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The RASC Robotic Telesacope

The RASC National Robotic Telescope is up and running and an archive of image data is now being made available to RASC members.

If you’d like to try your hand at processing some high resolution astro images the data can be obtained from the link that was included in your September RASC bulletin (mine arrived today). Image files are available for download  in either  .jpg or Raw format.

I took a look at the raw images that had been taken of the North American Nebula with a 20″ scope and a DSLR, 25 two minute images. My preliminary image was processed with DeepSkyStacker and PixInsight, using curves and levels with no noise reduction, the result is shown below. Not at all bad for 10 minutes of stacking and processing. It would be better if calibration files had been made available. Nevertheless, this is going to be FUN, give it a try, download some data and experiment!

Michael

Astronomy in the Park: 24 August

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Danny Sklazeski setting up his hydrogen alpha scope to show visitors to Porpoise Bay Provincial Park the Sun.

The Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC is bringing the popular Astronomy in the Park program back to Porpoise Bay Provincial Park in Sechelt on Saturday, 24 August from 1 to 11:30 p.m. There will be club telescopes, an information booth with membership information, displays and astronomy related giveaways.

The first “star” of the day will be the sun, and with the club’s safe solar telescopes, participants will be able to look for fiery prominences and sun-spots. Club members will be on hand with telescopes all afternoon and into the night to answer questions and show off the wonders of our universe.

At dusk, our astronomers will have their telescopes in the park picnic area for viewing Jupiter, Saturn, and countless other celestial objects. With clear skies and a new moon, participants should be able to see constellations, star clusters and nebulae. It’s the best show on earth and it’s absolutely free.

Remember to bring a flashlight with a red light to preserve night vision.

The Festival is a free, family event open to the public, organized by volunteers, and made possible by Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. Please respect all park rules. Weather permitting.

UPDATE, SATURDAY 24 AUG: The forecast this afternoon looks doable for setting up the booth and solar telescopes. The forecast on ClearDarkSky for this evening shows some cloud cover, poor transparency, and poor to average seeing, so it isn’t very likely that we’ll be doing night time viewing: We’ll keep a close eye on this.

Our SCC Observatory will NOT be open tonight.

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Our Centre’s 2018 information booth in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park

Speaker for April 12: Alan Dyer

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At 7:30 PM, 2019 April 12, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC presents the renowned astrophotographer Alan Dyer, whose topic will be “Chasing the Northern Lights”. Alan will recount his tales of chasing the aurora in Canada and Norway, with many images and movies of the Northern Lights, including of the infamous “Steve” aurora.

Alan Dyer is co-author with Terence Dickinson of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide, and most recently of ebooks on astrophotography. He is a contributing editor to SkyNews and Sky & Telescope magazines, and a contributor to the annual RASC Observer’s Handbook. His photos and videos have appeared on Spaceweather.com, National Geographic, CBSNews, and more. The asteroid #78434 is named in his honour.

Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Flaming star Nebula (IC405)

The Flaming Star Nebula is an emission and reflection nebula in the constellation Auriga, part of a molecular cloud illuminated by the “runaway” star AE Aurigae. This bright star is a transient visitor to this region, ejected from the Orion Nebula by the collision of two binary star groups. Ultraviolet radiation from the star ionizes and excites hydrogen gas glows to glow red. A smaller region closer to the star shines blue, due to the dust reflecting the starlight. (nebula description from “The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets”)

Image taken on Feb.5th from Roberts Creek, with a 120mm Megrez and a DSLR camera. Sky conditions were q good with an SQM of 20 but humidity was high at >75%.

Our Christmas Comet

Finally the clouds were gone and we were able to view the comet 46P Wirtanen last night. Club members viewed it from the observatory and I took the opportunity to photograph it from home.

46P/Wirtanen is a small short-period comet with a current orbital period of 5.4 years. It is currently about 12 million kms from earth. I wasn’t able to see the comet by eye but was easy to see in binoculars or the scope of course.

The image here was taken with a Canon 60Da on a 120 mm Megrez refractor, it is a stack of 3 sets of 5 frames at 30,60 and 90 seconds with flats and dark flats applied. Mike

Crescent Nebula

The Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888) is a cosmic bubble about 25 light-years across in the constellation Cygnus, blown by winds from its central, bright, massive star. The nebula’s central star is classified as a Wolf-Rayet star (WR 136). The star is shedding its outer envelope in a strong stellar wind, ejecting the equivalent of the Sun’s mass every 10,000 years. The nebula is 5000 light years from us.

I captured the image last weekend with a Megrez 120mm, Canon 60Da camera, unfortunately exposure was limited to 120 minutes in all, the image was processed in PixInsight. Mike

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Open Night at Observatory Cancelled

Due to a shortage of instructors we have had to cancel the public night at the SCAC Observatory for October 13th.
Please accept our apologies for this.