Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sky Shots

The limiting magnitude here is about 5, which is not bad considering our proximity to Houston, Huntsville and so many prisons. (Prisons are lit up by dozens of sodium lights, most of which illuminate the sky as well as the ground.)

The light dome of Huntsville dominates the southern view from my house, but even so it is still possible to see quite a lot. The view from the Sam Houston State University observatory is even better.

My EQ-1 mount is not well-suited for taking images through a telescope, but it is adequate for making wide-angle shots. One of the rings that came with my telescope has a set screw for mounting a camera. Here are a couple of shots of the sky from my house.

Milky Way in the region of Cygnus
The Sun and Earth reside in a "spur" arm of the Milky Way Galaxy call the Orion-Cygnus arm. It is a relatively small arm located between two larger spiral arms that probably radiate out from the galactic center. When you look up at the constellation Cygnus, the Swan, you are looking up through the Orion-Cygnus arm. Here is a labeled version:

The center of galaxy is located in the constellation Sagittarius. Sagittarius is a very rich star field. It contains a number of bright, easily identifiable deep sky objects, including the Eagle Nebula, the Lagoon Nebula, Ptolemy's Cluster, and the Sagittarius Star Cloud. The Sagittarius Star Cloud, also known as Messier 24, is a portion of the Sagittarius spiral arm that is relatively free of the dust clouds that normally obscure our view of the galactic plane.

Milky Way, including Galactic Center, in Sagittarius
This image above was shot through the light dome of Huntsville. Here is a labeled version:

1 comment:

  1. These came out very nice, Rory! Congrats on the blog, too. It'll be much easier to keep up with what you are doing!