding of the mountains forests waters and trails of the Appalachian region. The AMC supports natural resource conservation while encouraging responsible recreation based on the philosophy that successful long-term conservation depends upon first-hand enjoyment of the natural environment. The Mountains of Stars event is part of an NSF-funded joint Carthage AMC astronomy outreach and education program bringing astronomy and nature education to the public. LAUNCH OF NEW DATA MODEL BOOSTS SPACE SCIENCE First Annual Mountains of Stars Amateur Astronomers Weekend in the White Mountains The Appalachian Mountain Club and the Carthage Institute of Astronomy announce the first annual Mountains of Stars Amateur Astronomers Weekend to be held October 24th to 26th 2014 at the Appalachian Mountain Club s Highland Center in Bretton Woods New Hampshire. Surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest the Highland Center is a wonderful place to enjoy dark skies. Less than a day s drive from anywhere in the northeast US the location offers outstanding hiking and outdoor activities and the area is wonderful for families. Bring your own telescopes and observing gear and several facility telescopes will also be available. The Mountains of Stars Weekend will include opportunities for presentations and short talks and two nights of dark sky observing around New Moon. Contact AMC Reservations at 603-466-2727 or amclodging outdoors.org for more information or to make a reservation. The Carthage Institute of Astronomy is a branch of Carthage College a liberal arts college founded in 1847 and located in Kenosha WI. The Institute conducts research in astronomy and astrophysics operates the Griffin Observatory offers courses in physics and astronomy and delivers outreach and education programs. The institute s director is astrophysicist Dr. Douglas Arion who will be the host of the Mountains of Stars Weekend. He is the head of the Galileoscope program which has delivered more than 200 000 high quality low cost telescopes for education and outreach to over 106 countries. Founded in 1876 the Appalachian Mountain Club is America s oldest conservation and recreation organization. With more than 100 000 members advocates and supporters in the Northeast and beyond the 8 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Six planets two moons & one comet - not often in space science does a single project offer new insights in such numbers of objects in our solar system. The Europe-wide consortium IMPEx does exactly that and now reports significant progress. For the first time in space science a newly developed data model will directly connect simulation results with observational data from space missions. This long awaited progress will enable joint operations of computational models with spacecraft measurements. This will allow scientists to better understand complex observational data to fill numerical gaps in observations and to verify both observations and simulations. The main application of the data model will thus be research into plasma and magnetic environments of various planetary objects. Currently there are numerous space missions in operation at the same time. Despite their billions of dollar costs they all are hampered by one decisive disadvantage they are left to their own devices. Literally. Due to the complexity of space exploration instruments and devices are purpose made and data acquisition as well as number crunching follows individual protocols. This in turn makes the exchange and sharing of observational data between missions and sophisticated computational models developed by third parties a Mission Impossible . A fact that makes the assessment of their reliability challenging. A consortium of scientists from Austria Finland France and Russia has now changed all that. Summer 2014 Issue 83 IMPACT WITH IMPEx As part of the EU-funded project IMPEx the scientists succeeded in establishing a data model that for the first time bridges the gap between spacecraft measurements and modern computational models. Focussing initially on plasma and magnetic environments of numerous planets moons and comets the team managed to have an operating data model (including adapted software tools and simulation databases) up and running in less than three years after the project start in 2011. Commenting on this success Dr. Maxim Khodachenko project coordinator and senior scientist at the Space Research Institute (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences says Our data model which was developed by our French partners from LATMOS and CDPP in cooperation with Finnish and Russian project partners will greatly aid the simulation of planetary phenomena and the interpretation of space missions measurements. Furthermore it will allow testing models versus experimental data as well as to fill gaps in the measurements with data from appropriate modelling runs. All these are important advances that will help to perform preparation of mission operations and solve technological tasks. One specific focus of the project is the visualisation of observational data in conjunction with computational model results. Therefore the newly developed data model is already supported by tools like e.g. 3DView that allows the visualisation of planetary orbits the trajectories of space crafts and model simulated data in great detail and in 3D. Even models of so called bow shocks (the area between a magnetosphere and interplanetary space) and magnetopauses can be visualised and analysed. For an impression of the visualisation power of IMPEx look here http www.youtube.com watch v 8AxJRPho334 t 561 MANY MISSIONS - ONE MODEL In fact numerous space missions will directly benefit from the research of IMPEx in general and from the finalised and further elaborated data model in specific. These missions include BepiColombo for Mercury Venus Express for Venus Cluster and Themis for Earth Mars Express for Mars Galileo Juno and Juice for Jupiter and its moon Ganymede as well as Cassini for Saturn and its moon Titan. But also the Rosetta mission which reaches its target Comet 67P in November 2014 will take advantage of the data model. One of the biggest challenges the IMPEx team was facing has been the diversity of software systems in all these missions. There are numerous different systems operating explains Dr. Esa Kallio from the Finnish partner institute FMI. Combining all these under a common communication protocol was a real challenge. We had to define a set of methods of which several are shared between all data bases. Furthermore Vincent G not the Project Scientist of IMPEx adds Indeed these methods constitute the core part of the IMPEx protocol that now offers several web-based tools for combining analysing and visualising both simulation and observational data. The IMPEx Data Model was recently successfully implemented for the complex magnetohydrodynamics models of space phenomena developed at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) showing its great advances and efficiency in space science applications. For further information please access http impex-fp7.oeaw.ac.at Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 9 Is There Life on Other Planets When people find out you are an astronomer sooner of later they will pose this question and usually sooner rather than later. Here are some current news stories that broach the subject and related pioneering research. ation instruments scientists will try to find out whether they can bear water. Typical planetary systems detected by NASA s Kepler mission are hundreds of light-years away. In contrast Kapteyn s star is the 25th nearest star to the sun and it is only 13 light years away from Earth. What makes this discovery different however is the peculiar story of the star. Kapteyn s star was born in a dwarf galaxy absorbed and disrupted by the early Milky Way. Such galactic disruption event put the star in its fast halo orbit. The likely remnant core of the original dwarf galaxy is omega Centauri an enigmatic globular cluster 16 000 light years from earth which contains hundreds of thousands of similarly old suns. This sets the most likely age of the planets at 11.5 billion years which is 2.5 times older than Earth and only 2 billion years younger than the universe itself (around 13.7 billion years). Dr Anglada-Escude adds It does make you wonder what kind of life could have evolved on those planets over such a long time. Professor Richard Nelson Head of the Astronomy Unit at QMUL who didn t participate in the research commented This discovery is very exciting. It suggests that many potentially habitable worlds will be found in the next years around nearby stars by groundbased and space-based observatories such as PLATO. Until we have detected a larger number of them the properties and possible habitability of the near-most planetary systems will remain mysterious. Astronomers discover ancient worlds from another galaxy next door An international team of scientists led by astronomers at Queen Mary University of London report of two new planets orbiting Kapteyn s star one of the oldest stars found near the Sun. One of the newly-discovered planets could be ripe for life as it orbits at the right distance to the star to allow liquid water on its surface. Discovered at the end of the 19th century and named after the Dutch astronomer who discovered it (Jacobus Kapteyn) Kapteyn s star is the second fastest moving star in the sky and belongs to the galactic halo an extended cloud of stars orbiting our galaxy. With a third of the mass of the sun this red-dwarf can be seen in the southern constellation of Pictor with an amateur telescope. The astronomers used new data from HARPS1 spectrometer at the ESO s La Silla observatory in Chile to measure tiny periodic changes in the motion of the star. Using the Doppler Effect which shifts the star s light spectrum depending on its velocity the scientists can work out some properties of these planets such as their masses and peri10 www.AmateurAstronomy.com ods of orbit. The study also combined data from two more high-precision spectrometers to secure the detection HIRES at Keck Observatory2 and PFS at Magellan Las Campanas Observatory3. We were surprised to find planets orbiting Kapteyn s star. Previous data showed some moderate excess of variability so we were looking for very short period planets when the new signals showed up loud and clear explains lead author Dr Guillem Anglada-Escude from QMUL s School of Physics and Astronomy. Based on the data collected the planet Kapteyn b is at least five times as massive as Earth and orbits the star every 48 days. This means the planet is warm enough for liquid water to be present on its surface. The second planet Kapteyn c is a more massive superEarth and is quite different its year lasts for 121 days and astronomers think it s too cold to support liquid water. At the moment only a few properties of the planets are known approximate masses orbital periods and distances to the star. By measuring the atmosphere of these planets with next-gener- WSU researcher estimates galaxy holds 100 million complex-life-supporting planets Prof. Dirk Schulze-Makuch WSU School of the Environment 509-3351180 dirksm wsu.edu PULLMAN Wash. - The number of Summer 2014 Issue 83 planets in the Milky Way galaxy which could harbor complex life may be as high as 100 million Washington State University Astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch writes in a column posted this week on the Air & Space Smithsonian magazine website. The estimate which assumes an average of one planet per star in the Milky Way is drawn from a study which is believed to be the first quantitative assessment of the number of worlds in our galaxy that could harbor life above the microbial level. The research was published recently in the journal Challenges by a group of scientists which includes Louis Irwin of the University of Texas at El Paso Alberto Fairen of Cornell University Abel Mendez of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo and Schulze-Makuch. For the study the researchers surveyed the growing list of more than a thousand known planets outside our solar system. Using a formula that considers planetary density temperature substrate (liquid solid or gas) chemistry distance from its central star and age they computed a Biological Complexity Index (BCI) which rates planets on a scale of 0 to 1.0 according to the number and degree of characteristics assumed to be important for supporting various forms of multicellular life. The BCI calculation revealed that 1 to 2 percent of exoplanets showed a BCI rating higher than Europa a moon of Jupiter thought to have a subsurface global ocean which could harbor different forms of life writes SchulzeMakuch. Based on an estimate of 10 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy and assuming an average of one planet per star this yields the figure of 100 million. Some scientists believe the number could be 10 times higher. He emphasizes that the study should not be taken as an indication that complex life actually exists on as many as 100 million planets but rather that the figure is the best estimate to date of the number of planets in our galaxy likely to exhibit conditions supportive to such life. Summer 2014 Issue 83 Also it should be understood that complex life doesn t mean intelligent life or even animal life although it doesn t rule either out SchulzeMakuch said. It means simply that organisms larger and more complex than microbes could exist in a number of different forms quite likely forming stable food webs like those found in ecosystems on Earth. He said the study is significant in that it is first to rely on observable data from actual planetary bodies beyond our solar system rather than making educated guesses about the frequency of life on other worlds based on hypothetical assumptions. Despite the large absolute number of planets that could harbor complex life the Milky Way is so vast that statistically planets with high BCI values are very far apart Schulze-Makuch writes in the article. One of the closest and most promising extrasolar systems known as Gliese 581 has possibly two planets with the apparent capacity to host complex biospheres yet the distance from the Sun to Gliese 581 is about 20 light years. And most planets with a high BCI are even much farther away he said. If the 100 million planets that Irwin s team says have the theoretical capacity for hosting complex life were randomly distributed across the galaxy SchulzeMakuch said they would lie about 24 light years apart assuming equal stellar density. And he estimates the distance between planets with intelligent life would likely be significantly farther. On the one hand it seems highly unlikely that we are alone he writes in the article. On the other hand we are likely so far away from life at our level of complexity that a meeting with such alien forms might be improbable for the foreseeable future. RESEARCHERS NEW EXPLODING STARS IN FAR AWAY GALAXIES SHOW MAP OF SPACE Florida State University researcher David Rubin is part of a team that discovered three new exploding stars -- or supernovae -- using the NASA ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The light from these exploding stars can help illuminate dark matter in space paving the way for scientists to test the most precise map to date of galaxy clusters and the matter within them. Rubin a physicist said this is possible because the galaxy clusters act almost as a cosmic lens. The gravity field of the clusters bends light as it passes through. That effect called gravitational lensing makes distant objects that might be too faint to be seen otherwise larger and brighter. These clusters of galaxies are so massive that the gravity distorts and magnifies background objects as light passes by Rubin said. Two teams working independently simultaneously confirmed the existence of these new exploding stars. Rubin was part of a team called the Supernova Cosmology Project housed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Their work is featured in the May edition of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. An open access version of the article is available in DigiNole Commons Florida State s institutional repository. The other research group the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble published a separate paper in the May issue of The Astrophysics Journal. Rubin and his colleagues led by Jakob Nordin a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory began searching for these supernovae using the Hubble Space Telescope. After Nordin completed most of the original searching using the telescope Rubin began calculating how bright the exploding stars were which can tell scientists how much the clusters of galaxies were magnifying them. The Hubble Telescope is the world s largest most versatile space telescope that was carried into orbit in 1990 and remains operational. The Space Telescope Science Institute located at Johns Hopkins University is responsible for the scientific operation of the telescope and transmitting data to scientists who apply to use the telescope. www.AmateurAstronomy.com 11 Each day the telescope generates enough data -- 3 to 4 gigabytes -- to fill six CD-ROMs. New way to filter light System could provide first method for filtering light waves based on direction. Light waves can be defined by three fundamental characteristics their color (or wavelength) polarization and direction. While it has long been possible to selectively filter light according to its color or polarization selectivity based on the direction of propagation has remained elusive. But now for the first time MIT researchers have produced a system that allows light of any color to pass through only if it is coming from one specific angle the technique reflects all light coming from other directions. This new approach could ultimately lead to advances in solar photovoltaics detectors for telescopes and microscopes and privacy filters for display screens. The work is described in a paper appearing this week in the journal Science written by MIT graduate student Yichen Shen professor of physics Marin Soljaci and four others. We are excited about this Soljaci says because it is a very fundamental building block in our ability to control light. The new structure consists of a stack of ultrathin layers of two alternating materials where the thickness of each layer is precisely controlled. When you have two materials then generally at the interface between them you will have some reflections Soljaci explains. But at these interfaces there is this magical angle called the Brewster angle and when you come in at exactly that angle and the appropriate polarization there is no reflection at all. While the amount of light reflected at each of these interfaces is small by combining many layers with the same properties most of the light can be reflected away -- except for that coming in at precisely the right angle and polarization. Using a stack of about 80 alternating layers of precise thickness Shen says We are able to reflect light at most of the angles over a very broad band [of colors] the entire visible range of frequencies. Previous work had demonstrated ways of selectively reflecting light except for one precise angle but those approaches were limited to a narrow range of colors of light. The new system s breadth could open up many potential applications the team says. Shen says This could have great applications in energy and especially in solar thermophotovoltaics -- harnessing solar energy by using it to heat a material which in turn radiates light of a particular color. That light emission can then be harnessed using a photovoltaic cell tuned to make maximum use of that color of light. But for this approach to work it is essential to limit the heat and light lost to reflec- tions and re-emission so the ability to selectively control those reflections could improve efficiency. The findings could also prove useful in optical systems such as microscopes and telescopes for viewing faint objects that are close to brighter objects -- for example a faint planet next to a bright star. By using a system that receives light only from a certain angle such devices could have an improved ability to detect faint targets. The filtering could also be applied to display screens on phones or computers so only those viewing from directly in front could see them. In principle the angular selectivity can be made narrower simply by adding more layers to the stack the researchers say. For the experiments performed so far the angle of selectivity was about 10 degrees roughly 90 percent of the light coming in within that angle was allowed to pass through. While these experiments were done using layers of glass and tantalum oxide Shen says that in principle any two materials with different refractive indices could be used. The team also included MIT research scientist Ivan Celanovic associate professor of mathematics Steven Johnson John Joannopoulos the Francis Wright Davis Professor of Physics and Dexin Ye of Zhejiang University in China. The work was supported in part by the Army Research Office through MIT s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and the U.S. Department of Energy through the MIT S3TEC Energy Research Frontier Center. Sky-Watcher s New Line of Triplet APO Refractors Offer Complete Package f 5.0 100 mm f 5.5 a 120mm f 7 and their flagship is the 150mm f 7. The 80mm Esprit comes with a 2.7 dual speed focuser. The 100mm 120mm & 150mm come equipped with a 3 focuser with micro focus. All models come fully equipped with 2 diagonal 9X50 RA erect-image finderscope field flattener Canon camera adapter tube rings with dovetail bar and aluminum foam lined protective case. This line is well geared towards imagers desiring a large illuminated field. The 80mm yields a 33mm image circle the 100mm yields a 40mm image circle and the 120mm & 150mm both deliver a generous 43mm image circle. You can view the video below for more complete information about this exciting line of affordable triplet APO refractors or visit the website at www.SkyWatcherUSA.com Informational Video. https www.youtube.com watch v PBTvvjEgTos Esprit line of triplet APO refractors by Sky-Watcher USA The Esprit triplets include an 80mm 12 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 13 Celestron Unveils Cutting-Edge Telescope and Astroimaging Technology at 2014 NEAIC & NEAF Shows Experience the night sky in a new way with WiFi-enabled telescopes and sophisticated astroimaging technology from Celestron the world s 1 telescope maker. Torrance CA (April 12 2014) Celestron is thrilled to announce its new Spring 2014 product lineup full of innovative astronomy products that make viewing and capturing the universe easier than ever. This exciting new product line takes its cues from some of the hottest trends in consumer electronics WiFi connectivity CMOS imaging sensors and the increasing popularity of DSLR photography. Celestron sets a new standard in telescopes with the new NexStar At right is the new Evolution 9.25 f 10 with 2350mm focal length stainless steel tripod and Internal rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. The new design includess some nice ergonomic improvements to make lifting and adjusting the telescope easier. The new leg design (below) features index marks and indents for easier initial leveling. One of the new high end Skyris planetary imaging cameras is attached to the back of the 9.25 (right). Evolution the world s first WiFienabled Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Connect your iOS or Android smart device to NexStar Evolution s built-in wireless network launch the Celestron planetarium mobile app and you re ready to explore the universe Point your tablet at the night sky to identify any celestial object. With a simple tap NexStar Evolution slews toward it centering it perfectly in the eyepiece. Equipped with Celestron s signature 6- 8- or 9.25-inch optical tube NexStar Evolution offers impressive views of even faint deep-sky objects. NexStar Evolution was thoughtfully designed based on customer feedback to be the most elegant consumer telescope ever built. It features the first rechargeable lithium-ion battery ever 14 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 offered on a computerized telescope with enough power for a 10-hour stargazing marathon. You ll also find two accessory trays one with a red LED illuminator so you always have your eyepieces and filters within easy reach. You can even charge your smart device while you observe using the integrated USB charge port. List prices for the three new NexStar Evolution models are 1 199.95 for the 6 1 599.95 for the 8 and 2 099.95 for the 9.25 With more and more photographers looking to point their DSLR cameras at the cosmos Celestron engineers created the new Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph (pictured below with Canon DSLR attached). Although it might look like a telescope this new instrument cannot be used with an eyepiece and was designed specifically for astroimaging with DSLR and astronomical CCD cameras. Just attach your camera to the front of the 11-inch optical tube and you can image the night sky at ultra-fast speeds of f 2.2. That means you ll capture more data in less time creating stunning images without adding accessories like an autoguider. The Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph is perfect for imaging celestial objects like the Andromeda Galaxy Orion Nebula and Pleiades star cluster--or creating large-scale mosaics of the night sky. Those looking to image nearer celestial targets will love Celestron s new solar system imagers ideal for capturing the Amateur Astronomy Magazine Subscription Information Single issues 7 for a sample issue pp in the US. 8 to Canada and 12 to others outside the continental US. USA subscriptions Canada - first class Mexico - first class Overseas - airmail Electronic PDF Dual Print & pdf - add 1-Year rate Two Year rate 24 44 32 60 38 72 46 92 18 35 10 16 to any of the print subs All Credit cards are accepted on our website or if you prefer you can call in your order to our office (615-332-5555) anytime. You can also print the online form and send in your check or credit card payment to 511 Derby Downs Lebanon TN 37087 Your subscription will start with the current issues unless stated otherwise. Subscribe or renew today at www.amateurastronomy.com Beginning astroimagers will enjoy the NexImage Burst planetary imager. Available in color and monochrome NexImage Burst cameras feature sophisticated CMOS sensors capable of capturing brief moments of stable air for sharper images of the planets. These affordable cameras are a great choice for those new to the hobby. Our goal is to introduce a new generation to the hobby of astronomy said Celestron CEO Dave Anderson. We ve come up with several huge innovations this spring that are sure to resonate with these tech-savvy consumers. Celestron started accepting preorders for all new products at NEAF and shipping for most models began in May. Visit Celestron.com for more product information and dealer locations. Sun Moon and planets. There are a variety of new offerings to choose from suited to planetary imagers of all skill levels Two new CMOS cameras join Celestron s successful Skyris line of high-end planetary imagers. The Skyris 132C and 132C are the only cameras that combine SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology with the revolutionary Aptina AR0132 CMOS imaging sensor. New F 2.2 Rowe Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 15 Today s Cosmology Questions (partially) Explained. 