Saturday, August 17, 2013

Messier 16

I imaged Messier 16 back in July 2010, but was never satisfied with the results. It was one of my early attempts at imaging with the astrograph and the Canon EOS Rebel XS (1000D).

I've learned a lot about image processing since then and have gained better tools. So, occasionally I like to go back and rework older images to see if I can make them better. I'm satisfied enough with this image to post it, but I would like to go back and reshoot it one day when I get a chance.

Messier 16, also known as the Eagle Nebula, is perhaps most famous for the Hubble Space Telescope image of the Pillars of Creation. The pillars are visible in this image near the center, although they certainly don't look as spectacular here as in the Hubble image!

Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula; Epsilon-200 on NJP mount; 19x120 at ISO-800

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2013 Perseids

I went out to the Sam Houston State University observatory the night of August 12/13 to watch the Perseid meteor shower and try to catch a few on camera. The shower wasn't as active as I'd hoped, and as the night progressed some thin clouds rolled in; but, there were still quite a few really nice fireballs and several fainter meteors. Here are pictures from the event.


Meteor over the dome.

Perseid fireball.

Faint meteor right of center.  The Andromeda Galaxy is the fuzzy patch located to the lower-right of the meteor, just above the power line.

Things that Looked Like Meteors, but were not Meteors:

I got really excited when I saw this bright streak on the camera preview, but after examining the images before and after I found that it was just a satellite. I have not been able to determine which satellite this is. Two more satellite trails are visible a little to the right of the streak at the bottom edge of the image.
I am uncertain about this little streak, which appears above the Milky Way in the constellation Ophiuchus. Its trajectory seems to point back in the direction of the Perseid radiant, but it may also be a flare from a satellite. The image was taken a little before 10:00 PM, which supports my satellite hypothesis since sunlight would still be shining over the horizon at the altitudes where many satellites orbit.

Other Shots:

This is the dome that houses the big telescope. The building to the left is the classroom. The streak on the left edge above the classroom building was created by an airplane's running lights.

There was a break in the clouds right along the line of sight with the Milky Way. I enhanced the Milky Way a bit in this image to bring out the detail.

Mike Prokosch, the observatory administrator, watches for meteors as the clouds start rolling in.

The Milky Way in the vicinity of Sagittarius, and a cloud.

Star trails over the observatory.