Saturday, September 22, 2018





WINDOW SEAT OVER HUDSON BAY Image Credit & Copyright: Ralf Rohner

On the August 18 night flight from San Francisco to Zurich, a window seat offered this tantalizing view when curtains of light draped a colorful glow across the sky over Hudson Bay. Constructed by digitally stacking six short exposures made with a hand held camera, the scene records the shimmering aurora borealis or northern lights just as the approaching high altitude sunrise illuminated the northeastern horizon. It also caught the flash of a Perseid meteor streaking beneath the handle stars of the Big Dipper of the north. A few days past the meteor shower's peak, its trail still points across the sky toward Perseus. Beautiful aurorae and shower meteors both occur in Earth's upper atmosphere at altitudes of 100 kilometers or so, far above commercial airline fights. The aurora are caused by energetic charged particles from the magnetosphere, while meteors are trails of comet dust.


Friday, September 21, 2018


IRREGULARGALAXY NGC 55 Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Pugh

Irregular galaxy NGC 55 is thought to be similar to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). But while the LMC is about 180,000 light-years away and is a well known satellite of our own Milky Way Galaxy, NGC 55 is more like 6 million light-years distant and is a member of the Sculptor Galaxy Group. Classified as an irregular galaxy, in deep exposures the LMC itself resembles a barred disk galaxy. Spanning about 50,000 light-years, NGC 55 is seen nearly edge-on though, presenting a flattened, narrow profile in contrast with our face-on view of the LMC. Just as large star forming regions create emission nebulae in the LMC, NGC 55 is also seen to be producing new stars. This highly detailed galaxy portrait highlights a bright core crossed with dust clouds, telltale pinkish star forming regions, and young blue star clusters in NGC 55.

Thursday, September 20, 2018




The planetarium in Fortaleza "Planetário Rubens de Azevedo" in Brazil will soon be utilizing the latest Zeiss hybrid technology for its presentations. At the end of August, our technicians installed a new SKYMASTER ZKP 4 planetarium projector with LED illumination. The previous SKYMASTER will move to a new location and will continue to provide brilliant stars and other celestial objects. The new two-channel VELVET fulldome system not only replaces the more than eight-year-old system, but with its black background in the image, it is the perfect complement to the SKYMASTER ZKP 4. With powerdome both systems work coupled for a synchronous display of the star field and digital overlays. The planetarium in Fortaleza now also uses WorldWide Telescope for powerdome for virtual journeys into the universe and will open its new era of educational work with a series of new fulldome shows.

(Image courtesy ZEISS, A. Frenzel)


The roof of the new science dome in Heilbronn is just visible in this actual image of the new experimenta. Inside technicians are installing exiting technology. Last week our specialists have assisted the calibration of the digital star fields with the UNIVERSARIUM Mark IX sky.

(Photo credits: ZEISS | G. Helmer)


Just over a month into its mission, Parker Solar Probe has returned first-light data from each of its four instrument suites. These early observations – while not yet examples of the key science observations Parker Solar Probe will take closer to the Sun – show that each of the instruments is working well. The instruments work in tandem to measure the Sun's electric and magnetic fields, particles from the Sun and the solar wind, and capture images of the environment around the spacecraft. The mission’s first close approach to the Sun will be in November 2018, but even now, the instruments are able to gather measurements of what’s happening in the solar wind closer to Earth.

First light data from Parker Solar Probe's WISPR (Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe) instrument suite. The right side of this image — from WISPR's inner telescope — has a 40-degree field of view, with its right edge 58.5 degrees from the Sun's center. The bright object slightly to the right of the image's center is Jupiter. The left side of the image is from WISPR’s outer telescope, which has a 58-degree field of view and extends to about 160 degrees from the Sun. It shows the Milky Way, looking at the galactic center. There is a parallax of about 13 degrees in the apparent position of the Sun as viewed from Earth and from Parker Solar Probe.
Credit: NASA/Naval Research Laboratory/Parker Solar Probe

First light data from EPI-Lo (the lower-energy Energetic Particle Instrument), part of the ISʘIS (Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun) suite aboard Parker Solar Probe.
Credit: NASA/Princeton University/Parker Solar Probe

First light data from EPI-Hi (the higher-energy Energetic Particle Instrument), part of the ISʘIS (Integrated Science Investigation of the Sun) suite aboard Parker Solar Probe.
Credit: NASA/Princeton University/Parker Solar Probe

Data gathered during the FIELDS suite's boom deployment, measuring the magnetic field as the boom swung away from Parker Solar Probe. The early data is the magnetic field of the spacecraft itself, and the instruments measured a sharp drop in the magnetic field as the boom extended away from the spacecraft. Post-deployment, the instruments are measuring the magnetic field in the solar wind.
Credit: NASA/UC Berkeley/Parker Solar Probe

Early data from Parker Solar Probe's FIELDS instrument suite (bottom) showing a radio burst from a solar flare, with data from NASA's Wind mission (top) for comparison.
Credit: NASA/UC Berkeley/Parker Solar Probe/Wind