1.What is the origin of the universe When we realized the frame of the universe was expanding it was logical to extrapolate backward to a time when the universe was much smaller and denser. The uniformity of physical materials and physical laws meant all material in the universe had to have been in contact at some point too which implies a very small origin possibly a singularity. And the origins of the forces that govern the current universe have their origins at incredibly high energy levels which also implies a highly compressed nearly infinitely hot origin. The expansion was rapid and hugely energetic. Time and space came into being as the universe expanded from the infinitely dense source. The fact we see the same materials and a great uniformity to physical laws in every direction we look also implies a source of nearly infinite density as well. As the universe expanded it cooled. Matter and anti-matter were created from the cooling and the birth of the physical forces that control them. 2.Why unequal amounts of matter and anti-matter No one has yet answered this question fully. There is mathematical speculation that a certain type of spin common to matter may have been preferred in the forces controlling matter and though nearly all of the matter and antimatter created would have self-destructed a small residue of regular matter would be left over representing the matter of the entire universe as we know it. 3.What is inflation When the universe expanded from the condensed state it was in prior to expansion (call it a singularity if you want) it underwent a period where it expanded possibly 10 30 times in size nearly instantaneously. Call it quantum tunneling or simply sinking to a lower energy state but the result was that for a brief time the expansion was incredibly fast. At the time whatever the kernel of universe was that became all the matter we see it was significantly smaller than that. Fast forward to today and that dra16 www.AmateurAstronomy.com matic expansion means --the universe is many many times larger than we can see because it is not old enough yet for light to have traveled here from its outer parts --the physics of the universe indicates it is flat which means parallel lines are straight and do not meet and triangles have exactly 180 degrees in the sum of their vertex angles. If the universe were positively curved parallel lines would meet and there would be more than 180 degrees in a triangle (think of a triangle on a globe). If the universe were negatively curved parallel lines would diverge over vast distances and there would be less than 180 degrees in a triangle (think of the surface of a saddle). We ve devised hundreds of ways to test this and every result says the universe is flat. To all intents that s the same as infinitely large (or so large it differs little in our measurements from infinity). This period of inflation meant that all the material of the universe prior to inflation was close enough together to interact. That eliminates the horizon problem wherein the homogeneity of the universe could not be explained because there wasn t enough time for interactions to homogenize the materials. And it means the universe is pretty much the same in every direction where physical materials and laws are concerned. 4.What is dark matter The mathematics behind the idea of the Big Bang suggests that the amount of matter and energy in the universe should be equal to 1 i.e.the expansion should continue forever but getting slower and approaching zero at infinity time (the temporal asymptote). But the amount of matter and energy we see is a small fraction of what should be there. So a form of matter that barely interacts with normal matter was hypothesized. We see its effects gravitationally in galaxy clusters and the collisions of galaxy clusters. But even the wildest calculations don t compute there is enough of it to bring the universal expansion to the point needed in the calculations governing the Big Bang Hypothesis. So another form of by Don Pensack energy in the universe is proposed Dark energy. 5.What is dark energy For all the matter and energy (Einstein showed matter is merely a compressed form of energy. E Mc 2 remember ) in the universe to equal the 1 of the Big Bang mathematics 70 % of the energy (mass) in the universe must be a form that is not visible and does not cause changes in matter. It can be thought of as the force that causes or drives the expansion of the frame of the universe. And that expansion is faster than light at a great-enough distance. Though two pieces of matter cannot go away from each other as fast or faster than light in the frame of the universe there is no math suggesting the frame itself cannot expand faster than light. This is the primary reason why inflation took large portions (maybe most) of the universe out of our horizon so that we cannot see it (yet). 6.How big is the universe We cannot see the universe as it is. Because of its size and the length of time it takes light to travel in it we can only see the universe that was. The farther out we look the farther back in time we see and the farthest we see is the microwave background radiation. We see it as a sphere around us but it is really nearly a point because no matter what direction we look we are looking back at a time when the universe was smaller and denser. The microwave background radiation is microwave today because of its recessional velocity (strongly redshifted) but it would have been incredibly high energy x-rays at the time (distant galaxies have a redshift of 8 the Cosmic microwave Background CMB has a redshift of 1000). So the universe s true size has to be inferred by the age of the universe and the expansion rate we see. That size is perhaps 5 to 10 times the width of the universe we see--125250 billion light years wide. And its outer edges would be receding at faster than light. Ironically a hypothetical alien living on a planet at the edge Summer 2014 Issue 83 would look out into space with his telescope and see the same universe we see. He too would be looking back in time to look out into the universe and his horizon would also be the cosmic microwave background--the same one we see. 7.What is the shape of the universe No one has an answer to this. If it started as an infinitely dense singularity and expanded uniformly in all directions then Gamow s finite sphere of infinite size would apply (see 1948 1-2-3Infinity ) but if it didn t expand uniformly and there were eddies within that expansion who knows Since so much of that universe is outside our horizon we will have to infer it rather than observe it. 8.What is our POV and what is lookback time So since every point in the universe looks out into a sphere of finite look-back time every point is at the center of its own visible universe. That is the point of view of every observer in the universe. And we would all look back in time the same length of time currently thought to be 13.8 billion years. 9.Why do some stars appear older than the universe Why do we see developed galaxies so early Some stars obviously formed very early as did some galaxies. With the much higher density of the time formations of gas clouds and matter streams would have been easier as would interactions between galaxies and the concomitant formation of larger galaxies from consolidation. If the rate of expansion were slower in the past and faster now stars could be 13.8 billion years old and still younger than the universe. If the universe is slowing down in its expansion a star that old would be a problem for physicists. Fortunately studies of distant supernovae imply the expansion is speeding up. Why it s speeding up may be as simple as the effect of dark energy growing stronger as the expanding universe grows less dense. But no one really knows right now. 10.What are globular clusters These star clusters seemed to have formed very early in the history of the universe. And the stars appear to have formed with very little in the way of materials heavier than helium which also Summer 2014 Issue 83 implies great age. All materials heavier than helium have formed since the Big Bang. The best hypothesis is that they were originally cores of small galaxies that got absorbed by larger galaxies and had all of their materials stripped away except the very cores which were too dense to be completely absorbed. We have observed some examples of globulars being destroyed as they are absorbed by the Milky Way and we have observed some small spheroidal galaxies that resemble globular clusters. Alternatively the dense early universe spawned large clusters and large galactic gas cloud associations very early and they became gravitationally linked. Further research will help answer this question. One globular now NGC5139 (Omega Centauri) is generally considered to be a remnant galactic core. The jury is still out on the others. 11.Are there other universes This is an interesting speculation and it is not prohibited by the mathematics that describes our early universe. But forever outside our horizon we would never know unless we see evidence that another one has collided with ours. Think of a jade plant--all its leaves get bigger and they grow in number but they never touch. 12.Does out universe contain other dimensions Some of the mathematics worked out to describe the nature of space-time on the level of the infinitely small don t work unless there are other dimensions curled within what we think of as points. This is an example of where mathematics describes something that cannot be observed. Therefore the truth of the idea is not known. If the math leads to useful predictions in the interaction of matter and energy perhaps we will consider this more than mere speculation (i.e. a bending of what we see to match the math rather than the other way around). 13.Does MOND eliminate the need for dark matter An alternative theory of gravity MOND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) explains why stars in the outer parts of galaxies don t seem to be orbiting as fast as they should. It even does away in some interpretations with a necessity for dark matter in its explanation of the visible universe. It is not reconciled with other mathematics and physics describing the Big bang though so at this time remains an interesting alternative idea. S e e http en.wikipedia.org wiki Modified_N ewtonian_dynamics 14.Do anomalous red-shifts indicate we don t know the true size of the universe we see Ah the whole idea of the expanding universe and look back time depends on the idea that red shift indicates recessional velocity which indicates an expanding universe. This idea is now nearly a hundred years old. But if we see red shifts that do NOT imply distances (such as two interacting galaxies with widely different red shifts) then not all red shifts imply distance. Or maybe NO red shifts imply distance. Halton Arp who recently passed away spent his life investigating such anomalies. Of course we don t just have red-shift to help us with distance determinations but without the foundation of recessional velocity and red shift we also don t have a coherent story about the formation or age of the universe. Arp could have been right in specific and wrong in general but we haven t really explained the discrepancies to everyone s satisfaction. 15.What is the fate of the universe At the moment it looks like one of two possibilities 1) the universe continues to expand forever but slows down as it nears infinite size meaning that eventually the universe will be static at just about absolute zero at infinite time or 2) the universal expansion will continue to speed up to the point that the horizon for every galaxy will eliminate the ability to view other galaxies (each galaxy will be all that is visible in its universe) then stars then atoms then the atoms will be ripped apart then the particles that form atoms until the universe is infinitely large and expanding at infinite speed with nothing within other than a uniform nothingness. Both fates are so many years in the future that all the stars will have burned out before we even make it to a nearly infinitely-small fraction of that time. What I wrote above will be wrong in ten years. Some aspects of the story may stay the same. A lot of the rest will change. We don t know the truth.....yet. Don Pensack Los Angeles CA www.AmateurAstronomy.com 17 Observer s Corner Seeing Deep (Part I) Article and Images by Howard Banich Perhaps you ve seen this quote before You must not expect to see at sight...Seeing is in some respects an art which must be learned. Many a night have I been practicing to see and it would be strange if one did not acquire certain dexterity by such constant practice. Sir William Herschel wrote these words over two hundred and sixty years ago and they re just as true now. At first it may seem odd that it takes practice to see things well through a telescope because they re designed to makes things appear brighter larger and easier to see. What s to learn Remember when you learned to tie your shoes Write your name Ride a bicycle Although we do these things without thinking now at first they took a good deal of practice to master. But like any skill with practice they became second nature and the same is true with learning to see faint objects through a telescope. This series of three articles examines what it takes to see the faintest possible objects through any size telescope no matter where you observe. Before getting into specifics it s important to understand that it takes practice and patience to see as much as you re capable of and that there are no shortcuts. 18 www.AmateurAstronomy.com You can t hurry experience so relax and enjoy yourself as you learn to see deep. We ll start by looking at dark adaptation and averted vision in this first installment. Dark adaptation The physical and chemical adjustments of the eye including dilation of the pupil and increased activity of rods in the retina that makes vision possible in relative darkness. (http www.thefreedictionary.com dar k adaptation) The first thing you need to do when you want to observe deep sky objects is to make sure your eyes are dark adapt- ed. All that means is that you allow your eyes to become accustomed to the darkness of night long enough that they become as sensitive to faint light as possible. This is a process your eyes go through every night when you re asleep. Have you ever gotten out of bed in the middle of the night and noticed how well you can see in your supposedly dark bedroom and wondered why that is Your eyes dark adapted while you slept. As long as you don t expose your eyes to any bright lights it only takes about 30 minutes or so to become dark adapted when you re outside at a dark sky site. Fortunately dark adaptation is barely diminished by dim red light and http www.buzzle.com articles dilated-pupils-causes.html Summer 2014 Issue 83 is crucial to seeing faint objects through your telescope it isn t a skill per se. However knowledge of how it works how long it takes and how to protect it throughout an observing session has a direct bearing on how well the primary skill of averted vision can be used. Averted Vision Ok so let s assume your eyes have become as dark adapted as they can and you re ready to observe a faint object with your telescope. You ve found its location but when you look in the eyepiece there are only a few stars visible. After double checking that your scope is pointing at exactly the right spot it s now time to use the low light and motion sensitive rods in your eyes. Essentially this involves paying attention to what you can see with the most sensitive portion of your peripheral vision and is what s meant by the term averted vision. Counter-intuitively that means faint objects are best seen when you look slightly away from them. Based on how the human eye is laid out it works best for most people to place what they that s why we use it while observing. Emphasis on dim though. A bright red light will diminish your dark adaptation almost as badly as a bright white light. So how does dark adaptation work The first thing that happens is that your eye s pupils dilate to let in the most light possible. At the same time the light and color detecting parts of the eye rods and cones - start adapting as well. Rods and cones are the two types of light sensitive elements in our eyes. Cones distinguish colors and work best in daylight and are what we use when looking directly at something. They re most sensitive to the green light at 5600 angstroms and don t work very well at night. Ever notice that you can t see colors in the dark Rods can t detect color but work best in low-light conditions and are most sensitive to the blue-green light at 5100 angstroms. They are also excellent motion detectors in low light conditions. Rods make up the bulk of our peripheral vision and are what we use when trying to see a faint deep sky object. For additional information about rods and cones and some nice graphics check out http www.webexhibits.org causesofcolor 1G.html. Summer 2014 Issue 83 If you re interested in finding out more about the physiological underpinnings of how our eyes detect light with Rhodopsin otherwise known as Visual Purple have at look at these two pages http en.wikipedia.org wiki Adaptatio n_(eye) and http en.wikipedia.org wiki Rhodopsin. Although becoming fully dark adapted This averted vision chart is for the left eye and note that your sweet spot may be in a different spot than indicated. This is a DSS image of NGC 6337. www.AmateurAstronomy.com 19 want to see somewhere between where their direct vision is looking see the look directly here area in the diagram below - and their nose. We re all slightly different in exactly where the most sensitive area of our rods is located so you ll have to discover your own sweet spot. For example my averted vision sweet spot is essentially directly below my direct vision. As a side note your blind spot which is of no use for observing is opposite your direct vision. You can investigate your blind spot at this interesting site http serendip.brynmawr.edu bb blind spot1.html Because our eyes are constantly shifting their gaze you ll probably discover your averted vision sweet spot in fits and starts as your eye moves around on its own. You can also do much the same thing by slowly rocking your scope back and forth. As your scope moves it will stimulate the motion detection ability of your eye s rods momentarily letting you glimpse the object of your search as it moves into your averted vision sweet spot. A classic object to see the effects of averted vision is the Blinking Planetary NGC 6826. When you look directly at it (cones) you see the central star. Look away slightly (rods) and the planetary nebula becomes visible. Switching back and forth between direct vision and averted vision makes the planetary nebulas blink off and on giving this nebula its memorable name. Fortunately the same process works on all faint objects. In practice your initial glimpse of a faint nebulosity may be uncertain at first glance but with continued application of averted vision it will soon become more obvious. Take your time move the object around in your peripheral vision to find your sweet spot and give yourself a good ten to fifteen minutes to get a taste of what averted vision can do. This isn t only for faint deep sky objects though because when used on bright nebulous objects like M42 averted vision will show an amazing amount of fainter extensions. describe how much effort is needed to see an object. Ron Morales of the Sonoran Desert Observatory developed the following scale to describe how easy or difficult an object is to see Averted Vision Scale Developed by Ron Morales of the Sonoran Desert Observatory AV1 - Object can be seen with averted vision but once found the object can occasionally be seen with direct vision. If an object is first noticed with averted vision but once found this object can then be seen steadily with direct vision it is considered a direct vision object as opposed to an averted vision object. AV2 - Object can be seen only with averted vision but it is held steady. Here the sweep of one s vision makes the object detectable. AV3 - Object can only occasionally be seen with averted vision as it comes & goes with the seeing conditions. In this case the object is seen more than 50 % of the time. Averted Vision Scale There are levels of averted vision that 20 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 AV4 - Object can only occasionally be seen with averted vision as it comes & goes with the seeing conditions. In this case the object is seen less than 50 % of the time. AV5 - Object can only be glimpsed with averted vision after continuously viewing the field for a few minutes or more. This level of averted vision usually occurs when one carefully observes a field for a lengthy period of time. This might occur within the first 3 to 5 minutes of viewing the field. In this level it is important that the observer has no knowledge of the exact location of a possible object. Having such knowledge prior to viewing could mislead some observers into believing that they saw something they did not actually see. One problem associated with viewing extremely faint galaxies is that sometimes an extremely faint star could be misidentified as an extremely faint galaxy. For this level of averted vision it is suggested that the observer make a field sketch showing faint stars as well as the object in question. This field sketch can then at a later time be compared to an actual photograph or chart. At this level of detection are you seeing or just detecting the presence of an object. However I think the highlighted sentence in the AV5 section sells observer s short. Unless you re intent on rediscovering objects on your own there s no reason to not know their exact locations. More power to you if that s what you like to do but for everyone else knowing the exact location not to mention the size and surface brightness of a faint object is often essential to successfully seeing it. So I encourage you to use detailed charts and photographs to help pinpoint exactly where faint objects are located as well as using them as guides to any potential details. Knowing where to concentrate your averted vision can often make all the difference. Also the size surface brightness and physical nature of the object you re looking for will suggest the best range of magnifications to try along with the possible use of a nebula filter. Doing a little research before observing will give you an idea of what s best for the objects you want to see. If after giving it your best shot you re not sure you saw something just note your uncertainty in your notes and try again in the future. If you do think you saw something you probably did but knowing the exact location of the object will help you decide if you did see it. A rule of thumb used by many observers is that three detections ( pops ) within about five minutes count as a positive observation for a faint object. However the pops have to be strong sightings even if they are fleeting. For threshold observations like this I like to test myself by trying to see the same thing in a different part of the field of view where I know there are no faint objects. If I see something there too then my eyes are playing tricks - and it s time to move on to brighter objects. Part II of this series will examine how to get the most from using averted vision how to protect your dark adaptation while observing and other factors that contribute to seeing deep. Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 21 Excerpts from the Night Sky - Mike Smith Shorts From Down Under The Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2 (BICEP2) experiment at the South Pole found a pattern called primordial B-mode polarization in the light left over from just after the big bang known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB). This pattern basically a curling in the polarization or orientation of the light can be created only by gravitational waves produced by inflation of the Universe. Gravitational Waves Detected Prove the Universe is Expanding It s a whole new ball-game. Scientists can now look at new theories of physics. The cosmic microwave background is a faint glow that surrounds the whole sky. It was discovered - almost by mistake in 1964 by scientists Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson who (so the story goes) at first thought what they were recording was simply interference on their radio antennae caused by pigeon droppings Eventually it was realized that what they were recording were the echoes of the moments less than half a million years after the Big Bang. Up till that time light could not travel far because of the density of matter in the universe. The applecart of steady-state thought was overturned when astronomer Edwin Hubble began plotting the distance to newly discovered galaxies using the large telescopes available in California. Hubble noted that every galaxy appeared to be moving away from the Earth. What s more the further away a galaxy was the faster it appeared to be moving. Because movement is relative the same would be apparent no matter where in the universe from which you were observing. All other galaxies are moving away from any observer. The BICEP telescope was built at the South Pole in 2005 but no sooner was it up and running than the scientific team began designing the 2nd version. New improved detectors were installed that could filter process image and measure radiation from the cosmic microwave background. Results were released last month by the four co-principal investigators of BICEP2 John Kovac of the Harvard- 22 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Left The BICEP observatory buildings in splendid isolation at the South Pole. Right The printout that shows the results of the experiment. Mike Smith His Eminence Professor Dr Nervo Shatterini Director of the Lygon Street Life Observatory asks that attendees at NACAA attend to these quiz questions in spare moments and when nothing else is happening. Astro Trivia Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Chao-Lin Kuo of Stanford University Jamie Bock of the California Institute of Technology and Clem Pryke of the University of Minnesota. What they announced was the discovery of primordial B-mode polarizations. These are characteristic swirls in light that comes from 380 000 years after the Big Bang. This in itself is a wonderful achievement but what caused these light-swirls are believed to be gravitational waves that were created in the first trillionth -of a trillionth -of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bangwhen everything began to go haywire. This sort of fundamental research will be studied very closely by other scientists to see if it stands up to scrutinyand can be duplicated by others. Despite their initial enthusiasm scientists must take great care in looking for errors in the findings. More experiments must be done before the scientific community will believe this groundbreaking work. The original investiga- tions were so startling that researchers withheld publishing the results for a year. In fact the researchers were so startled to see such a blaring signal in the data that they held off on publishing it for more than a year looking for all possible alternative explanations for the pattern they found. When the Keck Array began showing the same result the scientists felt confident enough to publish their discoveries. (1) In which constellation did the Greek gods swear an oath (2) What is the brightest star in Canis Minor (3) Which bright nebula could eventually produce 10 000 stars (4) Who discovered comet Shoemaker-Levy (5) Whose parents were Zeus and Leda (6) Which bright nearby galaxy is estimated to have twice as many stars as the Milky Way (7) Where will you find a mascon (8) What made a bright red 1980 Chevrolet Malibu famous in 1992 (9) Other than on a canadian ice-rink where would you find Puck (10) In which faint constellation will you find the Rosette Nebula (11) Which small lunar crater is inside Hipparchus (12) What do we call the motion of a cosmological object other than the apparent recession caused by the expansion of the universe (13) Which was the first eclipsing binary ever noticed (14) What causes secular acceleration (15) Which is the faintest object in the Messier list (16) What effect has carbon dioxide on Venus (17) Mirrors used to be made from speculum . What is it (18) Who recorded the first rock song in Australia (19) When will we next see Halleys Comet (20) M5 is second best to which northern star cluster in Hercules Go for it NACAAites Answers on page 25 Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 23 landform in this area Crisium being a multi-ring impact basin and remnants of outer rings confuse the view two such are tagged rX and rY they may be parts of the Geminus Ring . Raised terrain north (i.e. left) of Cannon is brightly lit but a jumble of smaller impacts confuses the view. Here and there light streams through gaps between the row of big craters on the terminator illuminating higher ground beyond. The two craters north of Cannon are Plutarch and Seneca named for thinkers from Greece and Rome respectively but Cannon well she s different in every way. Who was Annie Jump Cannon She was perhaps the greatest of the female computers who created the Draper Catalogue of stellar spectral types in the 1920 s devising the final (and modern) classification system while personally classifying 225 300 of the original catalogue of 359 000 stars a gigantic feat She was no mere robot and in fact redesigned the entire system supplanting earlier models and refining the scheme as her insight grew. The lunar limbs are difficult regions to study the craters crowd together their floor features hidden by shadows or by their own rims. Ridges can look like craters and hundreds of kilometres of lunar surface is compressed into a narrow strip - it s hard to identify any given crater. One such region is that between Mare Crisium and the Moon s east limb where the dominant feature is Mare Marginis the sea at the margins . The above factors made for a confusing subject and I dashed away with the pencil hoping to capture a particular crater in the area that had long been on my list Cannon named for indefatigable Annie Jump Cannon (Fig). It seemed at the time that Cannon was the half lit deep crater left of centre but next day with atlas and freeware it was clear that Cannon was the shallower crater at the right side on the terminator only just in my fi eld. Still it was a record at last and one that may not recur soon. Parts of eastern Mare Crisium were roughly sketched to give some context for finding Cannon 24 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 with Cape Agarum labelled cA near large crater Condorcet. While mapping Agarum I noted what looked like an elongate vent with rilles at either end an interesting feature worth another look. Ring ridges are perhaps the dominant We may look at her work in detail in a future piece on stellar spectra but it s true to say that her system is the essential key to modern astrophysics and astronomy and of her work we may well cry Oh Brilliant Analytical Feat - Great. Key Maker Harry Roberts We are sailing we are sailing Home again cross the sea. We are sailing stormy waters To be near you to be free. Mel Hoists Sail with Vela er than Jupiter in a telescope and the 10th magnitude central star is also visible. It lies about 2 600 light years from us and is an ideal target for telescopes of all apertures. IC 2391 is a large cluster of approximately 50 stars visible to the unaided eye. The cluster surrounds Omicron () Velorum a blue white star of magnitude 3.6 which is a known variable of the Cephei type. The cluster lies about 500 light years away and is an excellent object for binoculars. IC 2395 is a cluster of about 40 stars and is an ideal object for binoculars. The brightest member of the cluster is a magnitude 5.5 star however it is thought that this star is a foreground star and not part of the cluster. IC 2395 is approximately 3 100 light years away and is half a degree to the north of NGC 2670 an 8th magnitude open cluster. NGC 3132 The Eight-Burst Nebula ela the Sails like Puppis the Stern and Carina the Keel was also once part of the great constellation Argo Navis. When Argo Navis was divided into the three constellations we recognize today the stars were not given new Greek letters so Vela has no alpha or beta Velorum gamma () is the brightest star in Vela. Vela also contains a number of stars named with Roman letters due to the original size of Argo Navis it was so large that astronomers ran out of Greek letters and had to use Roman to finish the naming of all the stars. Two stars kappa () and delta () Velorum form part of the feature we know as the False Cross named as it was often mistaken for the real Southern Cross. Vela sits in a part of the Milky Way that is rich in faint nebulosity known as the Gum Nebula. It was named after an Australian astronomer - Colin S. Gum who was the first to notice it in 1952. The Gum Nebula is thought to be the remains of one or more supernovae that occurred long ago. There is another supernova remnant in Vela perhaps best recognized by the wonderful photographs taken by David Malin at the Anglo-Australian Observatory. This remnant contains the Vela Pulsar which flashes 11 times per second and is one of the few pulsars that can be seen to flash in both optical and radio wavelengths. Summer 2014 Issue 83 V Apart from supernova remnants Vela contains many tantalizing objects for both binocular and telescope users. Gamma () Velorum is an interesting multiple star. Observers can see 2 bright blue white stars which appear completely unrelated. The brighter of these is a special rare class of star known as a Wolf-Rayet and is about 840 light years away. Wolf-Rayet stars have very hot surfaces and short lifetimes. The fainter companion lies about 1600 light years away. There are also two wider companion stars that shine at 8th and 9th magnitude. Delta () Velorum is a blue-white main sequence star of magnitude 1.9and lies about 80 light years away. It had a companion star of magnitude 5.1 which requires an aperture of 100mm or greater to see. Lambda () Velorum is an orange supergiant of magnitude 2.2. It lies about 573 light years away and is an irregular variable with its brightness changing by less than 0.2 magnitudes. H Velorum is a nice double star of magnitudes 4.8 and 7.4 which can be difficult to see in small telescopes due to the contrasting magnitudes. The pair are approximately 376 light years from us. NGC 3132 is a large bright 8th magnitude planetary nebula. Also known as the Eight-Burst Nebula it appears larg- NGC 2547 is an open cluster consisting of approximately 80 stars with magnitudes of 6.5 or fainter and lies 1 400 light years away. This cluster is best seen in binoculars. Autumn s mild temperatures are perfect for exploring the southern Milky Way so put Vela on your list of must sees this season Mel Answers to Shatterini Quiz Nervo (1) Ara the altar. (2) Procyon. (3) The Orion Nebula M42. (4) David Levy Caroline and Gene Shoemaker in 1993. (5) The bright star Pollux. (6) The Andromeda Galaxy. (7) On the Moon. (8) It was hit by a meteorite. (9) Near Uranus- it s a moon. (10) Monoceros. (11) Horrocks. (12) We call it peculiar motion (13) Algol. (14) Slowing of Earth s rotation. (15) M76 the Little Dumbell Nebula at 11.5mag. (16) It increases temperatures. (17) An alloy of copper and tin. (18) Vic Sabrino recorded Rock around the Clock in August 1955. (19) In about 2061 (20) M13 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 25 Star Party & Astronomical Event Calendar Ju ly- Oct ob er July 9-12 San Antonio TX http www.astroleague.org Eden Valley Guest Ranch Oroville WA http www.tmspa.com 2014 Iowa Star Party ALCON Aug 21 Aug 25 Whiterock Resort - Coon Rapids Iowa contact dbonser usa.net July 22-26 Table Mountain Star Party August 22-23 The Conjunction Northfield Mtn Recreation area MA http www.philharrington.net astroconjunction July 23-27 Shreveport Airport Footlight Ranch York County PA http www.masondixonstarparty.org Breezy Hill Springfield VT http stellafane.org Camp Cullom Mullberry IN http indianastars.us starparty Mason Dixon Summer Star Party Aug 22 - 24 Cherry Springs State Park near Cloudsport PA http bfsp.org Spruce Knob WV http www.ahsp.org Black Forest Star Party July 24-27 Stellafane Aug 22 - 26 Almost Heaven Star Party July 24 - 27 Indiana Family Star Party Aug 23- Sept 1 Merritt Star Quest Quilchena Ranch - Merritt BC Canada http www.merrittastronomical.com July 25-28 Gordon s Park Manitoulin Island Ontario Canada http gordonspark.com calendar-of-events Manitoulin Star Party Sept 24-28 Brothers OR 42 miles east of Bend Oregon http www.mbsp.org Brothers Star Party July 25 Aug 3 Savoy MA http www.rocklandastronomy.com events SSP index.html Mt Kobau Kelowna British Columbia Canada http www.mksp.ca Merritt Reserve near Valentine NE http www.nebraskastarparty.org Rockland Summer Star Party Sept 19-21 Bruneau Dunes State Park Idaho http isp.boiseastro.org Idaho Star Party July 26 Aug 3Mount Kobau Star Party September 13 ScopeX Telescope and Astronomy Expo Saxonwold South Africa http www.scopex.co.za July 27-Aug 1 The Nebraska Star Party Sept 26-28 Ashford CT http www.asnh.org Connecticut Star Party Aug 19-24 Ochoco National Forest - Prineville Oregon http www.oregonstarparty.org Oregon Star Party Sept 24 - 27 Socorro NM http enchantedskies.org Enchanted Skies Star Party August 21-24 Starfest River Place Park Ayton Ontario Canada http www.nyaa.ca starfest.htm Warren Rupp Observatory Bellville OH http www.wro.org hiddenhollowinfo.html Menghini Winery Julian CA http www.julianstarfest.com Sep 26-27 Kensington Metropark - Brighton Michigan http www-personal.umich.edu dgs kensington Camp Billy Joe - Kenton Oklahoma http www.okie-tex.com Astronomy At The Beach Aug 21-24 Hidden Hollow Sept 20- Sept 28 Okie Tex Star Party Aug 21-24 Julian Starfest Oct 19 - 26 Deerlick Astronomy Village Sharon GA http www.atlantaastronomy.org PSSG Peach State Star Gaze Aug 21-24 Warren Rupp Observatory Bellville OH http www.wro.org hiddenhollowinfo.html 27 57 N 1st Ave Barry IL http www.freewebs.com earthwindandsky www.AmateurAstronomy.com Hidden Hollow Oct 20-25 7 100 acre X-Bar Ranch near Eldorado Texas http www.texasstarparty.org eldorado.html Eldorado Star Party August 21- 24 Earth Wind and Sky Star party Oct 23-26 ASKC dark site near the Marais des Cynes River Kansas http hoasp.org Summer 2014 Issue 83 The Heart of America Star Party 26 Oct 25-27 Illinois Dark Skies Star Party Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Preserve http sas-sky.org Oct 20-26 Appalachian Mtn. Club Highland Center Bretton Woods NH http www.chaosastro.com starparty Staunton River Fall Star Party SpaceImages.com BUY beautiful Hubble NASA high quality astronomy space pictures posters slides and backlit transparencies from outer space programs and spacecraft missions to the Moon Mars Jupiter Saturn and photos of the Earth from space. Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 27 Deep Sky Treasures The Celestial Garden Observer s Notebook Summer Milky Way over Okie Tex Star Party. Imaged with Canon 5D MkII stack of 10- five minute exposures - Charlie Warren luminous path across the heavens. In By John Davis folklore and mythology the Milky Way Notes from Arunah Hill has been represented as many things even as a stream of milk spilt from the f all the sights in nature with the one exception being the breast of the goddess Hera as she awesome spectacle of viewing nursed the infant Hercules. The story a total eclipse of the sun none is more goes that stray drops even fell to Earth glorious than that of the summer Milky to form lily blossoms. In various legWay as it arches overhead in the still- ends of myth it became a celestial ness of a dark sky location on a clear river or even a heavenly extension of an earthly river particularly the Nile. moonless night. Most often perhaps the Milky Way From our Earth s position in the solar was seen as a pathway to heaven for system within the Cygnus-Orion Arm the souls of the dead or to Valhalla in of our galaxy we re looking out into Scandinavian folklore. The bright stars the universe and into other spiral arms of the Milky Way were seen by of our Milky Way reaching in a long American Indians as welcome camp- and 10-22mm Sigma lens. ISO 1000 fires along the arduous pathway to Heaven. In our perspective here however we ll consider this luminous heavenly pathway as a giant celestial garden in which can be found a wonderful variety of cosmic flowers actually hundreds of them strewn throughout its length. These blossoms of course as deep sky treasures take various forms so lets take a look at some examples. With the aid of a good star atlas or other similar source you should be able to locate them without any difficulty. We ll start with a very easy target in Sagittarius truly resembling a floral Summer 2014 Issue 83 O 28 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Heart of the Summer Milky Way - Starry Night chart blossom especially in photographs. It s the beautiful bright Trifid Nebula M-20 (NGC-6514) This combination emission and reflection nebula glowing at 6th magnitude lies just 1 NNW of the brighter showpiece Lagoon Nebula itself situated 6 N of 3rd mag. Sgr. at the tip of the Teapot s spout. Owing to its low declination some smaller scopes may have difficulty on nights of poor transparency showing the nebulosity in the Trifid but with apertures of 8 to 10 inches or more you should have little difficulty enjoying the remarkable floral pattern of this object. Three dark lanes intrude into the nebulosity from the W SSE and NE nearly converging near the center dividing the blossom into three prominent petals and giving the Trifid its name. A hot blue 7th mag. (O type) star near the center embedded in the root of the SW petal generates by its intense radiation the illuminating glow of this fairly high surface brightness nebulosity. Just over 8 arc minutes to the N of the blossom s center you ll be more challenged to make out the considerably fainter reflection nebulosity surrounding a 7.5 mag. star. At a distance of about 6500 LY the Trifid is thought to be a more distant part of the same HII region as its nearer and brighter Summer 2014 Issue 83 M 20 - the Trifid Nebula shot with Canon 60Da and 8 Mak Cass at f 6 - C Warren www.AmateurAstronomy.com 29 Starry Night Pro6 neighbor to the south the Lagoon Nebula. Another celestial blossom very similar in appearance to the Trifid in photographs is nestled high in the Cygnus Milky Way at the end of a two degree long narrow dark lane (B-168) in the Milky Way. But that is where the similarity ends Designated as IC-5146 and known as the Cocoon Nebula it is very faint and definitely a challenge object best seen in a UHC or H-Beta filter with scopes of apertures upwards of 12 inches preferably in the 18 and up category. If you want to track it down it lies 4 ESE of the bright star cluster M-39 in Cygnus. A much smaller and brighter celestial flower lies across the constellation in the NW part of Cygnus. We ve covered this one before in previous columns and we ve decided to revisit this fascinating little planetary nebula widely known among amateur astronomers as The Blinking Planetary and carrying the official designation NGC-6826 (chart on next page). Its mag. 8.8 blue green oval blossom spanning 25 x 27 lies near the western wingtip of the Swan half a degree E of 16 Cyg an attractive 6th mag. double (separation 39 ) with the 4th mag. wingtip stars and Cyg. lying nearby just to the W and NW. What gives the Blinking Planetary its appeal is that it is the pro30 www.AmateurAstronomy.com totype the original example of planetaries exhibiting the celebrated blinking phenomenon. This is actually the result of interplay between faint light sensitive rods and intense light colorsensitive cones interacting in the retina of your eye. When at medium to high magnification you concentrate your vision staring at the relatively bright 10.5 mag. central star of this planetary the surrounding oval haze of nebulosity fades to near invisibility. By contrast when you glance away a few arc min. and view the planetary with averted vision suddenly the surrounding nebulous haze blooms into clear view. Thus by alternating your glance between direct and averted vision you produce the blinking effect so noticeable with NGC-6826 but an effect you can see in several other planetaries. NGC-6826 was given its nickname some years ago by astronomer and author James Mullaney who appreciating the effect wrote about the Blinking Planetary in the August 1963 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. We ll move on now toward the south to the constellation Delphinus the Dolphin where near its border with Sagitta the Arrow just under 6 (5 52 ) NW of mag 3.8 Delphini (in the IC 5146 (Cocoon) imaged with StarlightXpress H9 and 8 mak Cass at f 6 -C Warren Summer 2014 Issue 83 Starry Night Pro6 chart with Telrad overlay upper center of the parallelogram marking the head of the dolphin) lies a lovely blossom the planetary nebula known as the Blue Flash or NGC6905 (chart below). In your finder scope look for a coarse grouping about 1 wide of 6.5 and 7th mag. stars arranged very roughly in the shape of a diamond. This grouping is centered about 1 E of where you ll find the Blue Flash. Glowing at magnitude 11.1 this 42 x 38 planetary lies about 4000 LY away and is nestled in a fairly rich field of 11th and 12th mag. stars. It is a truly attractive sight especially in larger scopes as you might suspect having a very uneven wispy appearance and its blue color quite obvious. Its faint central star is visible under good seeing conditions in 10 - 12 apertures and becomes more discernable in scopes 13 and up despite its listed v mag. of 15. The disk is brighter in the center and noticeably so on the E edge. The W side seems appreciably dimmer but with a brightening along the outer western edge of Starry Night Pro6 chart with Telrad overlay Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 31 scopes in the 8 to 12 category will show the northern border of the disk to be much fainter and rather ill defined whereas the southern edge is brighter as are the bright sharply defined E and W rims. With increasing apertures the planetary s disk becomes noticeably darker in the center and in scopes of 16 and up under good conditions as many as 5 faint stars of 13th and 14th mag. have been seen within the disk. The annular structure of NGC-6781 becomes even more obvious by viewing it with a narrowband filter like the UHC. Also gracing our summer Milky Way of course are numerous other blossoms in our celestial garden such as the beautiful globular clusters each one bursting with splendor. You ll want to be sure to take in such showpieces as M-13 M-92 M-5 M-4 and M-22. We have no doubt you ll be able to find them as you continue exploring for these treasures under the shimmering Milky Way in the magnificent summer sky. Barry Riu shot this image of NGC 6781 with Ha filters to reveal this part of the emission lines. He also shot it with the O-III filter showing a slightly different structure and revealing that it is also a strong O-III emitter. the disk giving an overall suggestion of annularity. You ll generally get your best views of the Blue Flash in apertures of 10 to 12 and up and at higher magnifications of 200x to 275x. Finally we slip westward into Aquila to a spot just under 4 (3 52 ) NNW of 3.4 mag. Aql. Where we ll find NGC-6781 one of my favorite planetaries discussed also in two previous DST columns. Like the Blue Flash this misty floral gem is very often 32 www.AmateurAstronomy.com overlooked by observers but well worth tracking down. This quite large (110 ) round diaphanous glow shines at an overall magnitude of 11.4 and can be found 28 E of a 6.7 mag. star situated at the base of an inverted letter T shaped asterism of 5th through 7th mag. stars roughly 2 across lying to the SW of the planetary. What s interesting about this object is its uneven illumination. At magnifications of 120x to 180x Summer 2014 Issue 83 Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 33 Star People Real People in Astronomy by Robert Reeves Name Residence Occupation Astronomer since David Ho Los Angeles California Electro-optical designer Age 10 David Ho translates his passion for astronomy love of optics and interest in electronics into products and techniques that improve both amateur enjoyment of astronomy and professional research. This is David s story Above and Right David posing in front of the Keck telescopes at the facility on Mauna Kea W hen I was younger my interest in astronomy was an on and off affair since the first grade in Taiwan. Back then I had a serious incentive to spark interest in astronomy... I was a close friend of the former director of the Taiwan National Observatory in Taipei. Since then I am primarily self-taught in astronomy and picked up lots of information from college physics and astronomy classes. Comet Hale Bopp back in 1995 brought me back to astronomy for good. An astronomy friend Rob took me to the desert for an eye opening star party somewhere close by Joshua Tree National Park. There were over 50 scopes with over 150 people in the middle of nowhere . I got to explore almost every scope on the field and hear each scope owner s experience. I thus started out with scopes at star parties. I would walk up and start chatting with the owner and learn as much as I could about the scope before looking through the eyepiece. I usually started with the biggest scope on the field which was usually a Dobsonian then go to the more complex or unique configuration scopes. My very first optics were binoculars I received from my Dad about 40 years ago when he went to Japan for a busi- ness trip. Five years later I got a Kmart 2-inch refractor with a non-standard eyepiece (I still have it ). It wasn t until 25 years later that I got a real telescope. I got a great deal on a Meade 10-inch LightBridge from Scott Roberts and Craig at OPT. Both of them are still my dear friends. Then came the ED102 refractor Comet Hunter 9.25 EdgeHD and more to come I am sure For a long time I have used a Nexstar 8 borrowed from my friend Rudy in developing my Advanced CT Laser Collimator. Of course I have also used the countless outreach telescopes at Palomar Observatory and local astronomy clubs including refractors CT SCT and Dobs of all sizes. I have special thanks for my dear friends astronomer Scott Kardel and master docent Richard Garcia for the warm invitation and opportunity to be part of the program at Palomar. My partner and I founded HOTECH with special interest in designing and producing commercial and military laser products. I am particularly proud of the rescue beacon lasers I developed for servicemen pilots and seafarers. That my products actually help save lives is special to me. For the amateur astronomer I also produce the Astro Aimer SCA Collimator ACT Collimator and have more products Left David is living every astronomer s dream as he sits in the pilot s chair of the Keck telescope and at right stands in front of one of the twin Keck telescopes. 