Saturday, September 30, 2017



C/2016 R1 NEAR ORIONS BELT Taken by michael jäger on September 30, 2017 @ Weißenkirchen Austria

small 14mag comet short tail
L 2.52 UT 10x180 2x2
RGB 180 3x3 bin
12/4 G3-16200


SEPTEMBER 18 BADLANDS CELESTIAL LINEUP Taken by Gregg Alliss on September 18, 2017 @ Badlands National Park, South Dakota USA

5:44 am MDT, Monday, September 18, 2017. Looking east at celestial conjunction beyond the Badlands Door Trail in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Nikon D7200 camera. AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm lens. One second exposure at f/6.3, 400 ISO and 38mm focal length. Ground fog can be seen along horizon. Sunsrise was at 6:41 am. Celestial objects were, from bottom left: -0.92 magnitude planet Mercury, 1.82 magnitude planet Mars, Moon, 1.34 magnitude star Regulus, -3.94 magnitude planet Venus.

KOMET C/2017 O1 (ASASSN1) +CALIFORNIANEBULA Taken by Norbert Mrozek on September 27, 2017 @ Stottmert Germany

22:45 UT CCD Moravian G2 8300 Lens Samyang 135 mm / 2.0
L 10 x 90 sec. RGB 180/180/180 sec.

Friday, September 29, 2017

STEVE, THE ODD AURORAL ARC Taken by Alan Dyer on September 27, 2016 @ near Gleichen, Alberta

Heres a 360° panorama of the odd isolated auroral arc that has become known as “Steve,” here to the left as a pink and white band, across the south, with the main auroral oval to the north at right, with its more normal oxygen green arc and upper red and magenta tints, also from atomic oxygen.

The Steve arc seems to be a thermal emission from hot flowing gas rather than from precipitating electrons. But his origin and nature is still mysterious.

This night, September 27, 2017, the Steve arc appeared for only about 20 minutes, from 10:45 pm MDT pm, as the main display hit a lull in activity. The display later grew to cover the sky with a post-sub-storm flickering display at the zenith and to the south. Steve is always well south of the main oval, and usually appears only when the main aurora is not very active. We seem to be ideally located o the Canadian Prairies for sighting Steve, as we often get the main aurora to our north, placing Steve overhead or to our south.

The 6-day Moon is just setting at the bottom of the summer Milky Way. The Pleiades is rising at far right.

This is a 360° panorama made of 6 segments, each with the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 lens at f/1.8 in portrait orienation, and at 60° spacings. Each exposure was 10 seconds at f/1.8 and ISO 2500 with the Nikon D750. Shot from home on a mild September night.

PUPPIS A SUPERNOVA REMNANT Image Credit & Copyright: Don Goldman

Driven by the explosion of a massive star, supernova remnant Puppis A is blasting into the surrounding interstellar medium about 7,000 light-years away. At that distance, this colorful telescopic field based on broadband and narrowband optical image data is about 60 light-years across. As the supernova remnant (upper right) expands into its clumpy, non-uniform surroundings, shocked filaments of oxygen atoms glow in green-blue hues. Hydrogen and nitrogen are in red. Light from the initial supernova itself, triggered by the collapse of the massive star's core, would have reached Earth about 3,700 years ago. The Puppis A remnant is actually seen through outlying emission from the closer but more ancient Vela supernova remnant, near the crowded plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Still glowing across the electromagnetic spectrum Puppis A remains one of the brightest sources in the X-ray sky.


NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the farthest active inbound comet ever seen, at a whopping distance of 1.5 billion miles from the Sun (beyond Saturn's orbit). Slightly warmed by the remote Sun, it has already begun to develop an 80,000-mile-wide fuzzy cloud of dust, called a coma, enveloping a tiny, solid nucleus of frozen gas and dust. These observations represent the earliest signs of activity ever seen from a comet entering the solar system's planetary zone for the first time.

