Category Stars

Imaging Nova Delphini 2013 and NGC 6905

With all of the excitement of learning that a star went Nova, I rushed out to capture the celestial event with my telescope.  At first, I did not know how to find it in the sky so I opened up Stellarium and tried to figure out what stars were nearby so I could program them into my CG-5 mount and slew to them.  After discovering that my hand control does not allow me to enter HIP designations for stars, I looked for another solution.  I searched around the net and came across other people’s images that targeted the The Blue Flash Planetary Nebula (NGC 6905) so I did the same.  I was not sure that I would get the Nova in the shot but I tested it out (under a full moon on 8/21/2013)) and sure enough, I got it!  Since I imaged the Nova under a full moon, the image did not come out that great.  The star colors were washed out and I had to do a ton of post processing in Photoshop to make it look nice.  Since then, I imaged it again on 8/26/2013 with no Moon present and it came out much better.  Here are the results:

Nova Delphini 2013 and NGC 6905

Nova Delphini 2013 and NGC 6905

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Lost Under the Stars with the Whirpool Galaxy, Andromeda, and Vega

Last night, I was out in my backyard getting lost in the night.  It was a crystal clear night and the Moon was reflecting a lot of light since it was almost full.  Not a great night to shoot objects in the sky due to the Moon’s light pollution but that did not stop me.  Here are some of the pictures I took the night of August 28, 2012:

In hopes of catching the Whirlpool Galaxy before it set behind the trees in my backyard, I took this image and happened to capture the Galaxy between the trees.

The Andromeda Galaxy rises above the trees in my backyard from 10:15pm on through the night. I love capturing this Galaxy.

Vega is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, the fifth brightest star in the night sky and the second brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere, after Arcturus. It is a relatively close star at only 25 light-years from Earth, and, together with Arcturus and Sirius, one of the most luminous stars in the Sun’s neighborhood.

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Stellular Showdown: Comparing the Sun, Antares, and Arcturus

It is interesting to learn the sheer size and scale of objects in the sky.  It is hard for me to wrap my head around the mass of objects.  For example, the Sun weighs 2 billion billion billion tons, a mass so large that it is hard for me to relate to.  One of my favorite stars to look at in the sky is called Antares, which is classified as a red supergiant star.  It is referenced below in an image I took back in July 2012, which is only a 13 second exposure taken with my DSLR camera.

Antares (taken with my DSLR)

Antares (taken with my DSLR)

I always thought the Sun was huge, and it is when you compare it to the planets in our Solar System.  For example, you could fit 1 million Earths inside the Sun…now that is huge!  When compared to other Stars in our Solar System, the Sun is actually quite small.  Compared to Antares, the Sun becomes insignificant.  Antares is enormous!  In terms of weight, this star boasts 12.4 M (solar mass), which is the equivalent of 12.4 times the mass of our Sun.  If you take the time to calculate that out, you get a number with a lot zeros after it.  Arcturus is another one of my favorite stars to gaze at because of its orange yellow glow in the night sky.

Arcturus (Tak Sky 90II, 30 sec exposure)

Arcturus (Tak Sky 90II, 30 sec exposure)

Because mass is hard for me to relate to, sometimes a visual aid helps tell the story of how different objects compare to one another.  Here is a relative size comparison among the Antares, Arcturus, and the Sun (see below)...

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