34 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 in the works. Collimation really matters. From big to small simple to complex scopes and amateur or professional good collimation makes a big difference. I am pleased that my laser collimators are used by many amateur and professional astronomers to optimize their optics. Professionally I have more than 20 years in opto-electronics design. My former semi-conductor laser wafer fabrication experiences working with numerous PhDs have accumulated a lot of proprietary knowledge in wafer lithography optical alignment and Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) fabrication technologies. This process is the core of the semi-conductor industry which has led to an explosion in everything from computing power to the CCD and sensor chips used by astronomers. I have had many experiences working with respected physicists turning R&D laboratory items into commercially available products. We had developed proprietary semi-conducLeft Astronomer Scott Kardel and David in front of the 200 inch Hale telescope at Mt. Palomar. Right David examines the mechanism of the famous 60 in ch telescope at Mt. Wilson tor laser chip MOCVD processes from the infrared at 1600nm to visible red 630nm back in the early 1990 s. And we were the first to mass produce here in California the 780nm laser chip in a very stable and cost effective way. This boosted both the CD ROM media and the fiber optical industries. We also mass produced the red laser chip which caused a huge laser pointer boom at extremely affordable prices. This work led in part to the Hotech Advanced CT Laser Collimator. It came from a combination of my telescope alignment experiences and the laser chip etching process I ve learned. I am proud that I am able introduce this instrument to the general public. Telescope optical alignment systems are a good place for me to share my optical-know-how in a different perspective. I hope once they know the background for these products that amateur astronomers can esteem and benefit from the technology we ve developed. Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 35 Above David works with the historic spectrograph on the 60-inch Mount Wilson telescope Right David adjusts the spectrograph at the focus of the Mt Wilson Snow solar telescope And thanks again to the wonderful wafer fabrication industry that enables the significant cost-to-resolution ratio for amateurs CCD imaging has gone wild. I m very proud to be part of the semi-conductor and astronomy industries and hold a handful of patents in both fields. I feel very honored to be the recipient of the Clyde Tombaugh Award in 2013 for creative innovation in astronomy for telescope collimation. As a business owner the development of new products and marketing them can be stressful. But there is an upside to my optical and laser business... I get to meet so many wonderful folks at astronomy conventions like RTMC NEAF and ASAE. I have made many contacts and friendships through these venues. One example is how Rik Hill an astronomer with the Catalina Sky Survey saw my Advanced CT collimator at ASAE and realized it might solve some problems a friend of his was having with lunar photography. Rik thus introduced me to Robert Reeves who has become a good astronomy friend. He used the Advanced SC collimator to fix his beloved Celestron and wrote an article about that experience in a recent issue of AA then be part of this Star People article where I have the pleasure to communicate to AA s readers. I belong to the Riverside Astronomical Society the San Bernardino Valley Amateur Astronomers and the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. The members all help me with equipment field testing and feedback and are my best advisors. I observe as frequently as possible with or without the scope. Even when I take out the trash at night I look at the stars just to tease myself for the next observing setup. I do observing every night during equipment testing. When observing for fun I like live events such as supernova eclipses transits comets and talking to the scope owners sharing their experiences. Imaging the sky is very popular now but I personally don t image that frequently. To me astrophotography is very subjective. An astrophoto 36 www.AmateurAstronomy.com can be a piece of art or a datapoint for pure scientific use. I am geared more toward research and discovery for which an image can be boring to the viewer but priceless to the researcher. My favorite target is the Bullet Cluster (1E 0657-558) only an X-ray sensor can view it better. On occasion I have managed to embarrass myself by taking a few photos with the scope cap on but I managed to quietly delete the photos and state to those nearby we need longer exposures. As the saying goes... Life is like a box of chocolate you never know what you re gonna get. Planting the astronomy seed in the young mind where they can pick up the passion at a time later in their life is one of my enjoyable goals. My daughter tags along from time to time meeting lots of astronomers during my astronomy presentations. Dr. Mike Brown the Pluto Killer is one of her favorites. I am very proud that my daughter s drawing of the Palomar Observatory was selected by the California Senator Barbara Boxer as one of the winners of the California Landmark Poster Contest. This award made a long lasting impression on herself and her 4th grade classmates. I believe experiences like this will be a positive influence and draw interest towards astronomy and science. My other activities include playing music stamp collecting hiking and skiing and always looking for new ways to improve our daily life with new ideas. However it is astronomy that embodies my passion for physics chemistry and geology. If astronomy didn t exist I would probably play the piano all day or write a software program to analyze and decode some of the theory in my research. I really enjoy meeting the astronomers astronauts editors and talking with all the folks who share my same passion. I Summer 2014 Issue 83 pointy ceilings decorated with colorful marbles. It was a total immersion experience taking me back to the medieval age. I really enjoy these brief moments in life breaking away from the busy modern world. What excites me the most about modern astronomy is new theories and discoveries on the ultimate equation describing the universe. String theory Einstein s spooky action in quantum physics the parallel universe and the gravity effect of dark matter are all fascinating. There is a huge number of things you can discover in astronomy. The young generations needs to be involved in the real first-hand observing experience. Browsing images from the Internet is a good start but seeing the stars with your own eyes is something that will stick in your memory forever. I encourage beginners to enjoy the skies and ask questions. All the scope owners love to be asked questions. There are never ending quests in astronomy because it covers such a broad academic field where there is always room for exploration if you keep your mind open. And as we all know Space IS the final frontier..... In the future I see amateur astronomers especially those who can afford good instruments working more closely with the professionals in contributing to sky surveys. The rest of us who enjoy the sky will continue to observe with the same passion that comes from a curiosity that has been deep in the heart of man for thousands of years. And myself I hope to be integrating new telescope designs for professional astronomers. Left David with a serious wrench for collimating the 60 Mt Wilson Scope. think my passion for astronomy well represented by one of Beethoven s quotes Don t only practice your art but force your way into its secrets for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine. My wife is very passionate about fine arts so we travel all over the world (mostly Europe) visiting museums and have great interest in architectural designs (Baroque Gothic Renaissance contemporary and modern). I remember one time we were in a 13th century Gothic church listening to a Vivaldi Four Seasons concert performance in Prague Czech Republic for US 10. Sitting on a shallow old hard church bench we were surrounded by huge Gothic sculptures and Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 37 Dance of the Polar Lights Article and Images by Steve Hubbard agnetic field lines on the surface of the Sun suddenly snap and millions of tons of plasma soup consisting of atoms molecules protons and electrons are unleashed. Spreading out at immense speeds some of this plasma eventually encounters our Earth in its orbit. Protected by our magnetosphere the Earth escapes the worst of the solar pounding but some of the particles get through and are funneled down towards our poles where the energetic solar particles encounter our atmosphere. Shedding their energy high above at altitudes anywhere from 50 to 200 miles over our heads these particles interact with our atmosphere ultimately producing the otherworldly ethereal displays of Northern Lights or Aurora as they are also known. 38 www.AmateurAstronomy.com M For millennia displays of Northern Lights were interpreted to be dancing animals human spirits or omens of bad things to come. More recently seeking out good displays of Northern Lights have become exotic destination travel adventures ending up on many people s bucket lists. For those who may be unfamiliar with this term bucket list is a list of things to do see or experience before you kick the bucket . Last July I attended an amateur astronomy event called Connecticut River Astronomer s Conjunction which has been held every year for over 30 years in Northfield Massachusetts. This is a modest sized event with great speakers nice dark skies and lots of longtime friends that I try never to miss. (Shameless plug for the Conjunction) At this particular Conjunction Bob Berman long time columnist for Astronomy Magazine was the key note speaker and he spoke about the Sun and the Northern Lights. For a number of years Bob has been hosting trips to Fairbanks Alaska in late February through an associated travel company specifically geared towards seeing the Northern Lights. I ve seen the Aurora on occasion from my mid northern latitude always enjoyed them but never thought that there would be that much difference in the view from anywhere else. Throughout Bob s talk we were held spellbound and boy did I have my mind changed. Bob s vivid descriptions of the displays that he s seen the reasons why Fairbanks is one of the best places on Earth to go to see the lights and the magnificent scenery in Summer 2014 Issue 83 Be prepared for some serious cold. Above left is a typical sight of cars plugged into engine block heaters and the thermostat outside of Chena Hot Springs reveals a balmy minus 14 degrees. central Alaska left me with an immediate new entry onto my own personal bucket list. I was hooked Once home I had a short consultation with my wife Sue we made a quick dip into our bank account for the deposit and we were in. Yay The long months between July and the following March were spent learning about and planning for the conditions we would likely face as well as the best ways to maximize picture taking. Late February is getting towards the end of winter but in central Alaska we could easily face temperatures of well below zero F sometimes even as low as -30F or even - 40F Camera batteries drain much more quickly in cold like this remote cables and even the actions of the cameras themselves could be an issue with such extreme weather. Especially since Northern Lights imaging is done at night when it s coldest. For anyone contemplating a trip like this I learned a few fundamental things that I ll share Bring the most layers of warm clothing that you can pack and bring some hand and toe warmers too. If you want to try your hand at Northern Lights picture taking get a sturdy tripod for your camera and TEST IT AND ALL OF YOUR OTHER EQUIPMENT OUT AT HOME IN THE DAYLIGHT FIRST Bring some spare camera batteries. Bring some red lights so that you aren t fumbling around in the dark. Do your homework and really think about the right camera and lens combinations to bring. Check out the websites on line that offer camera and lens rentals. I was able to rent a highly recommended 1300 24mm f 1.4 lens for my Canon camera for a week at a fraction of what buying the lens would have cost. This is the most important thing I learned Take time to just watch the Aurora. Don t get so focused on your picture taking that you miss the subtle and ever changing display. Like any great bucket list item getting to Fairbanks was not an easy or short trip. Leaving from Hartford Ct our journey required a stop and plane change in Minneapolis a stop and plane change in Seattle and a total of about 13 hours of travel time. Finally after many weary hours of travel we were greeted by the lights of Fairbanks appearing off in the distance. Best of all...while turning into the airport we saw our first portent of wonderful things to come. A vast intensely green arc of Aurora was easily visible from the window of the plane shimmering and glowing even above the annoying lights of the plane s cabin. I shot a couple of 1 second pictures with my camera up against the plane s window and lost all sense of fatigue in excited Below left Typical street in downtown Fairbanks and Right - The Aurorium Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 39 Chena Hots Springs Surrounded by steam at left and the warm pool is a local hot spot anticipation of our arrival in this far off exotic place. After landing at Fairbanks small airport I still remember the feeling as I exited the doors to experience the outside for the first time and being assaulted with the intensely cold chill of interior Alaska s winter air. It took our breath away and at the same time was invigorating. I looked up to my right and there was the dancing shimmering light of a still active Aurora over the edge of the terminal building. We had truly arrived Fairbanks is a modest sized city of about 32 000 people located a bit less than 200 miles south of the Arctic circle. While exploring the city over the next couple of days we found some really great restaurants friendly people and a very outdoorsy culture. Most of the parking lots had rows of plug in outlets because cars need engine block heaters to keep from freezing and all of the streets had a packed down layer of ice because a combination of bitter cold and lack of salt and sand make them hard to clear. Snowmobiles (or snow machines as they call them in Alaska) and dog sledding are not only vital modes of transportation once you get a few miles out of downtown but are also integral parts of winter sports for many people in the area. One really interesting fact that we learned about Fairbanks is that many of the inhabitants outside of the city do not have running water. With the permafrost in the ground it s really hard to run water lines and very expensive too so many people truck in the water they need and lots of them belong to 40 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Sue and I in our dog sled and the line of sleds ready to go from the dog sled kennel health clubs where they can take advantage of the showers. Thankfully we stayed in the places that did have running water After a couple of days settling into the Westmark Hotel in downtown Fairbanks we met the other 38 members of our tour group as well as our hosts Bob Berman and his daughter Anjali Bermain. I need to give a shout out to Anjali. She was the person who arranged all of the buses great destinations meals and more making this a wonderful group excursion. Throughout the course of our trip Sue and I were treated to some great lectures by Bob a visit to the Alaska Oil Pipeline local museums bus trips out of town to view the Northern Lights and what I thought was the high point of our trip a two night stay at Chena Hot Springs. It was at the hot springs that we not only saw the most magnificent scenery but also experienced the most incredible vivid Northern Lights displays of the entire trip. Chena Hot Springs is a very unique resort nestled in amongst mountains about an hour and a half outside of Fairbanks at the end of a scenic dead end road. If you are lucky you just might see a moose out in the wild on your way there I did When you arrive at the hot springs the first thing you notice is the steam all around and a slight sulphur smell from the hot water bubbling up from underground. The resort has great accommodations a truly excellent restaurant and is almost totally self-sufficient. Chena Hot Springs generates all of the hot water used most of its electricity and a lot of it s produce in greenhouses on site thanks to the geothermal energy of the hot springs. During Northern light seasons Chena Hot Springs is strongly geared towards Northern Lights tourism. There is a cabin called an Aurorium on a nearby hill where you can watch Northern lights in heated indoor comfort overlooking the mountains instead of being outdoors braving the cold if you want. There is also a system wherein if the Northern Lights start up you get a call in your room to wake you. The call unfortunately does not differentiate between good displays and truly awesome ones and calls will only happen once a night. So... unless you are prepared to stay up for most of the night you could be awakened go out get some nice photos of decent Aurora figure it s over go to bed and get up the next morning only to be told that the best display erupted not long after you went back to asleep. Yes this happened to me the first night so beware Our second day at Chena Hot Springs we visited the dog sled kennels and took a fun two mile long ride in a dog sled. Later on after a tour of the greenhouses we had a memorable snow cat ride to the top of a local mountain called Charlie dome for sunset. Each Just a couple of the spectacular entries in the ice carving contest that were on display Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 41 The Snow Cats offer safe and comfortable transport up to the top of Charlie s Dome of our four snow cat vehicles was tracked like a tank and pulled a tracked cabin holding 10 people each behind. It was about a 30 minute trip to the top and was noisy and bone rattling. It was worth the noise and claustrophobia. When we got to the top we were greeted by clear deep blue skies tinged with the vibrant yellows reds and purples of sunset. All around were snow covered peaks reflecting the colors and gradually changing from light purple to deeper shades until darkness started to overtake us. That evening our tour group enjoyed a sumptuous group dinner together and then it was out to the airstrip at the resort that faced north in the hopes that the Northern Lights would start up. The airstrip area is THE place to view the Northern Lights at the hot springs and is surrounded by moderate sized mountains making for truly impressive photographic backgrounds. Despite fervent wishing and hoping there was zero aurora activity until I went to bed about 10pm that night. I wasn t ready to throw in the towel yet though and set my alarm to get up at around 12 15 to 12 30. Northern Lights are often best seen after the midnight hour anyway so I was very hopeful. I awoke about 12 15am and suited up with long underwear flannel lined pants a flannel shirt a sweater 30 degree below zero socks snowmobile 42 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 43 boots wool mittens with hand warmers a very heavy down jacket and a mad bomber hat. Finally after all the preparation I exited our room camera in hand to be greeted by deep inky black skies loaded with stars a temperature of -14F and the brightest most vivid almost alive Northern Lights display that I had ever seen Stretching overhead in a broad arc from one side of the sky to the other there were massive glowing curtains rippling as though in a breeze bright rays shooting up higher and higher dying back and starting again and a bright coronal arc directly overhead. The lights shone with an intense inner green like a huge unconstrained neon lamp and were tinged with distinct red tones in many sections. Lots of people were out despite the bitter cold oohing and aahing all throughout the compound adding to the excitement. Images that would have taken 15 to 20 seconds normally could now capture tremendous detail in just a second or two such was the brightness of what we were seeing. Add to this the background of snow which coated every- thing reflecting the greenish glow of the lights all around and the effect was magical and unforgettable. After about a half hour or so of very intense display the lights started to die down to a lower level steady glow and around 1 30 am some clouds started to roll in. I lasted until about 2 30am hoping for a repeat but it was not to be. My hand warmers started to give out my second camera battery started to die and it was time to retire back to my room for what was left of the night Regretfully the next morning it was time to leave the hot springs and return to Fairbanks for our last couple of days. The last two days or our Alaskan adventure were cloudy but even so we had a great time exploring more of Fairbanks. We also had a great group bus trip to the Fairbanks International Ice Carving Contest. The Ice Carving contest is a yearly event that brings in expert ice carvers from all over the world to compete. There were single ice block carvings and multi block carvings all over a large fairgrounds area each displaying incredible imagi- nation and skill. The carvings were very intricate and highly detailed transforming into an even more beautiful sight at night when they were lit with multi colored lights. Our last morning in Alaska dawned clear and sunny which was good for flying but sad for someone like me hoping to see even more of the Northern Lights since we had to leave before dark. Winging our way home to the lower 48 out of Fairbanks gave us crystal clear views of the ground below. The far off mountain peaks surrounding us picked up the late day sunset colors. It was a very fitting way to embed a few last memories of our trip North To The Future. Now that I ve taken this trip I ve thought about crossing the Northern Lights from Alaska off my bucket list but....for right now I m leaving it on in the hopes that I just might repeat it again. It was that much fun 44 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 2014 NEAIC & NEAF - Astronomical Conferences T by Charlie Warren & Julia Mariani his pair of conferences occur back to back each Spring in Suffern NY and represent two of the best in class. They are organized by the Rockland Astronomy Club and over the years have grown to become exceptional events where attendees can view displays of the latest offerings from a large assortment of astronomical vendors and attend premier presentations by a wide range of well regarded speakers. Each event runs two days with NEAIC kicking things off Thursday and Friday and NEAF continuing the action Saturday and Sunday. Bob Moore is the primary organizer for NEAIC and does a terrific job lining up talent covering a wide spectrum from the science and imaging fields. Whether you choose to enhance your capture and processing skills learn more about using imaging software and hardware or get updated on the latest scientific imaging you can find it all within the three educational tracks offered at NEAIC. This year presenters were Gordon Hayes Delores Hill Richard Jakiel Jay Ballauer Jerry Lodriguss Gaston Baudat John Davis Caroline Moore Dave Snay Ted Blank Ken Crawford Dr. Benjamin Mazin Jerry Hubble Plenty of scopes of various sizes and designs new and classic fill the exhibition hall at NEAF. David Ho adds some scale to the beast above. Jason Ware Doug George Dan Llewellyn Jim Moronski JP Metsavainio Preston Starr and Martin Pugh. Most of you who are involved with imaging will know most if not all of these names. They represent some of the best in each area of imaging science and Pro Am collaboration. Topics were varied spanning topics like using the Hubble palette oSIRISRex Mission imaging and lunar geol- ogy DSLR imaging imaging esthetics hands on workshops occultation timing beginning and advanced processing UV and near IR imaging - and that is not a complete list. Regardless of the level of expertise or area of interest attendees were able to get an overwhelming amount of quality content and direct interaction with the speakers as well as lots of interaction with other imagers which is the secondary value of attending this type of conference. The only complaints I heard were that some attendees felt their heads would explode from all the information they received. After being completely immersed in the imaging world for two days the venue shifts to the second conference which is set up in the nearby auditorium at Rockland Community College. The vendor displays are ample reason to attend with over 130 exhibitors representing every aspect of our hobby. NEAF also hosts an amazing spectrum of presentations. Topics range from basic instruction on how to use telescopes to more advanced observing techniques to the latest in astronomical and space science Pro Am collaboration deep space solar and lunar observing. Once again the venue pro- Steve Bisque and daughter Sarah man their vender booth at NEAIC Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 45 ally experience the challenge of finding other enthusiasts to converse with about their interest. On April 12th and 13th astronomers from across the country gathered at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) at the Rockland Community College in Suffern NY. The sponsor of this event The Rockland Astronomy Club held one of their first meetings in 1969. What started out as a small gathering eventually turned into the amazing event the club currently hosts. The forum allows astronomers to be present in one place and create friendships stemming from a mutual passion for astronomy. The NEAF is one of the most popular annual astronomy gatherings in the Northeast and for a good reason There were many fantastic lectures given by highly accredited speakers on a variety of topics. Dr. Matthew Greenhouse from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center was one of the fabulous keynote presenters explaining the complex process of engineering the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which is reported to launch sometime in 20182019. The mission is a collaboration between the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The intended function of the telescope ranges from tracking down the first light of the Big Bang to contributing in the hunt for exo-planets. The sheer size of the spacecraft created challenges for engineers. The