Early data from the Solar Probe Cup, part of the SWEAP (Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons) instrument suite aboard Parker Solar Probe, showing a gust of solar wind (the red streak).
Credit: NASA/University of Michigan/Parker Solar Probe

First light data from the SPAN-A (Solar Probe Analyzer Ahead) instrument aboard Parker Solar Probe, which is part of the SWEAP (Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons) instrument suite. This data shows measurements of solar wind ions (top) and solar wind electrons (bottom).
Credit: NASA/University of Michigan/Parker Solar Probe


SATURN, NEPTUNE AND URANUS Taken by ed lomeli on September 16, 2018 @ Sacramento, California, USA

C9.25 / 2X barlow / ASI 290MM and ASI 224MC

Completed imaging all planets other than Earth in 16 hour period. Conditions during Mercury imaging were too terrible for posting.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


.. 11pm ..


COCOON NEBULA DEEP FIELD Image Credit & Copyright: Marcel Drechsler (Baerenstein Obs.)

Inside the Cocoon Nebula is a newly developing cluster of stars. The cosmic Cocoon on the upper right also punctuates a long trail of obscuring interstellar dust clouds to its left. Cataloged as IC 5146, the beautiful nebula is nearly 15 light-years wide, located some 3,300 light years away toward the northern constellation of the Swan (Cygnus). Like other star forming regions, it stands out in red, glowing, hydrogen gas excited by young, hot stars and blue, dust-reflected starlight at the edge of a nearly invisible molecular cloud. In fact, the bright star near the center of this nebula is likely only a few hundred thousand years old, powering the nebular glow as it slowly clears out a cavity in the molecular cloud's star forming dust and gas. This exceptionally deep color view of the Cocoon Nebula traces tantalizing features within and surrounding the dusty stellar nursery.

COMET 21P VISITS M35 AND JELLYFISH NEBULA! Taken by Bill Williams on September 15, 2018 @ Chiefland Astronomy Village, Florida

Just couldnt miss the opportunity to capture Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner visiting Gemini open cluster M35 last Saturday morning and Jellyfish Nebula IC 443 Sunday morning! Wet Hurricane Florence to the north had other ideas sending waves of hot moisture and lightning over me during my efforts at my observatory. But my fast f/3.8 Vixen refractor was up to the task recording the comet both mornings using an old SBIG 11K CCD camera between storm bands! Attached Sept. 15 and Sept 16 images are aligned so you can produce a mouseover as on my website. Also, a combo image shows both comet images combined. Another image shows the Vixen refractor and camera piggybacked atop my guidescope 14.5-inch Ritchey-Chretien telescope. A gif animation on my website illustrates my meteorological astro-adventure!

MOON Taken by Howard Eskildsen on February 24, 2018 @ Ocala, Florida, USA

Craters Frozen in Time
Around 3.85 billion years ago a massive impact formed the Imbrium basin, obliterating any pre-existing craters within the basin. Remnants of the outer rim of this basin can be seen on the lower right of the image as the Montes Apenninus, and on the upper right of the image as the Montes Caucasus.
Later impacts created Archimedes, Spurr, and Cassini, which were subsequently partially buried by basalt lava flows. North of Aristillus, a faint ring reveals the remains of a crater that was nearly lost in the lava. The volcanic flows produced the flat surfaces which embayed the mountains and isolated other peaks such as the Montes Spitzbergen.
After the volcanic activity ceased, further craters pocked the flattened terrain. A few such as Aristillus, Autolycus, and Theaetetus, exceed 25 km diameter, but most of the later craters are less than 15 km in diameter.
Aristillus is the largest fresh-appearing crater with central peaks, terraced walls, sharp rim, and hints of rays visible on this image. It is considered Copernican in age, or less than 1.1 billion years old. In other words, all of the features and events discussed occurred eons ago, and were already frozen in time before there were eyes on Earth to marvel at the Moon.

COMET 21P, IC443, NGC 2174 Taken by Norbert Mrozek on September 17, 2018 @ Sauerland Germany

Takahashi Epsilon 130D, Canon 6D
30 x 1 min. Iso 6400

MOONDOGS, MARS AND SATURN Taken by Marek Nikodem on September 18, 2018 @ near Szubin, Poland

After the day I saw the sundogs, I expected that on both sides of the gibbous Moon I would also see paraselene. Thats how it happened. The view was exceptionally beautiful, because in addition to the Moon, but also closer to its shield, Mars and Saturn planets were also visible. It was really great.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

21/P GIACOBINI-ZINNER Taken by Adriano Valvasori on September 14, 2018 @ Mayhill

FSQ106 f/5
Sbig STL-11000M
L10x120s bin1
RGB1x120s bin2

COMET 21P IN ORION Taken by rolando ligustri on September 18, 2018 @ from New Mexico ,

apo 106/530 ccd PL11002 L=15x120sec

SALT, PEPPER, AND ICE Video Credit & Copyright: Maroun Habib (Moophz)

 There's a "camera" comet now moving across the sky. Just a bit too dim to see with the unaided eye, Comet 21P / Giacobini-Zinner has developed a long tail that makes it a good sight for binoculars and sensitive cameras. The movement of the Comet 21P on the sky was captured last week in the featured time-lapse video compressing 90 minutes into about 2.5 seconds. What might seem odd is that the 21P's tail is not following the comet's movement. This is because comet tails always point away from the Sun, and the comet was not moving toward the Sun during the period photographed. Visible far in the background on the upper left is the Salt & Pepper star cluster, M37, while the bright red star V440 Auriga is visible just about the frame's center. This 2-km ball of dust-shedding ice passed its nearest to the Sun and Earth only last week and is now fading as it crosses into southern skies. Comet 21P should remain visible, however, and photogenic to stabilized cameras, for another month or so.