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows a fuzzy cloud of dust, called a coma, surrounding the comet C/2017 K2 PANSTARRS (K2), the farthest active comet ever observed entering the solar system. The image was taken in June 2017 by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.
Credits: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)

The comet, called C/2017 K2 (PANSTARRS) or "K2", has been travelling for millions of years from its home in the frigid outer reaches of the solar system, where the temperature is about minus 440 degrees Fahrenheit. The comet's orbit indicates that it came from the Oort Cloud, a spherical region almost a light-year in diameter and thought to contain hundreds of billions of comets. Comets are the icy leftovers from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago and therefore pristine in icy composition.

"K2 is so far from the Sun and so cold, we know for sure that the activity — all the fuzzy stuff making it look like a comet — is not produced, as in other comets, by the evaporation of water ice," said lead researcher David Jewitt of the University of California, Los Angeles. "Instead, we think the activity is due to the sublimation [a solid changing directly into a gas] of super-volatiles as K2 makes its maiden entry into the solar system's planetary zone. That's why it's special. This comet is so far away and so incredibly cold that water ice there is frozen like a rock."

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observed the farthest-discovered active inbound comet, Comet K2. Coming from the distant Oort Cloud, K2 is visiting our inner solar system for the first (and only) time. Since we're seeing it so far away, past the orbit of Saturn, K2 is still in its early phase of activity, likely making it the most primitive comet anyone has ever seen.
Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Download video in HD formats from NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio.
Based on the Hubble observations of K2's coma, Jewitt suggests that sunlight is heating frozen volatile gases - such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide - that coat the comet's frigid surface. These icy volatiles lift off from the comet and release dust, forming the coma. Past studies of the composition of comets near the Sun have revealed the same mixture of volatile ices.

"I think these volatiles are spread all through K2, and in the beginning billions of years ago, they were probably all through every comet presently in the Oort Cloud," Jewitt said. "But the volatiles on the surface are the ones that absorb the heat from the Sun, so, in a sense, the comet is shedding its outer skin. Most comets are discovered much closer to the Sun, near Jupiter's orbit, so by the time we see them, these surface volatiles have already been baked off. That's why I think K2 is the most primitive comet we've seen."

his illustration shows the orbit of comet C/2017 K2 PANSTARRS (K2) on its maiden voyage into the solar system. The Hubble Space Telescope observed K2 when it was 1.5 billion miles from the Sun, halfway between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. The farthest object from the Sun depicted here is the dwarf planet Pluto, which resides in the Kuiper Belt, a vast rim of primordial debris encircling our solar system.
Credits: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

K2 was discovered in May 2017 by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) in Hawaii, a survey project of NASA's Near-Earth Object Observations Program. Jewitt used Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 at the end of June to take a closer look at the icy visitor.

Hubble's sharp "eye" revealed the extent of the coma and also helped Jewitt estimate the size of the nucleus — less than 12 miles across — though the tenuous coma is 10 Earth diameters across.

This vast coma must have formed when the comet was even farther away from the Sun. Digging through archival images, Jewitt's team uncovered views of K2 and its fuzzy coma taken in 2013 by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) in Hawaii. But the object was then so faint that no one noticed it.

"We think the comet has been continuously active for at least four years," Jewitt said. "In the CFHT data, K2 had a coma already at 2 billion miles from the Sun, when it was between the orbits of Uranus and Neptune. It was already active, and I think it has been continuously active coming in. As it approaches the Sun, it's getting warmer and warmer, and the activity is ramping up."

But, curiously, the Hubble images do not show a tail flowing from K2, which is a signature of comets. The absence of such a feature indicates that particles lifting off the comet are too large for radiation pressure from the Sun to sweep them back into a tail.

Astronomers will have plenty of time to conduct detailed studies of K2. For the next five years, the comet will continue its journey into the inner solar system before it reaches its closest approach to the Sun in 2022 just beyond Mars' orbit. "We will be able to monitor for the first time the developing activity of a comet falling in from the Oort Cloud over an extraordinary range of distances," Jewitt said. "It should become more and more active as it nears the Sun and presumably will form a tail."

Jewitt said that NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, an infrared observatory scheduled to launch in 2018, could measure the heat from the nucleus, which would give astronomers a more accurate estimate of its size.