telescope is larger than the ship launching it into space This obstacle is overcome by designing the telescope to fold up so it fits into the shuttle and then slowly unfolds in space. More in depth information about the JWST is available on their official website www.jwst.nasa.gov and live-streaming to watch the spacecraft being built at www.jwst.nasa.gov webcam.html Additionally Dr. Monica Young from Sky and Telescope Magazine gave a great lecture regarding the complex properties of black holes and quasars. She used an amusing analogy of a man being stretched to explain the repercusSummer 2014 Issue 83 Each year this quartet including Craig from OPT and Vic form Stellarvue some up with some these to provide theater and comic relief. Great costumes this year guys vides very wide spread content that would appeal to just about anyone interested in our hobby. This years presenters included Dr. Bernie Sololowski Monica Young Rick Fienburg Garik Israelian Neil deGrasse Tyson (via video conference) Alan Stern Davi Eicher Stephen Ramsden Joe Rao Samantha Thompson Ted Blank Delores Hil and Matt Greenhouse. And if that is not enough outside the hall on Saturday there is a solar star party with some very sophisticated solar telescopes set up so that attendees can view our nearest star in several different bandwidths. The show is well attended each year so the only draw back for me as a vendor is that I am tied down to my booth and have little time to attend the plethora of excellent presentations and far too little time to view through some of the wonderful solar telescopes outside in the quadrangle. The positive side of this is that I get to spend some time with a large number of our subscribers and catch up with friends from all around the world who attend or have booths. This year I finally got to meet one long time subscriber from Japan and several others from Germany. Actually this is part of 46 www.AmateurAstronomy.com NEAF s original purpose which is to provide a venue for amateur astronomers to get together to network and share information with each other. Apart from the many old friends I met many new ones as well. It is one of our best events for enrolling new subscribers each year but also a great opportunity to meet potential content contributors and other fascinating individuals who share my passion for astronomy. .Among my new acquaintances were the Marianis and their 15-year old daughter (Julia) who hosts a web site for teens interested in astronomy. Julia is one of a growing number of young women I have met recently who will restore hope for those who lament that our hobby is lacking diversity in terms of youth and female participants. Julia is not only passionate about astronomy but also bright and articulate so I thought it would be interesting to get her take on the NEAF conference. What follows is Julia s perspective on the conference. Be sure to check out Julia s blog and web-site at www.astronoteen.com Astronomers Telescopes And Lectures Oh My By Julia Mariani Dedicated astronomers may occasion- teenagers like myself. Dr. Tyson was very friendly and funny. It was truly a memorable experience Besides listening to educational talks there were countless booths set-up to advertise astronomy merchandise mainly telescopes and publications. I met editor Charlie Warren who was tending the booth for Amateur Astronomy Magazine. Venders were lively with conversation and everyone was having a jovial time. There was even a ride to simulate space training and many people looked more than queasy after being spun in every direction possible. Another fun attraction at the NEAF was the immense amount of solar telescopes stationed directly outside the convention center. It was truly beautiful to view the sun safely through special solar telescopes. Seen with the upmost clarity were sunspots and even some solar flares So if anyone is looking for a fabulous event to share and learn about all aspects of astronomy mark your calendars for next year s forum in April. Julia Mariani on stage asking Neil deGrassi Tyson a question at NEAF sions of entering the event horizon in a black hole. One of the highly anticipated events was a live video call in the main auditorium with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson world renown astrophysicist writer and host of the new television series Cosmos A Spacetime Odyssey. Since the maximum auditorium capacity The day that I sent the file for this issue off to the printer I received some very sad news. My friend and editorial contributor Barlow Bob (Robert Godfrey) had passed away. Bob was an ardent evangelist for solar astronomy and spectrometry and a main stay of NEAF and the NEAF solar star party. The image at right was taken this year at the NEAIC conference the day before the NEAF solar star party. From left to right Stephen Ramsden (another solar outreach titan) Charlie Warren and Barlow Bob. Phil Harrington referred to Barlow Bob as the Johnny Appleseed of astronomy. He introduced large numbers of people to the hobby and the science behind it. Bob was also a good friend of this magazine. He not only contributed articles but was a tireless promoter of it and also referred many interesting people my way who have also contributed articles that we have run. Summer 2014 Issue 83 reached quickly only several hundred people witnessed this call. Fortunately I was one of the last admitted. The format of the video call was a Q & A session. The stars truly aligned when I was presented with the opportunity to speak with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Only a handful of attendees spoke with Dr. Tyson most were I can t remember ever seeing Bob with out a smile on his face. He always welcomed eveyone with enthusiasm and made them feel at home. He was a kind and gracious human being who was liked and well respected by all. I am not alone in saying that he will be truly missed. The field of ama teur astronomy lost a valuable asset and true friend. www.AmateurAstronomy.com 47 Amateur Spectroscopy By Stephen Spears Introduction & History Amateur spectroscopy first came to my attention when I heard Tom Field being interviewed by Dennis de Cicco of Sky & Telescope . He was explaining how a growing number of amateur astronomers were becoming interested in low resolution spectroscopy using inexpensive gratings with DSLRs webcams and CCD cameras. Tom showed how with a simple grating a star s spectral image could be transformed into a calibrated graph showing its chemical fingerprints in terms of emission and absorption lines. In October 2011 I purchased a 100 line mm low resolution spectral grating called the Star Analyser and the software to analyze a star s spectrum in terms of the elements present in its outer atmosphere. The software was called RSpec and was written by Tom Field. The price of the spectral grating was 179 and the rights to the software cost 99. Living in Northern Ohio only 5 miles from Lake Eire the weather in the winter is mostly cloudy and the humidity in the summer makes astrophotography a challenge. The idea of amateur spectroscopy was very attractive to me because of the low initial investment and the need for less than perfect skies. Also I already had a CCD camera the original Meade DSI Color imager. Spectroscopy seemed to me an exciting and challenging invitation for amateur astronomers to do real and meaningful science. Spectroscopy had its beginnings with Isaac Newton (1642-1727) when he took a prism and passed light through it and recorded that it was separated into the various colors of the rainbow. In 1814 Joseph Fraunhofer turned a homemade prism on the Sun and observed over 500 dark lines. He then determined the relative positions of the wavelengths and labeled the most prominent with the letters A through K. In the mid-nineteenth century Gustav Kirchhhoff came up with three laws which stated that spectra come in three types a continuous band caused by an incandescent solid or gas under high pressure where the colors seem to overlap an absorption spectrum produced by most stars and results from a cool low dense gas located between the source and the observer that causes a pattern of dark lines against the continuum and an emission spectrum of bright lines produced by an incandescent gas under low pressure. At the time Kirchhoff did not know the physics of how these three spectra were produced. This had to wait until early in the next century. The mystery of the emission and absorption lines was solved by Niels Bohr one of the founding fathers of spectral and quantum theory. He explained what caused the absorp48 www.AmateurAstronomy.com tion and emission lines. Bohr postulated that the absorption lines were caused by electrons in a quantum orbit jumping to a higher quantum state or energy level and in the process absorbing photons which produce dark lines. Emission lines were caused by electrons dropping down an energy state and emitting photons. For example the energy necessary for an electron to jump from the second quantum state to the third quantum state has to be exactly 1.89 eV (electron volts) which is the exactly the energy difference between the two quantum levels. This jump requires the absorption of a photon and produces an absorption line at 6562 called hydrogen alpha. The modern spectral classification was developed by the Pickering women who were hired by Harvard University observatory director Edward Pickering to complete the Henry Draper Catalog. One of the most famous of those women was Annie Jump Cannon. She and her compatriots created the Harvard Classification system which attempted to classify stars based on temperature. These classes were named by the letters O B A F G K and M. The O stars being the hottest and the M stars the coolest. In the 1940 s this classification system was refined by Morgan Keenan and Kellman into one currently used by most amateurs and professionals. It is much more descriptive in terms of the actual characteristics of most stars. MKK Classes Class O Ionized Helium silicon nitrogen etc. ( Bellatrix) Class B Neutral Helium stronger Hydrogen lines (Spica) Class A Strong hydrogen lines ionized Ca and neutral metal lines. (Vega) Class F Weaker hydrogen lines and ionized metals strong metal lines. (Canopus) Class G Hydrogen lines very weak strong ionized Ca lines and stronger neutral lines metal lines.(Sun) Class K Molecular bands for example TiO and VO appear neutral metal lines. (Arcturus) Class M strong molecular bands strong Ca lines.( Beteleguse) Class W Wolf-Rayet Nitrogen III-V Helium I-II. These stars are thought to be dying supergiants undergoing a loss of their hydrogen layers due to stellar winds. Class C Carbon stars- some are dwarfs or main sequence stars most are thought to be giants and supergiants. Each class is then divided into 10 parts with a few exceptions and within each class the stars are separated into luminosity levels. They are as follows 0 Extremely bright supergiants Summer 2014 Issue 83 Fig. 1 On the left side one can see the first order spectra. Since the grating was screwed into the end of the diagonal the dispersion is so great that the zero order or star was lost. After much experimenting with the distance from the grating to the chip I found that this set up gives the best resolution. It does however introduce problems when processing which will be addressed later. Notice the deep absorption lines they are the depressions pointing downward on the graph profile. The scale is now in pixels and will have to be calibrated into angstroms (10 -10 meters) Ia Bright supergiants Ib Supergiants II Bright giants III Normal giants IV sub giants V Main sequence VI Subdwarfs VII white dwarf Using the above classifications Vega an A0V star is a very early class A star that is located on the main sequence. the resolution is not the same as a monochrome camera. My set up consists of an 8 Meade lx200GPS with the Star Analyser screwed into the end of a 1.25 dielectric star diagonal. In addition I use a 6.3 focal reducer which reduces the star s size and gives the spectrum a greater dispersion that is a longer length which in turn enhances the absorption lines of most stars. The Star Analyzer when attached to the capture program shows the star in question called the zero order and its horizontal spectrum called the first order spectrum. See figure 1 above for the zero and first order spectrum of Vega cropped using Registax 6. If one looks carefully in the above picture the dark absorption lines for the hydrogen series can be seen. The exposure time for a bright star like Vega is on the order of 0.375 seconds. I usually take something like 20 frames sometimes aligning and stacking them in Registax 6 or often I go through each frame individually trying to get the best image. It is actually better not to stack the images for fear of introducing spurious artifacts. The computer screen as shown in figure 1 shows the raw image of Vega before calibration. On the right side of figure 1 the author has opened a window displaying some common elements for different classwww.AmateurAstronomy.com 49 Capture and Calibration Procedures As mentioned above I use a slitless low resolution blazed spectral grating called the Star Analyser to capture stellar spectra. As a point of information a blazed grating has the lines tilted from perpendicular to increase the brightness of the spectrum. The Star Analyser can be mounted in a standard 1.25 threaded cell such as the nosepiece of a webcam video camera DSLR or CCD cameras. I use a Meade DSI color CCD which is a 16 bit camera using a chip with an 8.3 m x 8.6 m pixel size. A color camera does not give the same quality of resolution that a monochrome camera does due to a colored filter array called the Bayer filter. Although the Meade software capture program Envisage lets me change the color capture to monochrome Summer 2014 Issue 83 Fig.2 To calibrate the graph in angstroms it is necessary to find the pixel value for any two of the absorption depressions. This is done by putting the cursor on the lowest point of one of the absorption lines. The software will then display the pixel value which the observer then puts into the top box in the table on the left. In this case that pixel value is 266. The zero order is not checked because it wasn t used. Next the value in angstroms has to be determined. With a little practice one can get familiar with the spectral profile of bright Class A stars such as Vega or Castor. The hydrogen series of absorption lines H H and H is quite easy to see and one quickly becomes familiar with their respective positions on the graph. An absorption line at the pixel value 266 is H which has a wavelength of 4340 . This value is placed in the box below the pixel value. In order to complete a linear calibration of the spectrum a second set of values is needed. The absorption depression on the right which falls in the position of H was chosen. A pixel value of 655 was determined by the software and entered into the third box from the top along with its wavelength of 6562 (bottom). When all four boxes have been filled in simply press apply and that calibrates all absorption lines for the entire graph in angstroms. It also establishes the angstrom to pixel ratio which in this case is 5.569. From this ratio one can determine the resolution of spectral profile by doubling 5.569. For the profile in figure 1 the resolution is approximately 12 angstroms. es of stars. The blue vertical lines show the relative positions of the hydrogen or Balmer series. Their positions in terms of wavelengths are similar for all Class A Stars. Every observing session should begin by taking the spectrum of a bright Class A star to determine the angstrom to pixel ratio for the optical set up to be used for the night. Once that has been determined one can use the angstrom to pixel ratio found to calibrate all spectra taken that night. RSpec software has a one point calibration feature which allows the user to calibrate any star if the A P ratio and one additional absorption line is known. This type of calibration becomes easier as one gets more familiar with the spectral profiles of the different classes of stars. In addition the built- in professional spectra library of RSpec helps to make the classification of unknown stars possible. After calibrating the first order spectrum in angstroms the next step is to calibrate the profile for your camera. The process is called Instrument Calibration Response. This is accomplished by using a professional spectrum. The Pickels Professional 50 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Library Spectrum is included in the RSpec library. The picture below shows the final result. My spectrum (red) is compared to the Pickels Spectrum (blue). Notice how the hydrogen series from 4101 hydrogen delta to 6562 hydrogen alpha line up very well. This tells me that I have a spectrum of an AOV class star- that is an early Class A main sequence star. . It has been shown in this article how a low resolution spectral grating and a small telescope can take a first order spectrum and with the appropriate software and translate that spectrum into a graph. The Y-axis of the graph displays the relative flux or number of photoelectrons captured and the X- axis displays the wavelengths of light in terms of angstroms. From this one can determine which elements molecules or molecular bands are present in a star s atmosphere as well the relative strength of each. Spectral Characteristics of Unusual Stars Class B stars contain a variety of very unusual members. Summer 2014 Issue 83 Fig. 3 The author s Instrument Response Calibrated spectrum profile of Vega in red compared to the professional spectrum in blue. P-Cygni is a hypergiant luminous blue variable of the SDoratus type. Its spectral type is B1Ia. The life expectancy of such a star is only a few million years. P-Cygni has a gaseous envelope that is expanding away from the star. Its profile shows a H emission line which is red shifted to the right with a less intense absorption line shifted left towards the blue end of the spectrum as shown below. P-Cygni belongs to a class of stars called Be or Class B emission stars. These stars are very hot with surface temperatures of 30 000 K and a luminosity of a million times the Sun. They have a spectrum of a B class star except that it has or has had in the past emission lines at one or more of the hydrogen absorption lines. The author has become interested in monitoring the spectrum of Gamma Cassiopeia (Figure 4 below) which is the middle star in the constellation Cassiopeia. It also displays an expanding envelope similar to that formed from ejected material like P-Cygni. At the present time H (4861 ) and H (6562 ) are exhibiting emission lines Figure 4 shows a spectrum of Gamma Cass taken November 3 2013. There are many Be stars to investigate in the range of my equipment. On August 14 2013 in the constellation Delphinus a nova was observed by amateur astronomer Koichi Itagaki and according to the AAVSO peaked at magnitude 4.3 on August 16. Beginning August 19 and continuing through October 13 I imaged its spectrum eight times. By August 19 my first night out the nova had fallen to magnitude 5.2. Figure 4 Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 51 Figure 5 with a surface temperature of approximate 3 400 K. Betelgeuse is at the end of its life cycle and is expected to go supernova sometime in the next million years or so. Notice that in its outer atmosphere the spectrum shows molecular bands specially titanium oxide and Vanadium oxide. Also at 6862 terrestrial oxygen is found this occurs when oxygen from the Earth s atmosphere is reflected back into the spectroscope. Conclusion Notice the strong emission lines at H (6562 ) H (4861 ) H (4340 ) and H(4101 ). The image in figure 5 was taken 5 days after the initial explosion. The magnitude had dimmed but the nova was still approximately 49 600 times brighter than before its outburst. The hydrogen emission lines remained strong over the 10 days it was monitored. To get this profile the raw spectrum was calibrated using the H and H locations on the CCD pixels and adjusted for the instrument response of the author s camera. So far the spectra that have been discussed have very visible hydrogen absorption or emission lines. This makes determining and verifying its class fairly easy. One locates the prominent hydrogen series lines and calibrates the spectrum as has been explained. Red stars such as M2Iab class Belgeuse are cool bright supergiants and are more difficult to cali- brate. There are no prominent hydrogen lines. One must first calibrate a class A star like Vega or Castor during the winter and use the angstrom to pixel ratio found to calibrate the M2 star. Below is the instrument calibrated spectrum of Betelgeuse with an A P ratio of 5.570. This was determined calibrating Vega along with finding the A P ratio of the optical system and then using Richard Walker s Spectroscopic Atlas for Amateur Astronomers to make an educated guess where the absorption line of Na was found in pixels. By using those two pieces of information I applied RSpec s one point calibration and the other absorptions lines fell into their relative positions. This was then checked using the Pickels professional reference spectrum also shown below. As mentioned Betelgeuse is a red giant and also variable star with a magnitude ranging between 0.2 and 1.2.It lies about 640 light years from Earth. The star is less than 10 million years old From monitoring novae to determining the red shift of quasar 3C273 spectroscopy can open up a new and exciting world of astrophysics. For a very modest investment in equipment amateurs can enter what was exclusively the domain of profession astronomers in a very meaningful way. Instead of simply photographing a comet or novae one can determine what is going on in its interior. This can be done by taking a first order spectrum and processing it into a graph which shows the relative intensity of an element s fingerprint thus giving one a snap shot of the chemistry and physics of the object under investigation. Collecting this data over time becomes an important scientific activity. There are currently a number of amateurs involved in collaborations with professional astronomers in collecting and analyzing spectra of various objects. The following are a few such projects the Epsilon Aurigae Campaign the Be campaign the Wolf- On the left the H emission line is strong and redshifted (in red). The blue indicates a less intense bliueshifted absorption line (in blue). On the right the author s spectrum of P-Cygni August 20 2013 looking at the H region one can see a similar signature. 52 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Fig. 6 (Top) My spectrum (red) of Betelgeuse compared to a professional Pickles reference spectrum (blue lighter line here). Fig. 7 (Below) Betelgeuse instrument calibrated and labeled Rayet Project the delta Scorpii Campaign and the Orion Project that I am currently part of. You also might consider becoming a contributor to one of them. References J.B Kaler. Stars and Their Spectra (Cambridge University Press 1989) K. M. Harrison. Grating Spectroscopes and How to Use them (Springer 2012) J. Hopkins. Small Telescope Astronomical Spectroscopy (Hopkins Phoenix Observatory 2012) K. Robinson. Spectroscopy The Key to the Stars (Springer 2007) http www.RSpec-astro.