Jul 11, 2011

Super Nova and Clear Skies

July 4th weekend was warm and clear. Not a cloud in sight and I got to leave my thermals in my bag. Yay.

Got the first viewing of Andromeda that weekend as it rose over the summit. I love looking at our nearest neighbor in the smaller scopes. In mine, I can get Andromeda and the two companion galaxies with it. Can only see the smaller galaxies on a dark night [= no moon].

Setting sun through a yeti house

Sun going down

Sunset and the dome for the 24" telescope

My camera isn't the right kind to take photos of anything beyond the Moon and the brighter planets. There is a camera mounted to the 24" telescope, however. So, I can share some of those with you.

Composite of photos made by Eric Holcomb, a fellow star
guide, showing M51 / the Whirlpool galaxy and its super nova.
It's actually 2 galaxies. 35 million light years away.
In the progression of photos, you can see no super nova, it very bright
in June then dimming by July 1st. Soon it will be too dim to see at all.

Andromeda Galaxy. The closest galaxy to our own at
2.6 million light years away. On a dark night, you can
make out its fuzzy patch with the unaided eye.

I spent this past weekend quite sick with a stomach bug and fever, so did not go out to PMO Friday and Saturday nights to freeze my ass off under the stars. Stayed home reading, which was nice. Better if I weren't sick. Finished To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, and started Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Was kind enough to pass my germs onto the husband unit. Hope he doesn't pass them back. I really don't want them back. Also explains my quiet self end of last week.

Be sure to visit version 2.0 of my website. http://www.mpaxauthor.com/ Launched at the end of last week. Thanks to Bill for the fabulous new look and hard work. New poll - which spaceship would you most like to travel on. Serenity and Moya are winning so far. The original Star Trek won the last poll - which was your favorite space opera series - Firefly was a close second. The discussion is now under 'News' / Spacedock 19. Talking about Syfy original movies. This blog also appears on the website now. Can read it either place and comment either place.

How was your weekend?