The team's results will appear in the September 28 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

The science paper by D. Jewitt et al.

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Donna Weaver / Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
410-338-4493 / 410-338-4514 /

David Jewitt
University of California, Los Angeles, California

Thursday, September 28, 2017

AURORA Taken by andrei (enjoy the arctic) on September 27, 2017 @ tromso

after 6 hours of no Lights in the sky finally the lady arrived around 3am
i hope you enjoy it

NGC 7000, IC 5067, IC 5070 Taken by Wayne on September 23, 2017 @ Franklin County, Missouri

These nebula are located in the constellation Cygnus, near the star Deneb.

7.5 hours

AURORAS Taken by Marketa Stanczykova Murray on September 28, 2017 @ Fairbanks - Alaska

One of the most amazing show. Last night we had slow moving wind and a lot of density, tonight wind finally pick up to almost 700 and density still around 10 with bz south. The best conditions for the most amazing purples Auroras

AURORAS Taken by Limo John Janson on September 27, 2017 @ Anacortes, Washington USA

Best ive ever seen, one mile from my home in Washington, peaking at 11PM local time. The 20 minute light show nearly rivaled what ive seen in the Fairbanks, AK dark skies in the past. Marvelous showing from this far south.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

CASSINI'S LAST RING PORTRAIT AT SATURN Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Space Science Institute, Mindaugas Macijauskas

How should Cassini say farewell to Saturn? Three days before plunging into Saturn's sunny side, the robotic Cassini spacecraft swooped far behind Saturn's night side with cameras blazing. Thirty-six of these images have been merged -- by an alert and adept citizen scientist -- into a last full-ring portrait of Cassini's home planet for the past 13 years. The Sun is just above the frame, causing Saturn to cast a dark shadow onto its enormous rings. This shadow position cannot be imaged from Earth and will not be visible again until another Earth-launched spaceship visits the ringed giant. Data and images from Cassini's mission-ending dive into Saturn's atmosphere on September 15 continue to be analyzed.

Monday, September 25, 2017

MASSIVE SHELL-EXPELLING STAR G79.29+0.46 Image Credit: NASA, Spitzer Space Telescope, WISE; Processing & License : Judy Schmidt

Stars this volatile are quite rare. Captured in the midst of dust clouds and visible to the right and above center is massive G79.29+0.46, one of less than 100 luminous blue variable stars (LBVs) currently known in our Galaxy. LBVs expel shells of gas and may lose even the mass of Jupiter over 100 years. The star, itself bright and blue, is shrouded in dust and so not seen in visible light. The dying star appears green and surrounded by red shells, though, in this mapped-color infrared picture combining images from NASA's Spitzer Space Observatory and NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer. G79.29+0.46 is located in the star-forming Cygnus X region of our Galaxy. Why G79.29+0.46 is so volatile, how long it will remain in the LBV phase, and when it will explode in a supernova is not known.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

HOW TO IDENTIFY THAT LIGHT IN THE SKY Image Credit & Copyright: HK (The League of Lost Causes)

What is that light in the sky? Perhaps one of humanity's more common questions, an answer may result from a few quick observations. For example -- is it moving or blinking? If so, and if you live near a city, the answer is typically an airplane, since planes are so numerous and so few stars and satellites are bright enough to be seen over the din of artificial city lights. If not, and if you live far from a city, that bright light is likely a planet such as Venus or Mars -- the former of which is constrained to appear near the horizon just before dawn or after dusk. Sometimes the low apparent motion of a distant airplane near the horizon makes it hard to tell from a bright planet, but even this can usually be discerned by the plane's motion over a few minutes. Still unsure? The featured chart gives a sometimes-humorous but mostly-accurate assessment. Dedicated sky enthusiasts will likely note -- and are encouraged to provide -- polite corrections.