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 53 Stellarvue SVQ 100 Review by Jon Talbot Stellarvue s SVQ100 Four element refractor is truly a plug and play telescope offering excellent correction over a large field of view along with fast optics without the need for a field flattener I recently had the opportunity to review the newly released Stellarvue SVQ100 Stellarvue s 4 f5.8 four element corrected astrograph refractor. The SVQ100 was announced at NEAF 2013 as a fully corrected imaging astrograph that can accept full frame CCDs without the need of other corrective optics. black felt flocking can be seen on all surfaces which eliminates any stray light reflections within the optical tube. The tube has a very appealing baked enamel finish. SCOPE SETUP After mounting the scope on my MI 250 I attached the STL 11K camera using a 3 feather touch adapter and large 80mm extension tubes. The camera threaded to the extension tubes via an adapter machined by Stellarvue. The extension tubes threaded to the focuser adapter and the entire imaging train threaded to the focuser. This provides an extremely rigid connection without any flex or sagging. In my opinion this is the only way to connect a camera to a scope especially a large camera like the STL 11K. The camera could be rotated to any position since the Feather Touch is a rotating focuser. One could also use an automated rotator which are available. I wanted to find the right back focus to allow the focuser to reach focus at a point about way extended through its 50mm range. This required the appropriate adapters to provide 110mm from drawtube to camera chip. Once the camera was connected the next thing was to balance the mount. The STL 11K is heavy and the scope short Summer 2014 Issue 83 I tested the telescope with two CCD cameras a SBIG STL 11K full frame camera and a QSI 583 WSG camera. The scope provided fully corrected images across the entire field of view of each camera. The scope arrived in a very nice padded carrying case that was much smaller than I expected. The case measuring 23 1 2 X 15 X 10 looks extremely well made with the Stellarvue LOGO on the side. The telescope s sliding dew shield allows it to shrink down to a mere 18 long which should allow this scope to be easily carried on some airlines. Some airlines restrict carry-ons to 45 total dimension. Others are 50 . The case measures 49 L W H. FIT AND FINISH The SVQ100 was fitted with an extremely robust 3 Feather Touch focuser which offers a multitude of camera connection options. Looking down the dew shield into the tube 54 www.AmateurAstronomy.com The SVQ100 is a unique four-element telescope designed for full frame imaging. It is made on a very short optical tube assembly well within airline carry-on size limits so you can safely take it anywhere you go. Field is absolutely flat and color correction is virtually reflector like thanks to an advanced optical system using Ohara FPL53 optical glass. At f5.8 the SVQ100 offers a field of view of 3.5deg x 2.5deg using the STL 11K at a pixel resolution of 3.2 arcsec pixel viewing. Some of the things I looked for are field flatness vignetting and correction of the image plane. To evaluate vignetting I took flats using my LED panel. Vignetting is usually caused by restrictions in the optical design and adapters used to connect the camera to the scope. The test flats taken with the full frame STL 11K were analyzed using CCD Inspector and showed extremely minimal light loss of only a few percent in the extreme corners. This is an excellent result since the chip in the STL 11K is 43mm in diameter. Another test done using CCD Inspector was to evaluate the correction or field curvature of the optics. Using an image of a star field taken through the scope and STL combination I got results ranging from 8-12% with the average of around 10%. Stars were nice and round from edge to edge. Using the QSI camera field curvature was measured at 6% The next image to the right shows the FWHM as it changes Left Impressive flat field test results. Below Padded case and the SVQ mounted and ready for a night of imaging with the STL-11K Camera so unless one uses a long dove tail plate which allows the scope to be moved forward on the mount one needs to find some other way to balance in declination. I ended up using about 3lbs of weight connected to the front end of the dovetail plate. Now nicely balanced it was time to shoot some test images. IMAGING PERFORMANCE The SVQ100 is designed as an imaging astrograph meaning it s optimized for imaging and not necessarily visual Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 55 across the 36.1X24.1 mm STL 11K chip. The center of the chart is chip center and the FWHM analysis moves outward to 100% of the width in either direction. The FWHM is measured at 1.41 pix in the center and 1.59 px in the corners which is a change of .2 pix (10%) that I cannot easily see looking at the test images. Lastly the proof is in the images. Looking at an actual test image and focusing in on one of the corners you can see how corrected the stars are out 40-43mm from chip center. The image to the left is a crop of the upper left corner of the image frame. The stars are perfectly round and corrected. Testing showed that the optics of the SVQ do indeed correct a full frame imaging chip. Just plug in the camera and go Check our Vic Mahris covering the scopes specifics at NEAF on our YouTube channel (AstroFX) or through the Supplemental Material link at www.amateurastronomy.com. 56 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Jon took this image of the Iris nebula (NGC 7023) at the Texas Star Party with the SVQ 100 and SBIG 11000 CCD Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 57 Sky-Watcher All View Mount Review by Charlie Warren like things simple. There are enough necessarily complex things in my life so whenever possible I prefer easy. The All View mount from Sky Watcher is an Alt Az mount that is simplicity itself. Initial assembly was merely a matter of connecting the head to the tripod legs with three hand bolts and washers the mount assembly arm was three parts (dovetail bar guiding rail and landscape mounting plate) and a matter of three more knurled bolts. I set aside the Portrait mounting plate initially and. I inserted 10 AA batteries plugged in the hand controller and turned it on. The menu system was very intuitive and bore many similarities to other mounts I have used particularly my C-11. What makes this mount a bit different from other ultra-light mounts is revealed with the first branch of the setup menu where it offers panorama or astronomical mode . I attached my camera to the bracket with a single standard 20 threaded knurled bolt and decided I would test just how intuitive the menu system was by NOT reading the instructions. To be honest I always fiddle with new things without reading the instructions. I know it is some genetic shortcoming but I have come to live with it. Since it was daylight I wanted to put it through its paces in panorama mode. I connected my Canon 5D Mk II to the mount with the included shutter release cable and dove into the menu. The first option was Easy Pano mode . I am not a glutton for punishment so this sounded like a perfect fit. Next step was setting the Camera FOV. I have an app on my iPad that does this for all my camera and lens combinations but I wanted to see how the mount would calculate it so I did not choose the easier Already Know option. The mount walked me through orienting the camera view to the top bottom left and right with horizon and center respectively. At the conclusion of this exercise the mount displayed my FOV which was remarkably close considering I did not exercise excessive care in the alignments above. The mount 58 www.AmateurAstronomy.com I then prompted me to select a Home position which would be the central point of the panorama that I wished to create. Then it queried my picture range (in degrees). The mount is capable of doing a complete 360 degree panorama think star party observing field or all sky image very cool . There are two ways to set the directional limits. The easiest (to me) is by moving the mount to the positions but you can also enter it in terms of degrees from the center (Home) point. All of this only took a couple of minutes and I was just following the hand controller prompts. The last part was to enter the number of seconds between shots. I hit enter at the prompt for Auto Shooting which has the mount trigger the camera shutter. I had the camera settings already adjusted so all I needed was the trigger for the camera settings so I selected .1 seconds. That done I started the sequence and the mount began its dance through the selected range. An interesting option is offered at the conclusion which is to repeat or to repeat in reverse order essentially backSummer 2014 Issue 83 ing through the positions which could be interesting for some time lapse style sequences. Having satisfactorily worked my way through the panoramic function I wanted to try the time lapse function which is one of my hot buttons. I have a dolly slider that will move along a rail as it pauses and snaps images and the Losmandy star lapse will rotate but not stop and trigger sequences so I wanted to test how easy this function would be. If you shoot time lapse adding motion either panning or with a dolly slider can really take your creations to the next level and give them a cinematic feel. I am happy to report that the time lapse mode was much simpler than even the Easy Pano mode which I managed to navigate without even cracking open the manual yeah This mode is simplicity itself. The mount prompts you to move it to the starting point and press enter then the ending point and press enter. These points can be virtually anywhere not necessarily in a linear orientation. The next prompts are for the amount of time between each exposure (up to 59 59 59) the exposure time (trigger for camera shutter) and lastly the number of exposures which can be up to 65 535 for those with a really massive memory card. That is it Press 1 if you are ready to start shooting or 2 for No. I entered 1 and away it went through the shooting sequence that I set up. Very easy I went back to explore the menu and found an option under the Pano menu for Video Coursing . This is also a very easy setup and follows similar steps to above with a few changes since it will not be triggering the shutter. Instead you program the speed of your slew and the amount of total time but you set the limits in the same way. Press 1 again and away she goes providing a very smooth and quiet video pan that would be impossible to do by hand. Of course this device is also an astronomical mount with 42 000 objects proAbove All View set up for an evening of astronomy time lapse. Left Still from a 300 frame time lapse sequence Opposite page star trail shot using time lapse mode with start and end locations the same. Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 59 grammed in complete Messier NGC IC and SAO catalogues with space for 25 user defined objects. The menu system is almost identical to my C-11 but it would be no problem to walk through if you were completely unfamiliar. I borrowed the neighbors kid who is 10 year old and had her enter all the parameters (date time location) which she did with very minimal prompting from me. I did help with the tracking speed since it defaults to sidereal and we were going to view the sun. The mount offers sidereal lunar and solar tracking modes. The alignment menu offers three options as well Bright (1) Star Daytime and Two star. We selected Daytime and were offered several bright stars and Venus. The stars were not visible but Venus was so that was our huckleberry. We slewed to Venus with an eyeball alignment since I did not think to put on a finder and the solar scope was not much use. I then swung the scope to the Sun centered it in the Sol finder and enjoyed the display our closest star was putting on with several nice prominences. It tracked smoothly. I did have to re-center the sun from time to time but that had to do with my eyeball close enough alignment. On other occasions with the moon visible I chose that and used an optical finder to center. It tracked flawlessly for hours. For night time alignment I tried the 60 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Bright Star which did better than I thought but I prefer the two star align which dropped everything I selected from the menu close to the center of the eyepiece. I left M31 in the eyepiece for several hours while I was busy imaging and setting up time lapse sequences. When I returned it had wandered slightly off center but was still well within the field of view. Pretty impressive for a relatively inexpensive ultra-light mount. I mounted a camera and shot several time lapse sequences. The best way to show you how it performed is by showing you the end result so you can view the video on my Vimeo site (http www.vimeo.com astrofx). I also shot some single exposures and wanted to see how far I could push it with an 85mm lens on my Canon 60Da. I exposed for two minutes but got star trails which is a function of shooting from an Alt Az mount not the mechanics of the mount itself. I actually shot a series of shorter shots that made for an interesting time lapse itself as the stars danced their circuit around the central object being imaged. For clarity an Alt Az mount that is not equipped with a wedge is not the mount of choice for long exposure imaging but this mount did provide a lot of fun and some respectable results by taking shorter exposures. Its performance as a time lapse pano machine was absolutely stellar (pun intended). You can also use the mount as a simple combo mount intervalometer. Simply program the start and end as the same location and you can shoot a star trail image (see above). As far as payload capacity It handled my PST Tak FS60 and short tube 80 with no problems even when loaded with the big Nagler 31mm. My 102mm Stellarvue was probably a bit much for this mount even though the GoTo and tracking accuracy was still good. The tripod legs are steady with good vibration dampening. Overall I give this ultra-light mount very high marks for its affordability and ability to perform a number of tasks proficiently Video coursing shooting panoramas time lapse and astronomical viewing (day and night). The cost places it in a very good value category. I have other photographic equipment that will shoot panos pan video and do motion time lapse but all are several magnitudes more expensive. This little mount is a terrific jack of many trades for a very affordable price ( 399). Check out the imbedded time lapse video shot with the All View mount or thorugh this link https vimeo.com 98498847 Summer 2014 Issue 83 Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 61 AR12049 Sunspot Elegance. Harry Roberts. Magnetism it is that sculpts sunspots obedient to complex laws of polarity the results can be profoundly beautiful. I was thus moved on April 30 exceptional seeing fibrils easily detected at 160 times reads the log. It was a rare morning with resolution near 1000km at the Sun s surface (1 arc-sec ) granularity was seen over the entire disc and the limb it seemed carved from marble At such times it is impossible to sketch what can be seen. 62 www.AmateurAstronomy.com This was the fourth log of AR12094 it had been followed from the eastern limb to a point about 40 east of the Sun s central meridian (CM) over four days rare clear days in unstable late summer weather. With the stopwatch timing chords through the major spots the group was sketched and as much detail as possible sketched (Fig log4. Dates and times UT). The group had grown a bit larger and more complex over the period since first seen on the 27th - when it was just two widely separated penumbral spots. All spots are first sketched in white or integrated light (WL) and details seen in H-alpha are then added (though log3 was WL only). Umbra and penumbra. The darkest part of a spot the coolest is termed the umbra (Latin shade) where the magnetic field is strongest and fields emerge vertically. However around the central fields some emerge almost horizontally and they cause a zone of lesser shade to form termed the penumbra . In this zone we can at times see individual flux ropes radiating from the umbra called fibrils . High-rez imaging shows the fibrils intertwine with each other some even turn back below the solar surface. Summer 2014 Issue 83 found themselves within a single penumbra so despite its very real beauty this big spot group led a quiet life. However it still has a long way to go in crossing the disc and new flux may yet arise unexpectedly in strange configurations who can tell Keep the solar scopes on the Sun beauty abounds and anything can happen Regions 12055 56 Chromospheric Vistas The Sun viewed in white light is exciting enough in H-alpha it can be breathtaking Good seeing and a well baffled scope are needed. Such was the case on May 6th (UT) when white light showed a cluster of spot groups rounding the limb in tight formation a great sight When the switch to Halpha was made the assembly of groups was seen to have a vast prominence towering overhead a remarkable solar vista And there were other H-alpha features to see several active region filaments (ARF) attended the spots a large quiet filament was rounding the limb and blanketing the chromosphere seemed to float on light and small (post flare ) loops were seen emerging from an active spot though no flares were logged. The usual chords and timings were made and Helio freeware duly gave the solar coordinates and dimensions (Mm) of the various features (Fig). Here we ll discuss the Vista in detail though there were several other sites of activity on the disc. It seemed there were three groups in this NE part of Sun s disc AR12055 the largest and 12056 to the south and closer to the limb with a third single spot (AR12057 perhaps) at the same latitude as 2055 just 9 from the limb. One foot-point of the great prominence lay near this latter spot. AR12055. When first noted on the fifth this was a single large penumbral spot without followers they lay just behind the limb at the time next day a complex Beta (bipolar) magnetic class group was seen with two penumbral followers (f) of irregular shape denoting complex fields. www.AmateurAstronomy.com 63 Fibrils are visible at times of excellent seeing as on April 30 but are only suggested in the sketch. Granularity. In good seeing the Sun s whole surface is covered with small ( 800km dia.) convection cells where warm rising material hits the surface and rolls over to descend again releasing heat in the process. When the cells or granules are seen you have arc-sec seeing It s not common. Image-stacking can record granularity raw images can t. Spot evolution. Recall that most spots with fields over 2000G have large penumbrae while spots with 1500G are almost invisible and we see that group AR12049 had impressive large preceding (p) and following (f) spots with fields 2300G. Log 2 shows the appearance of lesser violet (i.e. following) spots between the main ones suggesting the inversion line (I.L dotted blue) the zone where opposite spot fields adjoin lay near the big (p) spot on the 28th (though no filament was seen there). Log 3 shows the budding of small red spots from the (p) spot on the 29th. By log 4 (and that excellent Summer 2014 Issue 83 seeing ) multiple lesser spots have peppered the space between the big (p) and (f) spots. The two big spots were separated by 7 longitude and as each degree is some 12Mm wide their separation was 84 000km. Recall that few dipoles (spot pairs) ever exceed 50 000km in length. Extended groups can result from the eruption of several dipoles end to end. (Zirin Astrophysics of the Sun P320). This suggests that the newcomers were the emergence of a new dipole (i.e. bipolar pair of spots) between the original big ones. Flaring. Despite the emergence of new spots very little flaring occurred a tiny GOES B4 erupted in Log4 and lasted just 10 mins. A dark S-shaped filament was involved and it seems rearranged itself into N-S direction after the flare (dotted). No X or M-class events erupted in group AR12049. The group showed no sign of the magnetic complexity needed for flaring no active region filaments (arf) were seen in it apart from faint hints. No spots of opposite polarity This is in fact the return of AR12032 from the previous rotation but with new flux reshaping its spots. By the sixth (Fig) we saw small spot chains and distorted penumbrae in this group and flares may be expected. Several ARF attended the group and at 00 21 (7th May) small dark (post flare ) loops were emerging from the irregular (f) spots at 14 267. When seen above the limb post flare loops (PFL) are mostly bright but these were dark against the brighter chromosphere and showed strong Doppler shifts. AR12056. This is a new and unusual group with an odd mix of polarities the (p) spot is normal at violet 2100G (V21) but has follower (f) spots of both violet and red polarity with the Delta class mix in the (f) sited at 8 255 M-class flares erupted here on following days. Prominence. The large arch retained faint links to foot-points at 15 241 and 9 240 and at 23 35 (6th) was timed at 84Mm in height. Some changes were noted but at 00 18(7th) it was still 80Mm high. This is the eruption of a big quiet filament (QRF) it was moving slowly and was not linked to a strong flare. The next day (8th) showed remnants at the same site still 80Mm high and a huge faint quiescent prominence would erupt between latitudes 30 to 40 north of the spot group trio on that day reaching 140Mm high more in a future report. We may conclude that much of this activity is due to the emergence of new spot groups (and old 12032) in northern latitudes between 5 to 15 - in the zone of quiet region filaments perhaps triggering the stately ejections. Both hemispheres have few quiet filaments at present. Activity Nest . It seems we have witnessed the arrival of a major nest of magnetic activity centered near heliocentric 10 270 since old group 12032 s appearance on April 9th. The magnetic flux in the big (p) spot of 12055 (old 12032) has reached 2500G 64 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Above Image contributions from the British Astronomical Assosciation (BAA) solar section newsletter. The BAA newletter is an excellent means of staying current with solar activity and viewing some of the phenomenal solar imaging that is being produced by amateurs. a strong field for this solar cycle and the newly emerged groups also have substantial umbral fields. While the nest of groups is near the NE limb prominence ejections as well as flares can be expect there keep the H-alpha scopes ready for action Summer 2014 Issue 83 Touring The Trumpler Classes Part III - Class 3 by Richard Harshaw (Saguaro Astronomy Club) R obert Trumpler (1886-1956) was a Swiss astronomer (he became a naturalized American citizen in 1921) who contributed greatly to our understanding of open star clusters in his 1930 paper Preliminary results on the distances dimensions and space distribution of open star clusters. In writing his paper he created a cluster classification scheme that is still in use today. Trumpler s system makes use of three codes to describe a cluster (later there were additions of other codes but that need not concern us here). The first code was a Roman numeral from I to IV to denote how detached the cluster was from the background foreground stars. A cluster of type I is welldetached--it almost seems isolated in the sky with very little clutter around it distract the eye. A type IV is virtually indistinguishable from the background. The second code was a numeral from 1 to 3 to denote the general spread in magnitudes. A rating of 1 means there is little difference in the magnitudes of the members--they all appear to be nearly the same magnitude (plus or minus a magnitude or two). A type 3 has a very wide range of magnitudes often with one very bright member dominating a dim background of lacey haze. NGC 6811 - Anthony Ayiomamitis- From this point on it will be more and more difficult to produce examples of stunning views simply be-cause the clusters are becoming more and more blended into the background. In the summer let s go with NGC 6811 a group in Cygnus at 1938 4634 (almost 2 deg. NW of Cyg). It is 3 960 light years away and shines at magnitude 9.0 from 70 stars in a 12 minute field. It is 630 million years old. The earliest spectral type is A0. 249 stars belong to this group and it lies 27 000 light years from the galactic center and 725 light years above the galactic plane. The brightest star is 9.9 magnitude. In the 8-in SCT at 65x it is rich with a nice triplet to the W. The 11-in SCT at 115x reveals a very dense tight knot of faint stars with an almost nebulous background. The NW section hosts a small tri-angle. It fills the field of view at 193x and the center is remarkably sparse. (Walter Scott Houston names this Hole in a Cluster .) It would make a fairly dense model being 3 260 miles across with stars 390 miles apart. The winter cluster is NGC 1245 a wonderful but difficult cluster in Perseus (0315 4715 3 degrees southwest of Mirfak or Per). 200 stars lie in a 10 minute pocket and shine with a magnitude of 9.0. It is very far away (9 380 light years). It has survived almost 1 billion years because it orbits the galaxy 1 100 light years below the galactic plane. Like in NGC 2194 most bright stars of the cluster show a slightly blue color. These are the normal hydrogen core burning stars with their hot surface temperature. But there are also a lot of bright orange stars. They are evolved i.e. they already left the usual stage of hydrogen core burning and started hydrogen shell burning. Some might already burn helium in their cores. The orange color is due to their cooler surface temperature. The relative large number of these evolved stars is a hint for the old age of the cluster. Indeed NGC 1245 is with 10 9 years about ten times older than the cluster M 50 and so belongs like NGC 2194 to the unusual population of old or intermediate age Open Clusters in our Galaxy. The two very bright blue stars are most probable foreground objects of the galactic field i.e. they are no cluster members. Source www.AmateurAstronomy.com 65 The third code was a richness code using r m and p (for rich medium and poor ). A rich cluster had over 100 stars in it a medium cluster between 50 and 100 and a poor one less than 50. So as you can see there are 4 codes for detachedness 3 for magnitude spread and 3 for richness--or altogether some 4 x 3 x 3 36 different Trumpler classes. Class III 1 r--Not so well-detached small range in magnitudes rich in stars Summer 2014 Issue 83 Stock 2 - near the double cluster - Scott Nelson http www.allthesky.com clusters n12 45.html] In the 8-in SCT at 104x it is nebulous and faint round and very dense. Use high powers-- it takes them well but refuses to yield any secrets to you. A bright star is on the S side and an 8th magnitude star lies to the NE. The brightest member is 12.0 magnitude. The 11-in SCT at 98x let me count 16 stars. It is not as dense and tight as it looks. Its model is 7 500 miles in diameter with stars 630 miles apart. Class III 1 m--Not so well-detached small range in magnitudes moderately rich in stars The summer clusters of this class don t offer a lot of eye joy. The best I think we can do is Ruprecht 145. This cluster is 35 minutes in diameter and 2 510 light years away. In the 11-in SCT at 56x it was elon-gated 3 by 1 in a N-S direction with some sub-clusters or sub-groups. Richest group is in the middle the brightest in the south. The south group is anchored by a reddishorange star. This cluster is 437 million years old. The winter cluster is Stock 2 a large but nice group in Cassiopeia centered at 0215 5916 (extend a line from Navi through Ruchbah another 6 deg. and you are there). It is 4.4 magnitude with 50 stars in a 60 minute field. It is only 990 light years away which makes it 18 light years in diameter. It is 170 million years old. The 8-in SCT at 66 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 104x reveals a bright group that overflows the 24 min field. There are many pairs in this group but not many dominant patterns. This large cluster really looks best in a rich field instrument. An SCT has too small a field of view (even with a telecompressor) to reveal it in its true beauty. Class III 1 p--Not so well-detached small range in magnitudes poor in stars There are lots of clusters in the sky that meet this classification but only two that are really great views. Luckily both summer and winter get one of those two The summer cluster is NGC 7063 a tight and dense knot of stars in Cygnus (2124 3630 far removed from the familiar cross shape of the main part of Cygnus). Also known as Caroline s Cluster (after Caro-line Herschel) 35 stars are tamped into a 7 minute field with an integrated magnitude of 8.9. It is 2 250 light years away and lies 27 500 light years from the galactic center and 350 light years below the galactic plane. It is 95 million years old. Its earliest stellar type is B8 and 66 stars are known to be members. The brightest star is 8.9 magnitude. The 8in SCT at 65x shows an open and fairly bright group. A bright star dominates the N side. 69 Cyg (5.9 magnitude) lies 19 min NE. In the 11-in SCT at 115x it looked open and bright 18 stars counted. A jagged line of five 10m stars runs up the middle. As open clusters go it is small and dense (its model would be 1 380 miles across with stars 207 miles apart). For the winter check out NGC 225 a very nice group of 30 stars in a 12 minute field shining at 7.0 magnitude from 0043 6147 (in beautiful downtown Cassiopeia 2 deg. NW from Navi). It is 7 light years in diameter and 140 million years old. Its earliest stars are B8 and A2 types. 