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From July 12 to August 12 the Gibsons Public Art Gallery will be presenting a collection of photos, Heavenly Wonders- Astrophotography by Erwin Diener. We invite you to be moved and challenged by the profound beauty and vastness of cosmic space while reflecting on the human experience. This meet and greet event is scheduled for Saturday July 21, 1 pm – 4 pm. Members of the Sunshine Coast Centre will be present to interpret the photos and show the public views of the sky with telescopes.
The M45 Pleiades Clusteris thought to contain around 500 stars spread across a sphere 14 light-years wide at a distance of 400 light-years. The cluster was called the “Seven Sisters” in mythology, and at least seven of the stars can be seen with the naked eye. At this time of year it well placed overhead for observing or imaging. I took advantage a very clear evening on Feb.11th to capture this image from Roberts Creek with a 120mm refractor and a modified DSLR. Combined exposure time was 120 mins. Mike
Attached is another image I took yesterday, it shows a nice wispy prominence extending two or three earth diameters above the “surface”. Like the image earlier today this was taken in monochrome with a H alpha scope and then coloured as a last step.
Even though the sun cycle approaches solar minimum, there is still plenty to look and wonder at.
I took the attached image yesterday, it shows a huge solar filament meandering across the solar disc. I estimate that this must be 700,000 km or so in length. Solar filaments are regions of dense, cool gas held in place by magnetic fields, this one has been visible for several days now.
This image of Messier 5 was imaged from Roberts Creek on June 28/29, 2016 with a Megrez 120mm, Canon 60Da, and a x1.6 Barlow lens. Guided exposures were taken at 10, 30, 60 and 120 seconds for a total exposure time of 30 mins. at 1600 ISO. Stacking was with Deep Sky Stacker, processing in Photoshop CS2 and PixInsight. The sky quality was good the moon had not risen, unfortunately I forgot to take an SQM reading.
Globular Cluster M5 is 24,500-light years away in the constellation Serpens. At about 13 billion, it is one of the most ancient globular clusters known, having formed only a few billion years after the Big Bang. M5 is one of the 160 globular clusters known to reside in a spherical halo around the Milky Way’s galactic center. M5 is one of the larger globular clusters, containing about 100,000 stars within a diameter of 165 light-years.
M5 is located in the constellation Serpens Caput, just north of Zubeneschamali. It is barely detectable to the unaided eye as a faint star but in binoculars, it appears as a faint, fuzzy star. The image here was taken through a 120mm Megrez refractor. Some amateur observers think that M5 is the finest globular cluster north of the celestial equator for small telescopes – even better than the celebrated M13, the Great Hercules cluster.
Last night (4 June) 24 people of all ages attended our club’s “Last Call for Jupiter” Star Party for members at the SCC Observatory. It was a beautiful night, with just a trace of high cloud. There were 10 telescopes set up including the observatory’s 14 inch Celestron Edge HD. Later in the session our VP, Mike Bradley, hooked up his camera to the observatory’s telescope to capture images of the planets.
Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn were all prominent in the sky, with Mars making a close approach to Earth and Saturn at opposition.
We look forward to seeing the results of the photography session.
Charles Ennis, President
This image of Messier 82 was imaged from Roberts Creek on May 29/30 2016 with a Megrez 120mm, Canon 60Da, and a x1.6 Barlow lens. Guided exposures were taken at 30, 120, 300 and 600 seconds for a total exposure time of 68 mins. at 1600 ISO. Stacking was with Deep Sky Stacker, processing in Photoshop CS2 and PixInsight. The sky quality (SQM) reading was an excellent 21.9, the best I’ve ever recorded from this location, all my neighbour’s lights were off and the moon had not risen!
Messier 82 is a starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major in which stars are forming at very high rates. It is a member of the M81 Group, this group is circumpolar, we can see it from our latitude all year round. Finding M82 is not particularly difficult as the “Plough” asterism of Ursa Major can be used as the starting point. The M81 / M82 pair is located 10 degrees northwest of Dubhe, the northwest corner star of the bowl of the Plough.
M82 is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and has a center one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy’s center. The starburst activity is thought to have been triggered by interaction with neighbouring galaxy M81. As the closest starburst galaxy to our own, M82 is the prototypical example of this galaxy type, the Seyfert galaxies. In 2014, in studying M82, scientists discovered the brightest pulsar yet known, designated M82 X-2, it lies at the centre of the galaxy.
On 10 April between 2:48 and 3:28 PM our members gathered at the SCC Observatory to witness the Moon occulting Aldebaran.
Our treasurer Bruce Fryer reports:
“My wife and I also enjoyed Sunday afternoon stargazing and getting a donor scope out of mothballs. The clouds cleared back, the sun shone warmly and then Aldebaran popped out from behind the moon—a tiny pinprick of light in the blue sky—only visible if you knew exactly where to look. Who would have thought! Thanks, Neil and the rest of the gang that came along.”
Our VP Mike Bradley used our Malincam to get this photo of the Sun. Mike reports:
“Here is an image of sunspot AR2529 taken on Sunday during the Moon/Aldebaran outing to the observatory.
‘Clouds made observing the occultation rather challenging, although David was skilled enough to be able to glimpse it. The rest of us spent time looking at the sun as well. The image here was taken through the Mallincam using a Mylar style filter on an ED80, as a 2 minute video and then stacked and colourised. If you have a suitable solar scope, this is a very impressive sunspot group, with definite umbra and penumbra features, it may have a few more days before it fades – so take a look.”
On Tuesday, 29 March, after doing drift alignments on the SCC Observatory telescope, David Thompson and Mike Bradley took a few short exposure images of M42 with a DSLR camera through the observatory scope. This was the first image taken through the new scope (20 seconds duration, no stacking), and while focusing could have been tighter, Mike thinks it gives a good idea of the potential of the equipment.
This image of the Horse-head and Flame Nebulae imaged from Roberts Creek on Jan. 14/15th 2016 with a Megrez 120mm, Canon 60Da, 47 mins total exposures at 1600 ISO through an Astronomik UHC filter. This image includes a total of four nebulae at a distance of 1,500 light-years, all related to the large stellar nursery in Orion that includes the Great Nebula M42. The largest nebula in this group is the deep red emission nebula IC 434, appearing as a waterfall of ionized hydrogen at the right side of the image. An intervening cloud of interstellar dust creates the silhouette of a horse’s head, giving rise to the name of the dark nebula B33. The Flame Nebula, also known as NGC 2024 is at the left, this is another emission nebula, a region of glowing hydrogen gas in the shape of a burning bush. Between the Flame and the Horsehead is the smaller blue reflection nebula NGC 2023, caused by a cloud of fine dust reflecting the light of a central star. The brilliant blue star in the upper part of the image is the second magnitude star Alnitak, better known as the left-side star in the belt of Orion, the Hunter.