RGB Taken by Fins Eirexas on September 23, 2017 @ Silleda, Galiza, NW Iberian Peninsula

California nebula (Red), comet C/2017 O1 (green) and Pleiades (Blue).
Stack of 11 subs (median) PSCC Nikon D600 full spectrum Nikkor AIS 85mm @f/2,8 90s each (total integration time 16m30s), ISO 1600

EQUINOX MOON Taken by Pierluigi Giacobazzi on September 22, 2017 @ Mantua - Italy

On September 22nd – 2017 at 8.02 pm UTC the Autumnal Equinox on the Northern half of planet Earth, occurred. The picture shows a young Moon – 2,5 days old, 6,8% illuminated – falling over the historical UNESCO sites of the city of Mantua – Italy. It was recorded at the end of a colorful nautical twilight from the bank of lower lake, Mincio river – 06:05 pm UTC. What a wonderful view!

SUNSPOT Taken by Bum-Suk Yeom on September 24, 2017 @ Iksan-si, South Korea

The return of the large sunspot (called AR2673). For the past two weeks, AR2673 has been transiting the backside of the sun, carried around by the suns 27-day rotation.
Courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams. Bum-Suk Yeom.

A GEISHA ADMIRES THE CRESCENT MOON Taken by Jean-Baptiste Feldmann on September 24, 2017 @ Burgundy, France

Tonight I asked my wife to dress up as a geisha to pose under the crescent moon. Nikon D3200, 400 iso, 1s exposure.


Earlier this month a new planetarium opened in Juiz de Fora, Brazil, featuring a 12-meter dome with a ZEISS fulldome system. It belongs to the "Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora", an important university with more than 20.000 students. The planetarium is open to the public as well and is considered the "City Planetarium". The opening was a huge success. The fact that the university is open to the public and the nice architecture arouses great interest, all shows are fully booked. The building also comprises a science center with exhibitions and a great little observatory. Congratulations to the planetarium team and good luck for the future!

Saturday, September 23, 2017






This striking image of Jupiter was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed its eighth flyby of the gas giant planet.

The image was taken on Sept. 1, 2017 at 2:58 p.m. PDT (5:58 p.m. EDT). At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was 4,707 miles (7,576 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of about -17.4 degrees.

Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt processed this image using data from the JunoCam imager. Points of interest are “Whale's Tail” and "Dan's Spot.”

JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at:    

More information about Juno is at: and

Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt

ANDROMEDA GALAXY - M31 Taken by Charles Chiofar on September 11, 2017 @ Buckley, Washington

A short 14-minute stack taken on September 11 using a Nikon D5200 DSLR and Explore Scientific ED80. Darks and flats were used in the final stack image. Stacked using Nebulosity and processed using Images Plus and Adobe Lightroom.

C/2017 O1 Taken by michael jäger on September 23, 2017 @ Weißenkirchen Austria

1.56 UT L-8x150sec
RGB 180/180/180
12/4 G3-16200 3x3

TWO COMETS NEAR M45 Taken by Yasushi Aoshima on September 18, 2017 @ Ishikawa, JAPAN

Comet ASASSN (C/2017 O1) and PANSTARRS (C/2015 ER61) near M45 through a small window in many clouds.

Data: EF300mmF2.8L USM, CanonEOS6D, 12800 ISO, 34x60sec stacked (14:55-19:25 UT), FOV: 4.5 x 7°, North: left

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A SEPTEMBER MORNING SKY Image Credit & Copyright: Tamas Ladanyi (TWAN)

The Moon, three planets, and a bright star gathered near the ecliptic plane in the September 18 morning sky over Veszprem Castle, Hungary. In this twilight skyscape, Mercury and Mars still shine close to the eastern horizon, soon to disappear in the glare of the Sun. Regulus, alpha star of the constellation Leo, is the bright point next to a waning crescent Moon, with brilliant Venus near the top of the frame. The beautiful morning conjunction of Moon, planets, and bright star could generally be followed by early morning risers all around planet Earth. But remarkably, the Moon also occulted, or passed directly in front of, Regulus and each of the three planets within 24 hours, all on September 18 UT. Visible from different locations, timing and watching the lunar occultations was much more difficult though, and mostly required viewing in daytime skies.