76 members are known. It lies 28 800 light years from the galactic center and just below its plane. It is also 22 light years in NGC 7063 - Bernard Hubl - www.astrophoton.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 min diameter irregular in shape (which I whimsically called a spleen a name that stuck that night with the group several then re-ported seeing the Spleen Cluster ). In reality it is a large and very loose group not destined for a long life. Its model reveals it to be 11 610 miles across with stars 1 250 miles apart Class III 2 m--Not so well-detached moderate range in magnitudes moderately rich in stars NGC 6633 is my choice for the summer example. It is in Ophiuchus and is centered at 1828 0634. Lying some 1 230 light years away it shines at magnitude 4.6. It is 660 million years old with the earliest spectral type being B6. At least 159 stars belong to this cluster which is 27 000 light years from the ga-lactic center and 250 light years above its plane. Its model would be 2 530 miles across with stars 629 miles apart. The 8-in SCT at 65x shows a bright and colorful (many orange and yellow stars) group it has a dominant fish-hook pattern. It is large and loose and has a very small arrowhead on the NW edge. The 11-in SCT at 65x unveils a loose scattered and bright cluster with mostly white stars. There is a flat triangle at the N end an isosceles one in the center. A narrow triangle is at the S end. In the winter go to NGC 2251. Located at 0635 0822 in Monoceros it has 30 members in a 10 minute field of NGC 6940 - Bernard Hubl - www.astrophoton.com diameter and 2 140 light years away. The 8-in SCT at 65x shows a nice group with a W pattern and the many blue and white stars. It has a loose scattering. Note the chain of stars on the E side. Its model is 6 970 miles across with stars 1 140 miles apart. Class III 2 r--Not so well-detached moderate range in magnitudes rich in stars The summer cluster is NGC 6940 in tiny Vulpecula. It is located at 2035 2818 and is 2 510 light years away. It has a magnitude of 8.0 and is made up of 100 stars in a nice 31 minute field. It is a surprising 1.1 billion years old (despite the fact that this cluster is 27 000 light years from the galactic center and only 330 light years below its plane) with the earliest spectral types remaining being B8 and A2. 170 stars are known to be members. The brightest star is 9.3 magnitude. The 8-in SCT at 83x reveals an exquisite group It forms an oval that looks good under medium powers. An 8th magnitude star lies in the NE quadrant. The 11-in SCT at 115x shows a very rich very bright and scattered group that stands out well from a rich field. There seems to be a dark nebula behind it. In the winter I favor NGC 2354. This fine cluster lies in Canis Major 90 minutes ENE of Wezen ( CMa) at coordinates 0714-2544. It is similar to Summer 2014 Issue 83 NGC 6940 in population but much smaller (20 minutes in diameter). Its magnitude is listed as 6.5. It is 35 light years in diameter and 134 million years old. The brightest star is 9.1 magnitude (690 times brighter than the Sun). This cluster lies 31 100 light years from the galactic center and 700 light years below the galactic plane. My 8-in SCT at 83x reveals a spread out cluster it is easy and oblate with 40 stars easily visible. There is a good double at the center too and a very red star as well. 15 min E is a Z shaped asterism. At the Sentinel Star Gaze in December 2004 I observed this cluster through Steve Coe s 11-in SCT at 90x. It was 20 NGC 6633 - Scott Nelson www.AmateurAstronomy.com 67 IC 4665 - Warren magnitude 7.3. It lies 4 330 light years away 32 000 light years from the galactic center and right on the galactic plane. At least 92 stars belong to this group. The brightest star is 9.1 magnitude (440 times brighter than the Sun). It is 267 million years old. In the 8-in SCT at 83x I see a nice wedge with a NW to SE axis and some nebulosity. The overall shape reminds me of a dolphin. The 11-in SCT at 115x shows a sparse and oblong cluster (about three to one in dimensions) I counted 15 stars. Very rich field Class III 2 p--Not so well-detached moderate range in magnitudes poor in stars The summer sample is a bright and large cluster IC 4665 which resides in Ophiuchus (1746 0543). It has 30 stars in its 55 minute field shining with a combined magnitude of 6.0. It is 1 150 light years away (which makes it 22.4 light years in diameter). It is only 43 million years old. The 8-in SCT at 37x was dis-appointing. It looks best in the spotter But in the SCT I was struck by a pattern that resembled a side-ways figure 8 . The 11-in SCT at 98x showed a large and scattered group it is longer (NE-SW) than wide and a meandering stream of bright stars dominates the mid-line. Collinder 115 is my choice for the winter. Located in Monoceros (at 68 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 0647 0146) it has 50 stars in an 8 minute field at 9th magnitude. It is a round group but somewhat void in the middle. Class III 3 r--Not so well-detached wide range in magnitudes rich in stars I cannot locate an open cluster in the summer skies with a class of III 3 r. The only decent winter sample is NGC 2168 located in Gemini and better known as M35 This cluster was discovered by J. Bevis in 1745 de Cheseaux mentioned it in 1745 and Messier added it to his list on August 30 1764. Lord Rosse counted 300 stars in this cluster and modern counts go up to 434 stars. The brightest star (orange) is 8.2 magnitude (300 times brighter than the Sun). It is 30 light years in diameter and 95 million years old while the earliest spectral types are B3 and B4. In the 8-in SCT at 83x it is extremely good There are many red stars. Glenn Bock writes that the cluster is somewhat doughnut shaped with a dark hole in the center a vivid description that is fitting. The 11-in SCT at 115x lets me rate it a 1 (a most stunning view) There is a bright yellow star at the NE end an orange star just N of the center and a reddishorange star just south of the center. The center is strangely empty. In my 14x70 Binos it is a rich sight The model would be fairly large 7 080 miles across with stars 606 miles apart. Class III 3 m--Not so well-detached wide range in magnitudes moderately rich in stars Neither example of this class will sweep you off your feet but they do have at least moderately nice views to offer. The summer cluster is Dolidze 5 an often-overlooked little flock of stars about 6 minutes in diameter. The 11-in SCT at 107x revealed a cluster that looks a little like a Christmas tree One 7th magnitude star and 13 others of NGC 2168 - M 35 - Bernard Hubl - www.astrophoton.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 spotter. Class IV 1 r--Poorly detached narrow range in magnitudes rich in stars With the IV class of clusters we enter the bottom of the Trumpler Barrel. In fact the barrel is so poor at this level that I cannot find an example of a IV 1 r for either Summer or Winter Class IV 1 m--Poorly detached narrow range in magnitudes moderately rich in stars I was going to use Ruprecht 143 for the summer cluster but decided to go with NGC 6645 instead. The NGC object has 75 stars in a 10 minute field but is only 9th magnitude. William Herschel discovered it in 1786. The 8-in SCT at 83x gave me a nice view. Delicate rich and round there seems to be a void in the middle and a comma-like stinger of stars off the E side. Steve Coe mentions the central void de-scribing this cluster as having a bizarre donut shape with no stars in the center of the grouping. The position is 1833-1654 (in Sagittarius). NGC 2482 is our winter example. This modest group (sometimes called the Starfish Cluster) is in Puppis (at 07552418) and offers 40 stars in a 12 minute field at 7.3 magnitude. This cluster is 400 million years old and lies 29 000 light years from the galactic center and Dolidze 5 (darkened) 11th magnitude and fainter. In the winter go to NGC 2264 a large (30 min by 60 min) cluster of 40 stars and at 3.9 magnitude. It is only 2 170 light years away. It is about 9 million years old. The 8-in SCT shows a very good object and aptly named (the Christmas Tree cluster) The bright star (5th magnitude) in the base of the tree is S Mon the one that lights the Cone Nebula. S Mon is 8 500 times brighter than the Sun. (Odd don t you think that the two sample clusters for this class both look like Christmas trees ) NGC 2264 is a huge open cluster and very spread out as its model suggests 14 610 miles across with stars 2 140 miles apart. Class III 3 p--Not so well-detached wide range in magnitudes poor in stars The summer cluster is probably one you have never heard of Stephenson 1 or the Delta Lyrae Cluster. It was cataloged by C. B. Stephenson in 1959 although T. W. Webb described it a century earlier. This loose association of hot young stars is in Lyra at 1854 3655 just north of Lyr. Only 15 stars are members and it is spread out over 20 minutes of sky but it is very bright (3.8 magnitude) and close (1 270 light years). The cluster is only 54 million years old. The 8-in SCT at 104x shows that Lyr and two 4th magnitude stars frame it nicely in a large triangle. The main feature is a four-star line (running N-S) of 9th Summer 2014 Issue 83 magnitude stars just SW of Lyr. For the winter go to Collinder 140 at 0724-3212 (in Canis Major 3 deg. south of CMa Aludra). Also known as the tuft in the tail of the dog it is a naked eye object from good skies. This nice little knot of 30 stars lies in a 42 minute field and is bright (3.5 magnitude). It is nearby (1 320 light years) and thus it is 14 light years in diameter. The brightest star is 5.4 magnitude (540 times brighter than the Sun). This cluster is also 35 million years old. In the 8in SCT at 83x it appears as a very large and bright group. It is somewhat sparse and the center looks even more rarefied. Actually it looks best in the NGC 2482 - Nelson www.AmateurAstronomy.com 69 NGC 6716 - Warren 80 light years above the galactic plane. The brightest star is 10th magnitude (50 times brighter than the Sun). The 8in SCT at 104x opens a rich and faint group to view it has the shape of a swallowtail butterfly-- better than M7 in Scorpius. Dean Wil-liams thinks it looks more like a Christian cross running E-W. In the 11-in SCT at 98x it is faint but rich with small range in magnitude. I counted 24 stars in poor transparency (6 out of 10). Its model reveals a small and dense cluster 2 920 miles in diameter with stars 425 miles apart. Class IV 1 p--Poorly detached narrow range in magnitudes poor in stars T here are many cases of IV 1 p clusters in the sky so making selections for this tour was not easy. I chose NGC 6716 for the summer cluster. In Sagittarius at 1855-1954 it has 20 stars in a 7 minute field of magnitude 7.5. It lies 2 570 light years away 25 800 light years from the galactic center and 330 light years below the galactic plane. It is 91 million years old with B5 being the earliest spectral class. The 8-in SCT at 83x shows a bright but scattered out group. The 11-in SCT at 140x reveals a very nice little group Rich and bright I counted 28 stars in the general shape of Scorpius. Moderate spread in magnitudes. The winter example is NGC 743. This nice little knot lies in Cassiopeia at 0159 6011. It contains only 12 stars 70 www.AmateurAstronomy.com but they are packed into a 5 minute field. The faint 10th magnitude glow makes it glittery The 8-in SCT showed a sharply triangular group framed by five 8th magnitude stars. Class IV 2 r--Poorly detached moderate range in magnitudes rich in stars Like III 3 r there was no summer cluster of this class. The winter cluster is NGC 1817 an unimpressive little group in Taurus centered at 0512 1642. It is rich (60 stars) and small (15 minutes) and relatively bright (7.7 magnitude). The 8-in SCT at 83x shows a sparse cluster with two condensations separated by a gap. Note the 5-star chain on the W end. The westernmost group is NGC 1807 and gives an impression called the poor man s Double Cluster by Steve Coe. At the center is a V pattern and there are three tight clumps of faint stars within 1817 these clumps form an equilateral triangle. A close double of even stars lies a few minutes SE. In the 11-in SCT at 115x I got a very rich and faint group with the double star h3269. Four 11th magnitude stars in a diamond plus about 60 stars of 13th 15th magnitude in a scattered dusty field. As you wait more and more stars pop into view. Nice effect The cluster is 409 million years old and includes an Ap star. The earliest spectral type is A0. The brightest star is 9th magnitude (900 times brighter than the Sun). The cluster lies 33 500 light years from the galactic center and 1 350 light years below its plane. Class IV 2 m--Poorly detached moderate range in magnitudes moderately rich in stars Collinder 394 is located in Sagittarius (1854-2023) with stars in a 22 minute field and 6.3 magnitude. It is 2 250 light years away and 64 million years old. The 11-in SCT at 140x shows a large and bright cluster with a moderate spread in magnitudes. I counted 24 stars. NGC 1817 (right) with NGC 1807 (left) - Warren Summer 2014 Issue 83 years in diameter). It is part of the Puppis OB1 Association and is about 1.4 billion years old. In the 8-in SCT it is faint and hard to resolve it requires averted vision. Small and dense the model would be 1 930 miles across with stars 295 miles apart. Class IV 3 p--Poorly detached little range in magnitudes poor in stars We end our Trumpler Tour with two easy but unimpressive clusters. The summer sample is Dolidze 11 located in Cygnus (2027 4127 2 deg. northeast of Sadr). This group is 7 minutes in diameter. The 11-in SCT at 107x shows a Y-shaped group (E-W orientation) with the left side of the Y brighter (4 stars with one yellow one of 7.5 magnitude). I counted 18 stars. The winter cluster is Collinder 97. This little group of 15 stars spans 21 minutes of sky in Monoceros (at 0631 0555) and shines strongly at 5.4 magnitude. It is 2 050 light years away and about 100 million years old. The 8-in SCT shows a very uneven group of stars dominated by three 7th magnitude stars in a large right triangle. The star at the right angle is a lovely whiteblue double (about 12 320). Rich field. It lies just off the north edge of the Rosette Nebula. NGC 2395 - Warren The winter case is NGC 2395. Situated in Gemini (0727 1335) it boasts 53 stars in a 12 minute field with magnitude of 8.0. It is 1 670 light years away 31 000 light years from the galactic center and 900 light years above the galactic plane. This group may be an asterism. It seems to be 1.2 billion years old. The 8-in SCT at 83x reveals a curving arc of 9 resolved stars note the arc to the north too. Class IV 2 p--Poorly detached moderate range in magnitudes poor in stars The summer cluster is Collinder 419 a flock of 14 stars in a phone booth 4 minutes across and of 5.4 magnitude. It lies 2 400 light years away in Cygnus (2018 4043). It is about 7 million years old--virtually newborn My 8-in SCT at 37x showed a very nice group. A 12th magnitude chain of 5 stars dominates the center. 2666 is a member. For the winter let s slew to Cassiopeia and Czernik 4 an obscure little group of stars only 3 minutes in diameter. It is located at 0136 6126 2 deg. northeast of Ruchbah. (The group may be the same as Trumpler 1.) In the 11-in SCT it is a quaint and small group dominated by a short but straight chain of four stars (in a perfectly straight line) plus four more very faint stars. Class IV 3 r--Poorly detached little range in magnitudes rich in stars Summer 2014 Issue 83 There are no IV 3 r clusters in either the summer or winter skies. Class IV 3 m--Poorly detached little range in magnitudes moderately rich in stars For the summer I like NGC 6507 in Sagittarius (1800-1724). 35 stars greet you from a field 6 minutes across. The 8-in SCT revealed a faint group of eleven stars in a rough pentagon. The winter cluster is an ancient group Haffner 8. This small but dense knot is located in Canis Major at 07231220. With 35 stars in a 4 minute field (magnitude 9.1) it is a dense but delicate little cluster. It lies 3 850 light years away (which makes it 6 light NGC 6507 - Nelson www.AmateurAstronomy.com 71 Wide Field Astrophotography It s Not Just For Beginners Article and Images by Scott Rosen )Recommended Image M 42 and the Horsehead Nebula in HaRGB - Imaged with modified Canon 450D and 200mm lens Throughout the constellation of Orion one can see wide expanses of hydrogen clouds and dusty regions. This image is a widefield image covering approximately 6 by 4 degrees of sky between the Horsehead and Flame Nebula at the bottom left and the Great Orion Nebula in the upper right. This image combines 4 3 4 hours of narrowband Hydrogen Alpha data with an additional 3.6 hours of color (RGB) data to form an HaRGB composite. To bring out better details within M42 I also blended in 3 1 2 hours of an HDR (High Dynamic Range) detail image taken through my C-8 telescope xperienced astrophotographers often recommend to beginners that they start their astrophotographic venture with wide field photography using a DSLR and camera lenses. While this is sound advice many astrophotographers probably think of wide field imaging as the steppingstone to real astrophotography using telescopes and CCD cameras. However there are many beautiful objects that can only be captured with wide field lenses or multi-panel mosaics. And many wide field images are as impressive as their long focal length cousins. Accordingly a dedicat- E ed astrophotographer could probably spend years imaging extraordinary objects with just a couple of relatively short focal length camera lenses. In this article I ll explore ways to use a simple DSLR and camera lenses to create some very exciting wide field astrophotographs. My Evolution into Wide Field Astrophotography Like many astrophographers I ve spent a number of years gathering my astrophotographic data with a moderately long focal length telescope. I ve enjoyed a great many hours capturing some nicely detailed images of galaxies globular clusters nebulae and more. And not surprisingly I ve also spent far too many hours fighting the common frustrations of tossing subexposures due to guiding problems uncorrected focus shift wind induced tracking errors and all the other mishaps associated with capturing telescopic data. With a certain degree of exhaustion I decided to try my hand at some wide field imaging using a DSLR and some camera lenses. My expectations were 72 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Potential target image M 31 and satellite galaxies M 32 and M 110 make a good option due to the large area it subtends that I would shortly run out of projects - I could try a few Milky Way images the Andromeda galaxy perhaps the Pleiades and a handful of large nebulae. But certainly I d be returning to my telescope shortly. And yet I was so wrong - in the last 18 months with just a 50mm and a 200mm lens I ve managed to complete over 30 images with unique fields of view. My current target list could easily keep me busy for another year and a half and I continually stumble across new targets I want to add to my imaging list Expanding the Horizons of Wide Field Astrophotography This notion led me to the next obvious One of the big keys to improving my astrophotographs as well as extending my target list was to recognize the unique benefits that DSLR and camera lens photography could provide to me. Obviously camera lenses give us relatively wide fields of view which allow us to photograph larger objects. However the big advantage with camSummer 2014 Issue 83 era lenses is their fast focal ratios. In my case I ve captured almost all of my wide field images with an old 50mm f 1.8 Olympus Zuiko lens that I typically use at f 4 (although it is more than usable at f 2.8 as well) and a Canon EF 200mm f 2.8L II USM lens that I like to use at f 3.5. Even with these lenses stopped down from full aperture they re still extremely fast when compared to the f 6 to f 8 focal ratios that we commonly have when photographing through our telescopes. Consequently what wide field photography really offers us is the opportunity to capture extremely faint objects relatively quickly. with wide lenses. As such I subsequently purchased an Astronomik 12nm OIII clip filter. While the relatively low QE of DSLRs can often make narrrowband imaging an exercise in frustration I found that the fast focal ratio of my lenses made it rather easy to create low noise Ha HaRGB and HaOIIIRGB versions of my astrophotos. Go Deep or Go Home I must concede that my imaging conditions provide a big benefit in improving the quality of my images. I m very fortunate to live in a rural town with relatively dark skies (typical SQM readings of 21.2 - 21.6 mag arcsec 2). We also have a fairly high percentage of nights with clear skies. This combination allows me to spend a comparatively large amount of time capturing data for each of my targets. In turn this allows me to stretch my images quite aggressively and bring out fainter features while keeping noise in my astrophotos at bay. www.AmateurAstronomy.com 73 use of camera lenses in astrophotography. Due to the fast focal ratio advantage I could now use my DSLR to capture high quality narrowband data. I started by adding an Astronomik 6nm H-Alpha clip filter to my camera. After having some good success with that setup I discovered there are some excellent OIII targets that work well Possible image target The Flying Bat and Squid Nebulae in HaOIIIRGB. Imaged with Canon 450D and 200mm lens f 3.5 The Flying Bat nebula Sh2-129 is a large emission nebula in the constellation Cepheus. With an apparent diameter of over 2 1 2 degrees in our sky this faint Ha region is often overlooked due to the proximity of its much brighter celestial neighbor IC 1396. Above and to the right of Sh2-129 is the reflection nebula vdB 140. While having no distinct features the nebula is interesting because it appears to also be embedded within an HII region. The image contains several dark nebulae as well. Most notably on the left side of the image is Barnard 150 - the Seahorse Nebula. The star of this image is the enigmatic object the Squid Nebula - OU4. Discovered by Nicolas Outters only 2 years ago in June 2011 the Squid Nebula shines by the blue green light of OIII - the forbidden line of doubly ionized Oxygen. Over a degree long the object is extremely faint and even more mysterious in its origin. Originally believed to be a planetary nebula astronomers have since concluded that it is not such an object. However to date it is unclear exactly what OU4 is However even astrophotographers who are able to escape to their dark sites for only one or two nights each month can take advantage of camera lenses and narrowband filters to step up their astrophotos. As it happens narrowband filters - particularly Ha filters - work almost as well from a light polluted city as they do from a dark sky. A 6nm Ha filter also works surprisingly well even when the Moon is in the sky. For this reason any astrophotographer can use a DSLR a fast camera lens and a narrowband filter to capture Ha data from just about anywhere with a clear sky. In this way you can spend most of the month capturing Ha data (which can be used to 74 www.AmateurAstronomy.com make remarkably detailed grayscale images) and then use your proportionately few nights at a dark site to capture the associated RGB data. The net result is that your DSLR and camera lens can allow you to go deep WHILE staying at home Use Your Imagination Perhaps like me you have a healthy portfolio of images you ve taken through your telescope. Just because you ve decided to do some wide field imaging doesn t mean you can t put those telescopic photographs to good use. For a number of my wide field astrophotos taken with my 200mm lens I ve combined them with images taken through my telescope to provide better details within the main targets. As an example if you look carefully at the Horsehead Nebula M42 image at the beginning of this article you ll see that M42 has some fairly nice details. For that wide field astrophoto I hadn t captured any short exposures to do an HDR combination of M42. Rather M42 was highly overexposed in my RGB data from the 200mm lens as well as even more overexposed in my Ha data It occurred to me that I had a perfectly good HDR image of M42 I had taken through my telescope. So using Registar for alignment and some masking in Photoshop I was able to Summer 2014 Issue 83 Potential target image Rho Opiuchi Cloud Complex Arguably one of the most colorful and impressive regions in the sky this image shows a 25 by 15 degree section of the Serpent Bearer constellation of Ophiuchus as well as Scorpius the Scorpion. Prominent at the center of the image is the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex. The cloud complex includes the bright yellow star Antares whose light reflects off the surrounding yellow nebula IC 4606. Just above Antares is the blue reflection nebula IC 4605 and to the right of Antares is a red emission nebula. Above Rho Ophiuchi is the beautiful blue reflection nebula IC 4592 - the Blue Horsehead which shines by reflecting the light from Nu Scorpii. Towards the lower right of the image lies another blue reflection nebula Vdb 99. This reflection nebula is surrounded by a faint red emission nebula Sharpless 2-1. Streaming to the left of the Rho Ophiuchi Complex and the Blue Horsehead are several dark nebulae. These nebulae consist primarily of dust that obscures the light behind the nebula. The most conspicuous dark nebula is B44 The Dark River. In the lower left of the astrophoto is a combination of very bright patches and dark patches. This corner of the image shows the Milky Way Galaxy only 3 degrees from the center of the galaxy. The bright patches are actually very dense concentrations of stars while the dark patches come from additional dust regions. This image is a composite of a 50mm base image which provides the entire field of view. Then I blended in three 200mm detail images of Rho Ophiuchi the Blue Horsehead and Vdb 99. The detail images were