Apr 18, 2011

Observatory and the Owl Cluster

About one month and one week until the observatory opens for the 2011 season. I've missed it -- the cold, the mountain, the telescopes, the stars and the discoveries. Doesn't matter that millions of people saw that object before me. Click on any photo for a larger view.

The white dome houses the 24 inch telescope open
to the public. The smaller telescope outside is
my 8" Dobsonian, which was named
Orson Bradbury last summer.

I am grateful to the universe that I will probably get to spend the whole summer here and get another full season under my belt at Pine Mountain Observatory. I will savor every minute of it more than I usually do.

The darker blue of the sky is the Earth's shadow.
Moon and the dome for the 32" telescope.
The observatory sits at 6300 feet. Pine Mountain is 6600 feet.
It once was an island in an ancient sea before the
volcanic eruptions 6,000 years ago pushed up the
Cascades and turned this region arid.

I get such a sense of peace up on that summit surrounded by nature, and trees, and 50 mile views and farther on clear nights, and stars.

Looking through the 24.

One of my favorite objects to look at is the Owl Cluster. It's an open star cluster just under Cassiopeia. The two brightest stars are the eyes and you can make out the outstretched wings. Visitors have called it the butterfly, the bat and one of my fellow volunteers likes to call it the robot. The photo doesn't do it justice, which I nabbed from http://www.eagleseye.me.uk/Sky/Deepsky.html

Have you ever looked through a telescope? Do you know how to use one? Up at the observatory, we're always happy to teach.

Hosted by Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/