Monday, September 17, 2018


.. reemplazando LÁMPARAS 1ERA MAGNITUD SUR ..

COMET 21P/GIACOBINI-ZINNER APPROACHING OPEN CLUSTER M37 Taken by Miguel Claro on September 10, 2018 @ Cumeada Observatory, official headquarters of Dark Sky® Alqueva Reserve, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Portugal.

A rich starfield in Auriga constellation shows a close-up view of a bright tail and greenish coma from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner only separated by approximately 1º from the colourful and brightest open cluster in Auriga, M37 (at right), with an apparent magnitude of 6.2, lies at a distance of 4,511 light years from our Solar System. On 10th September 2018, the comet Giacobini-Zinner was near its perihelion and closest approach to Earth in 72 years, being only at a distance of 58 million km from our planet, was shining like a 7th magnitude star, remaining too faint to our naked-eyes though. This periodic comet is the known parent body of the upcoming Draconid meteor shower, a bursty display that typically peaks on Oct. 8th. Draconid outbursts do tend to occur in years near the comet’s close approach to the sun. However, leading forecasters do not expect an outburst this year despite the comet’s flyby. The image was captured from Cumeada Observatory official headquarters of Dark Sky® Alqueva Reserve, Portugal.

A short Time Lapse from a 3h sequence taken on 14th September, shows the motion of the comet against the starry sky of Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, in Portugal. Put sound please :)

Sunday, September 16, 2018


What's happened to our Sun? Nothing very unusual -- it just threw a filament. Toward the middle of 2012, a long standing solar filament suddenly erupted into space producing an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The filament had been held up for days by the Sun's ever changing magnetic field and the timing of the eruption was unexpected. Watched closely by the Sun-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, the resulting explosion shot electrons and ions into the Solar System, some of which arrived at Earth three days later and impacted Earth's magnetosphere, causing visible aurorae. Loops of plasma surrounding an active region can be seen above the erupting filament in the featured ultraviolet image. Although the Sun is now in a relatively inactive state of its 11-year cycle, unexpected holes have opened in the Sun's corona allowing an excess of charged particles to stream into space. As before, these charged particles are creating auroras.

COMÈTE GIACOBINI - ZINNER VS M35 Taken by jean-pierre brahic on September 15, 2018 @ Uzès ( France)

only one shoot of 120sec with Canon EOS70D ( 2000 iso) and réfractor Takahashi FSQ106 EDX3 + focal reducer 0.73x ( 385mm)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

COMET GIACOMBINI ZINNER OVER M35 Taken by Chris Schur on September 15, 2018 @ Payson, AZ

A truly rare imaging opportunity this morning! The comet traveled right over the Messier star cluster M35 and made for a gorgeous composition. The other star cluster in the field is a background object, yellowed by its distance of 10x further away.

Image Details:

Scope: 10 f/3.9 Orion Astrograph
Exposure: 60 minutes total
Date: 9/15/18 at 2:44 am
Location: Payson, Az
Camera: ST10xme CCD

See attached file.

2017 SOLAR ANALEMMA - CALLANISH STONES Taken by Giuseppe Petricca on January 1, 2017 @ Isle of Lewis, Eilean Siar, Scotland

Solar Analemma 2017 - Callanish Megalithic Stones

In the composition (a three shot vertorama for the background and 42 different solar pictures) we can clearly see the analemma over the magnific megalithic site of Callanish, almost 5000 years old! To walk amidst the monoliths placed on the ground according to a specific design, probably dedicated to the Moon and her phases almost manages to transport the traveler back in time, when the first civilizations colonized these islands on the edge of the Atlantic!

An experiment that I wanted to try again, after the successful experience of last year, always fighting with the ever fast chaning weather of these places. I managed, however, to photograph more images than I anticipated, creating a complete analemma, with the inferior (Winter) culmination of the Sun purposelly behind the highest stone of the site.

This strange figure, with a shape of an 8 or an infinite, the analemma, is caused by the axial tilt of our planet, and by the elliptical shape of our orbit around the Sun. If we take a picture day by day, always at the same hour, the Sun is not in a fixed position, but it slowly climbs up and then down the curve. All this, framed in a breathtaking ancient landscape, as old as the men and women which under the same Sun built this magnificent lunar observatory!

Manfrotto Tripod - X-PRO 3-Way Head - Canon EOS 700D 18MP - Samyang 14mm f/2.8 - 3 Shot Vertorama - Lightroom CC - Photoshop CC