composited with the 50mm luminance with opacities of typically 25%. This provided some finer detail in these regions of the image. All told the image encompasses a total of 32 hours of exposure with a modified Canon 450D. easily blend in my 1200mm M42 with the wider 200mm Horsehead Nebula M42 image. This technique can be used in a variety of ways. For instance I had captured a 50mm image of the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex which showed a 25 by 15 degree field of view extending from Scorpius into Ophiuchus. Within this field of view were three very distinct regions - Rho Ophiuchi itself the Blue Horsehead Nebula (IC 4592) and a beautiful reflection nebula (van den Berg 99). Having already imaged the Summer 2014 Issue 83 Blue Horsehead Nebula with my 200mm lens I decided to do the same with Rho Ophiuchi and vdB 99. I then blended the 200mm images with the 50mm data to give me better details within each of those three areas of the image. In addition I ended up with three separate 200mm images - each a worthy field of view on its own As one final example I had tried unsuccessfully to photograph NGC 3628 s very faint tidal tail using my Celestron C8. Even with 17 hours of data at f 6.3 I had barely a hint of the tidal tail. I had (incorrectly) concluded that it wasn t possible to image the tail from my location. However the following year I tried photographing the Leo Triplet using my 200mm lens. I was quite thrilled to find that with a mere 24 hours of data at f 3.5 the tidal tail showed very well. I then blended this image with my previously captured C8 data of NGC 3628 along with some C8 data for M65 and M66 to create a nicely detailed image of the Triplet that included a well-defined tidal tail - success after two years www.AmateurAstronomy.com 75 Suggested Image Field Cropped Version of Leo Triplet - M65 M66 NGC 3628 and its Tidal Tail The Leo Triplet of galaxies (aka Leo Trio) makes for extraordinary pictures due to the distinct differences between each of the galaxies. The galaxies are gravitationally bound to each other and are commonly known as the M66 group. The lower right of the three galaxies is M65 - a spiral galaxy that seems to have suffered the least damage from the galaxies encounter. To the left of M65 is the barred spiral galaxy M66. This galaxy displays more consequence from the gravitational collision as the galaxy s spiral arms are clearly deformed and the colorful arms are indicative of a high rate of star formation. The third galaxy of the Trio NGC 3628 is an edge on unbarred spiral galaxy at the top in this image. NGC 3628 may be the most affected of the three galaxies as this image shows its impressive tidal tail. Astronomers believe that the tidal tail is a result of the gravitational impact and it consists primarily of young blue stars. The tail extends from the galaxy for over 300 000 light years. Due to its extreme faintness the tidal tail is not commonly shown in photographs of NGC 3628. In addition to numerous background galaxies scattered throughout the image the photo also shows the spiral galaxy NGC 3593 in the lower right corner. This galaxy is a member of the M66 group and the M66 group is probably associated with the M96 group of galaxies. This image is a composite of three different sets of data. The main image is made from 25 hours of imaging with a 200mm lens at f 3.5. This portion of the image captured the tidal tail and the entire field of view of the image. Then I blended in detailed images of M65 and M66 which were made from 7 1 2 hours of images captured through my C-8 telescope at 1160mm. Finally the details in NGC 3628 were made by compositing an additional 16 hours of C-8 data captured last year at 1260mm. As such the aggregate time invested in capturing the data for this image is 49 hours There s numerous other ways astrophotographers have used wide field data to enhance their images - using wide field Milky Way images with a foreground landscape is a very common case. So put your mind to the task and I m sure you ll be able to think of some creative ways to make the most of your wide field images. Wide field imaging is not only a great 76 www.AmateurAstronomy.com way to learn the basics of astrophotography it s also excellent for producing beautiful images without having to invest in expensive high end equipment. By utilizing narrowband filters specialized processing techniques and a healthy dose of creativity you can expand your imaging list to include some fascinating and unique new targets. In the next issue I ll discuss some of the distinct challenges in processing wide field astrophotos and some techniques for tackling those obstacles. Summer 2014 Issue 83 Aware Are We by Dave Tosteson Observing the Local Supercluster We stand upon the edge Of night drawn well To clear the mist Elegant play of nature And mine the sol That read in eyes Alight aweigh Where secrets lie e played a game in grade school stringing together the longest number of identifiers to specify our location. My friends and I would subdivide rooms within the school places on the playground neighborhoods and all manner of arbitrary indicators so whoever was the most specific and made the longest list would win. As one can imagine these included a large percentage of unnecessary and arcane items with little thought given to geographic parsimony. The game did teach us to think in Cartesian terms and as our awareness and understanding of our surroundings grew this type of dimensional thinking would be useful in learning to navigate roads and traverse lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on the MinnesotaCanada border. My astronomical awareness and success in that game of the Long Address was limited in the 1950 s and early 1960 s not just by age but by a collective understanding of the structure of our Galaxy and its place in the larger Universe. As we recall and integrate the half-century landmark cultural events that shaped us during that time we can consider the growth in knowledge and appreciation of those physical relationships. As far back as the late 19th century William Herschel and his son John recognized the uneven distribution of nebula across the sky. By the 1920 s H. J. Reynolds noted the clustering of non-galactic nebulae into a band followed in the next decade by Shapley s studies of what came to be recognized as the Local Supergalaxy . In the 1950 s de Vaucouleurs studied the Local Group and its relation to the Virgo Cluster renaming the larger parent structure the Local Supercluster . Intense study over the next three decades decoded a great deal of structural detail both in our own supercluster and its setting within the larger cosmos. Armed with this knowledge an enterprising observer with a medium size telescope is now able to view many of its member galaxies. Large instruments show more detail fainter members show how our galactic supercity fits into the largest structures known. Our Local Supercluster (LSC) is 110 million light years in diameter and consists of an estimated 47 000 galaxies. Summer 2014 Issue 83 This number is likely to rise as the discovery in the last few years of dark matter galaxies such as Segue 1 swells its population. The LSC contains about 10 15 solar masses with 3X 10 12 solar luminosities. Less than 10% of its mass resides in visible matter 20% in gas with the rest dark matter whose gravitational force affects not just individual galaxies and their dynamics but appears to be the main architect of the filamentary nature of our Supercluster. Brent Tully one of the preeminent researchers who studied and defined these structures in the last several decades has estimated 90% of galaxies reside in these filaments that trace the dark matter structure of the universe. These elongated structures resemble flat pasta in shape. With their spatial structure collapsing into sheets then longer nearly one-dimensional filaments gravity directed smaller galaxies within them to drain along their axes into the nodes where filaments intersect and produce the richer clusters such as Virgo at the heart of our Supercluster. Over 90% of LSC galaxies are members of its largest 11 clusters implying the vast majority of space within the volume of the LSC consists of voids apparently deficient in this attractive mysterious substance. It is only the rare galaxy found within these cosmic deserts. One such object visible to amateurs is HS 0822 3542 ( at 08h 25m 55.44s 35d 32m 31.9s) an Ultracompact Blue Dwarf galaxy 41 million light years away in Lynx. This nearly 18th magnitude speck was seen with my 32 reflector from the dark west Texas skies in 2009. This type of galaxy is thought to be reigniting from a dwarf-dwarf interaction sparking starbirth in previously dormant or quiescent galaxy fragments and is defined as nearby (z 0.01) and smaller than a kiloparsec in size. The least massive end of the galactic grouping hierarchy contains groups and associations numbering from a few to several dozen. Our Milky Way is a member of one such group containing 54 galaxies (if all the Ultrafaint Dwarves or Dark Matter galaxies now being found are not counted) of which to date I have been able to spot all but seven. This Local Group resides in a filament running from Fornax and beyond on one side through us toward the center of the Local Supercluster (LSC). The great Virgo Cluster contains thousands of galaxies and is at a distance of 55 million light years. The main body of the Virgo cluster displays a recession velocity of 1200-1300 km s that of M87 its central galaxy. Using my 32 reflector the jet of M87 is visible as are the brightest of this giant galaxy s 10 000 globular clusters and recently discovered Ultracompact Dwarf Galaxies orbiting nearby. Galaxies in the central cluster have a spread in recession velocity from about 800 to1600 km s along our line of sight and include M86 M84 and M58.The LSC extends beyond that center to the Virgo W www.AmateurAstronomy.com 77 W group visible from the southern United States include NGC 4945 and 5102. Likely connected to these galaxies and centered nearby on the magnificent face-on spiral M83 is another subgroup of about 15 galaxies that includes NGC 5253 and 5264 all visible in 8 scopes. Larger apertures unveil the dwarves within these groups. There are several groups near to us within the LSC rendered less visible by our own galaxy s plane of obscuring gas and dust. These include Maffei 1 and 2 and the two Dwingeloo galaxies first glimpsed in the radio spectrum. With good conditions persistence and photographic finding charts these hidden treasures are visible with amateur equipment. IC 342 a remarkably beautiful face-on spiral only 10 MLY away would be a well-known showpiece were it not dimmed through our galaxy s veil. Clusters located just outside the domain of the LSC are those in Fornax and Eridanus which with several others constitute what is called the Southern Supercluster . These also are bridged with filaments of galaxies to our LSC and computer simulations of the overall structure of space reveal how these larger elements are related and connected on the scales of hundreds of millions of light years. Some researchers have considered the LSC part of a larger Hydra-CentaurusVirgo supercluster but in a way these designations are arbitrary if all galaxies groups clusters and superclusters are dynamically associated through the underlying influence and architecture of dark matter. In the 1980 s Margaret Geller and the late John Huchra showed through redshift surveys how a Great Wall of 1 732 galaxies in the northern hemisphere stretched over an enormous 500 million light years with the Coma galaxy cluster near its center. Twenty years later the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) expanded on this work to reveal the Sloan Great Wall of 11 243 galaxies stretching over 1.37 billion light years. Galaxies within the Sloan structure are visible in my 32 reflector including the 16th magnitude member of Supercluster 111 J120652.46 035952.8 seen at the 2012 Texas Star Party 3.8 degrees west of M61 in western Virgo. I anticipate the next great surveys of the Large Synoptic Telescope to show us the whole sky out to distances now only glimpsed in the Hubble Deep Fields is intertwined as part of a Universal Great Web . What is the future of interconnected galaxies and matter One might assume the density and gravity of such massive structures would provide sustained security to ensure their continued existence but the accelerating cosmic expansion has altered that thinking. It has been speculated the filaments that connect clusters and superclusters may someday be stretched so thin as to snap and draw back into the clusters along with their attendant galaxies. Superclusters themselves may stay intact for a longer time but the filaments governing external connections and internal cohesion could be jeopardized by the expansion. As these structures evolve future schoolchildren may need to shorten their Long Address . Dave Tosteson - djtost1 gmail.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 cloud twice as far away with a recession velocity ranging from 2000 to 2700 km sec. The brightest galaxy within this group is NGC 4261 at mag 10.4. Several 11-13th mag galaxies lie near it all clustering at the 2200-2500 km sec range. It is instructive to use a charting program including this velocity data as galaxies nearby on the sky may be at moderately or even vastly different distances. For instance NGC 4282 just 22 SE of 4261 is three times farther away. Though the two clusters Virgo and Virgo W can be differentiated by their recession velocities the three dimensional situation is not simply two well-defined and separated groups. There are a number of galaxies within this area of the sky falling between these two groups velocities in the range between 1600-2000 km sec. These include NGC 4324 and NGC 4255 both at 1700 km sec and NGC 4296A and NGC 4260 both at 1900 km s. Visualized in the third dimension against the plane of the sky it is possible to imagine strings of galaxies spreading along filaments connecting groups within the Supercluster. A similar experiment could be done connecting our Local Group backwards toward the Fornax Cluster and forward toward the center of the Supercluster through what Tully calls the Coma-Sculptor Cloud. M81 and 82 lay along this filament. North of the Supergalactic plane or the main filaments that run from us through Virgo to Virgo W are the Ursa Major I and II clusters. M109 the brightest galaxy in the group at mag 10.8 is a barred spiral seen at an angle which some think resembles what our Milky Way would look like if viewed externally. Nearly as bright within the northern component are NGC 3631 and NGC 3953 both about mag 10.9. One of the northern group s faintest members is UGC 6849 (NGC 3924) at mag 14.9 still within reach of moderate size telescopes. I estimate all these galaxies could be spotted with a 10 scope under good skies. To the south of the main disc of the LSC lies the Centaurus subgroup of about 25 galaxies centered on NGC 5128 also known as Centaurus A. Brighter galaxies in this 78 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Binocular Tune Up What To Do With a Free Pair of Binoculars Article and Images by Jeremiah Baker Figure 1 Figure 2 vidually with no improvement in the image I realized that there was a deeper problem. Inspecting the binoculars revealed that there was very thick and sticky grease around the right eyepiece housing and adjusting the IPD caused the eyepieces to twist along a lateral axis. Still I was confident that cleaning the dirty spots and lubricating the sticky spots would yield a functional set of binoculars. Jump ahead a few days. I have the binoculars at the work bench. Using a piece of sheet steel I am able to release the screw that holds the eye- S o I m at the Heart of America Star Party. I m at the swap meet. I m browsing along and here s this fella with quite a few pairs of binoculars and other assorted optical instruments laid out on the table. I look at some lens assemblies and porro prisms glance at the spotting scopes and find myself at the binoculars. I pick up a pair of 20x60s and look through them. I ask the gentleman how much fully expecting not to be able to afford them. After about the third time my mind finally gets the message that yes they are free. I ask to take them outside for a better look. Satisfied that the binoculars were usable I informed the gentleman that I would be glad to take them off his hands for him. A short time after getting back to my campsite the luster of getting such a good deal was quickly wearing off. I attached the binos on my mount and looked at a distant tree. I almost immediately noticed I was having trouble fusing the images reaching my eyes. After attempting to adjust the inter-pupilary distance (IPD) and the focus for each eye indiSummer 2014 Issue 83 Figure 3 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 79 pieces to the focusing rod (see Figure 1) This allowed the eyepieces to be individually removed from the binoculars. A little more work with a lot of paper towels and some solvent (I used acetone) nicely cleaned up the excess grease. I reassembled the eyepieces and took a look. I still had trouble fusing the images and the eyepieces were still floppy when adjusting the IPD. Its back to the work bench for me and my new binoculars. A closer inspection of the binoculars revealed that the eyepiece flop was due to a loose fit of the focusing mechanism in the housing. After removing the eyepieces the focusing knob can be unscrewed and the entire focusing mechanism pulled out of the binocular body. After much thought on how to improve the fit of the mechanism I decided to clean the rod and add foil tape to improve the fit into the body (see Figure 2). Reassembly after some light lubrication revealed only a small improvement. The majority of the wiggle now seemed to be in the threads of the focuser. Reviewing my work so far I have cleaned tightened and lubricated most of the moving parts of the focuser. I am still having trouble fusing the images from each eye. My eyes are good. Must be collimation. If you are like me the idea of collimating binoculars causes a brief shudder to crawl across you. But do not fear Now that I have done it I can say that it is not that bad. Perhaps the trickiest part of collimation is finding the collimation mechanisms. I can say that the two pair of binos I now own appear quite different on the surface. However their basic design concepts are the same. Provided the binoculars are not severely out of collimation the collimation is accomplished using the porro prisms housed just in front of the eyepieces. The prisms are held onto a mounting plate with a metal clip . (see Figures 3 & 4) The arrowed screws in the images are the collimation screws that pass to the outside through the housing. They work by forcing the prisms to tilt within the optical path thereby shifting the view. Binocular designers like to hide these screws so 80 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 Figure 4 to verify my progress. With collimation completed I filled the collimation screw holes with plumbers putty. My free binoculars are now working like a champ and I expect to be using them to complete the AL s deepsky binocular observing program. I hope this article helps those of you with troublesome binoculars to get them up and running. Good luck and clear skies Figure 5 they may not always be obvious. The 20x60s that I am working with have putty in the holes that matches the grip coating on the housing. My 7x50 Nikons that already work wonderfully have the housing covered in a rubber cloak that has to be pried up to reach the screws. Once the collimation screws are located the collimation can begin in earnest. Before I began I referred to the book Basic Optics and Optical Instruments which is the civilian reprint of Opticalman 3&2 originally printed by the U.S. Navy. It is a wonderful resource for binoculars and basic optical concepts. The book describes the navy s method for optical procedures. It describes the use of the Mk I 3x auxiliary telescope to assist in collimation of binoculars. Not having this specific scope is not a problem as any good small finder scope will work. I used a 6x30 finder with a cross-hair reticle with good results. The goal of collimation is to have both sides of the binoculars pointing in exactly parallel directions. The book declares the tolerance limits as follows The alignment vertically (one side pointing higher than the other) should be better than 2 minutes of arc (arcmin) The alignment left to right Summer 2014 Issue 83 should be better than 2 arcmin inward (think of being cross-eyed) and 4 arcmin outward (the condition opposite of being cross-eyed). With this information in hand I was ready to collimate First things first I mounted the binos in a solid mount. I took the setup outside and sighted a distant tower. Placing the finder scope between the eyepiece and the eye does two things first it magnifies the image by the product of the two devices (6x finder and a 20x binocular 120x) Second as with any increase in magnification it restricts the field of view. This has the affect of forcing one to see only the center of the binoculars FOV. With the finder scope I aligned the left side of the binoculars on the tower. Next I sighted through the right side of the binoculars. The place I saw is indicated as point R1 in (see Figure 5) with point L being the place the left half of the binocular was pointed to. I selected one of the collimation screws and gave a small turn (less than 1 8 of a rotation) which caused the image to shift laterally. Trying the other collimation screw caused the image to shift vertically. To make a long story short I pointed the right half of my binoculars to the point indicated by R2 . During the process I repeatedly checked both the right and left optics www.AmateurAstronomy.com 81 Parting Shots Jon Talbot At the end of March I had the opportunity to attend the Mid South Star Gaze at the Rainwater Observatory in French Camp MS. The weather didn t cooperate until the last night but I was able to get a few images with my 5D. This one is a mosaic of the Summer Milky Way rising over the Sangre telescope at Rainwater. I used my Canon 5D with a Rokinon 14mm f2.8 lens. (8) 30sec exposures f2.8 ISO 1600 stitched into a panorama. The image covers about 180 deg of sky. Dan Good imaged the fine detail in NGC 3521 with his 17 iDK at f5.5 and the bubble with the C-18 at f2.8. He then combined them for this image. NGC 3521 was not included in Messier s catalog even though the smaller and equally bright M65 and M66 galaxies in Leo were listed. This omission may explain why this object is infrequently imaged. At 30 000 l y distance and 50 000 l y it is easily viewable with a small telescope. A compact core packed with stars give it a flocculent classification which includes the tightly wound arms interspersed with dust. The bubble around the galaxy is thought to be tidal debris of unknown origin. 82 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83 SH2 132 by Barry Riu SH2 132 is about midway between the general centers of the Cygnus and Cassiopeia constellations. It s near the Lacerta boundary and 5 deg from the popular ic 1396 [in the basement of the Cepheus school house asterism]. Isolated Sulphur emission has been combined with the Halpha and Oiii data channels on a background RGB canvas. Image is 83 arc min in size and demonstrates the detail power with narrowSummer 2014 Issue 83 band emission filters. Although the stars do take some damage. There is a lot going on in the details of this image. The large but dim emission nebula lies about 10 370 light-years away. It spans 272 light-years across. Within the nebula is a star which is the very luminous SAO 34301 (HD 211853 mag 8.99). This star is a Wolf Rayet star also known as WR 153 In tandem with another O-type star (mag 8.5) they are responsible for the excitation and ionization of the gasses in this area and represents a fairly rare exam- ple of a Wolf-Rayet nebula. The original Palomar red plate image was the source used by Stewart Sharpless to identified the nebula back in 1959. Taken with the 48 Samuel Oschin wide field Schmidt telescope. www.AmateurAstronomy.com 83 Messier 106 with Supernova Bill Williams There has been a supernova discovered in the gorgeous magnitude 8.3 Canes Venatici galaxy M106 which lies 25.7 million light years distant. It was discovered by a PanSTARRS telescope May 20 2014 and is now called SN 2014bc. One of the interesting aspects of this supernova is that it lies immediately adjacent to the galaxy nucleus (1 arcsec to the east) I searched the net for visual sightings of this SN but found none. I did find a post on Cloudy Nights forums by veteran observer Mike Harvey who did not find it visually with his 32 telescope nor was he able to view it in his Mallincam due to the proximity of the supernova to the core which would require additional processing. 84 www.AmateurAstronomy.com I used astro-processing software CCDStack to ferret the SN out from the nucleus using a DDP technique in the attached 3.5 hour LRGB exposure using the 14.5-inch RCOS and Apogee camera at Chiefland May 23. Also visible in the SN 2014bc image is the integral-shaped astrophysical jet that courses through the nucleus. A mosaic I prepared in 2009 also shows this active nucleus galaxy phenomenon. M 106 also carries the designation NGC 4258 and is classified as a SAb type galaxy. Its discovery is credited ot Pierre Mechain in 1781 and reported as a nebula . Mechain reported the find ot Messier but too late to make his original list. It was actually added to Messier s famous list after the fact by Helen Sawyer-Hogg. The galaxy spans 135 000 light years and its radial velocities would suggest it is a member of the Ursa Major group along with M108 & 109 but its estimated distance is only about 1 2 of theirs. As such it is probably a member of the Coma-Sculptor group which includes NGC 253 and M64. M 106 is the center of a group of a group of galaxies that includes NGC 4242 (nice edge-on) and the pair NGC 4485 4490 and an irregular galaxy NGC 4449. It has an active galactic nucleus and is believed to contain a massive central object that may be a black hole of about 39 million solar masses and diameter of 3 000 AU. Summer 2014 Issue 83 Summer 2014 Issue 83 www.AmateurAstronomy.com 85 86 www.AmateurAstronomy.com Summer 2014 Issue 83