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Astrophotography Course: 12 February 2016

photo 1At 7:30 PM on 12 February at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, 5714 Medusa St, Sechelt, our members will be teaching an introduction to astrophotography course. We will talk about equipment, including the use of cell phones, point and shoot cameras, DSLRs, and CCDs, as well as discuss image processing. Admission is free, donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Winners of the First Annual Bill Iden Memorial Astrophotography Contest

Our First Annual Bill Iden Astrophotography Contest was judged by RASC Vice President Chris Gainor.

chris gainor

Chris Gainor

First Place: The top photo for Chris was Mike Bradleys’ photo of NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula. Chris said: “The final product was sharp and showed features clearly inside the nebula.”

Iden 1st Place jpeg

Second Place: Brian Kelso’s first (top) photo of the eclipsed moon in the trees. Chris said: “It was an interesting composition with the right light level.”

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Third Place: James MacWilliam’s reprocessed image of M31 Andromeda Galaxy. Chris said: “I thought this was a good effort with this image.” I’m having trouble lifting this image from the PDF file that James sent me. As soon as I get it, I’ll add it to the post.

Congratulations to all who took part. I hope that even more people enter our contest next year.

Clear Skies, Charles

Sunspots: 9 November 2015

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I took advantage of the clear skies yesterday to take an image of the large group of sunspots (AR2449) while it was still there. Unfortunately the group is very much smaller now than it was last week, but still made a nice image. Attached is a white light shot, taken in monochrome, then cropped and colourised. It was a stack of 300 images.

I decided to take the images from the observatory as the wide horizons make it possible to follow the sun at this time of year without worrying about it hiding behind trees, unlike at home in Roberts Creek!

Mike Bradley

Lunar Eclipse Photos

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Bryan Kelso took these three photos of the eclipse on 27 September at our SCC Observatory site with a DSLR & 300mm lens. Only a few weeks left to get your astrophotos in for the Bill Iden Astrophotography Contest. Entries must be in by the meeting on 13 November.

Regards, Charles Ennis

Solar Photo

Sun500strcurcoltext 3 aug m bradley

I took this last week with my Ha scope, single stacked, the image is a stack of the best 250 frames out of 500. The sun is quite quiet at present with only a few spots but some nice prominences, some of which are seen here. Can’t miss any opportunities to look at the sun!

Mike Bradley, Past President

Astrophotography Contest

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The SCC has created the William Iden Award for Astrophotography. Bill, one of the members of our original club who passed on a few years ago, was known for his astrophotography skills. We’d all like to see YOUR astrophotography skills, so we’re running an astrophotography contest. Photos should be submitted to the SCC President no later than 13 November, 2015. The award will be presented to the winner at our Christmas meeting on 11 December 2015.

In future we’ll be looking for photos taken during the previous year, but for this inaugural contest we’ll accept any photos taken by the applicants. Please give us some details of how the photo was taken.

Charles Ennis, President, SCC RASC

Jupiter/Venus Conjunction

Our member Bryan Kelso took four photos of Jupiter with his Canon 30D camera on the nights of June 28th & 29th.

001Venus & Jupiter June 29_15

4 sec; ISO 400; 80 mm

007Venus & Jupiter June 29_15

5 sec; ISO 400; 300 mm – note 2 0f Jupiter’s moons

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5 sec; ISO 400; 80 mm

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2.5 sec; ISO 400; 205 mm – note 2 0f Jupiter’s moons

Nice work Bryan!

Sun and Smoke

5 July

5 July

The ancients were able to view sunspots by viewing the sun through smoke. Here member Bob Evermon has captured the sun through forest fire smoke with his Canon 250mm and you can see them for yourself. Bob later tried using the smoke again with his Skywatch  at full power with the Canon SLR with adapters only using the Sechelt Forest Fire as a filter with the result below. NOTE: Don’t look at the sun without the correct protective filter!

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Unusual Apparition

photo by David Thompson

photo by David Thompson

David Thompson got this photo of the sun through the smoke from the forest fire on the western slopes above Sechelt Inlet with the ash falling on his sky light and a dragon fly in the foreground and send it to me on July 6. “No Sunspots visible,” David said, “But lots of fly ash (on the sky-light) and a dragon fly doing a very good impression of Icarus.” He used his Panasonic F150 1/2000sec. @ f8

Regards, Charles

Strange Solar Activity

bob evermon june 2015 2bob evermon June 2015

David Hathaway, head of the solar physics group at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre reports that solar activity is “the weakest in 200 years”. “There is no scientist alive who has seen a solar cycle as weak as this one,” reports Andrés Munoz-Jaramillo of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. Puzzled scientists are witnessing the sun’s oddest magnetic reversals on record.

Normally, the sun’s magnetic north and south poles change polarity approximately every 11 years. During a magnetic-field reversal, the sun’s polar magnetic fields weaken, drop to zero, and then emerge again with the opposite polarity. Douglas Biesecker at NASA’s Space Environment Center says that “the magnetic shift is notable only because it signals the peak of the solar maximum”. However this cycle the sun’s north magnetic pole reversed polarity more than a year ago, so it has the same polarity as the south pole.

“The delay between the two reversals is unusually long,” said solar physicist Karel Schrijver at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif.

Scientists said they are puzzled, but not concerned, by the unusual delay. They expect the sun’s south pole to change polarity next month, based on current satellite measurements of its shifting magnetic fields.

Recently there has been an unexplained scarcity of sunspots. “It is not just that there are fewer sunspots,” says Dr. Schrijver, “But they are less active sunspots.” However, after months of quiescence, the sun has recently unleashed vast streams of charged particles into space five times in as many days last month, and flared again last week. Even so, these outbursts exhibited a fraction of the force of previous solar maximums.

Here are some photos by our member Bob Evermon, taken from his Skywatch from May 8 and June 23rd.