Astro Sketching the Universe!

Sunspots Active Region 2403 by Instagram user Pekka Rautajoki. All rights reserved. Active Region 2403 from 2015 on August 23rd (13:00 UT), August 24th (12:15 UT), and August 28th (13:40 UT). Sketched through Tele Vue-85 refractor @85x; white light filter, no tracking. Pencils on white paper, East-West mirror images. “What a wonderfully complex sunspot group! “
We posted some Instagram sketches of the July 2019 Total Solar Eclipse from Chile last month made by Pekka Rautajoki — who traveled all the way from his native Finland to be there. We found a trove of blog-worthy images, he posted on Instagram, made with Tele Vue eyepieces and  Tele Vue-85 APO refractor. They encompass a broad range of objects from the northern and southern hemispheres. So, it was only inevitable that we invited him to write a guest blog post based on his exquisite work! 

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Clyde Bone and His Two Unusual Mersenne Telescopes!

In this guest blog post, Ted Hume describes two telescopes designed and built by Clyde Bone. At first they appear to be “big-Dobs.” However, look close and you’ll note they don’t require “shaky ladders” as the final focus is through Tele Vue telescopes near ground-level. They also serve as their own finders. Read on about these fascinating instruments and how they could be yours!

Blue 20-inch, f/5 Mersenne telescope uses a Tele Vue Genesis refractor for its “eyepiece” and red 30-inch, f/5 big-brother (image shown reversed) uses Tele Vue-140 refractor. No need to climb ladders to view through these! Both scopes built by Clyde Bone. Ted Hume is at the eyepiece. Images by the author with all rights reserved.

Clyde M. Bone, Jr. (1928 − 2012) of San Angelo, Texas designed and built two Mersenne telescopes, first a 20-inch and then a 30-inch.

His career included working for the Texas Border Commission in the Big Bend area of Texas, geologist for an oil company ─ who flew a light plane to drilling sites and landed on dirt roads, science teacher at a Texas high school and in the Texas prison system. When he decided to build a Mersenne telescope, he was retired and spent a year studying optics. Then he was ready.

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Jupiter Opposition June 2019!

Solar System (Jupiter) by flickr user Eugene Beygin. All rights reserved. Here Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is facing Earth with the four Galilean satellites (labeled) on either side of the giant planet. Taken through Celestron C6-N Newtonian (6″, f/5) with Tele Vue 3x Barlow through QHY5III224 color CMOS planetary camera and tracked by Celestron AVX mount.
On June 10th, Jupiter was closest to the Earth and rose at sunset — placing it in the sky all night long. The timing makes it well placed for observation throughout much of the summer. Currently, the planet is at its best for the year, at magnitude -2.6 with an angular diameter of 46-arc-seconds. It will “fade” slightly to a still very bright magnitude -2.1  and shrink to 36-arcseconds by the start of fall, where it will be in the west at sunset, setting just a few hours later. So, now is prime-time to view and image this gas giant planet, its famous Great Red Spot (GRS), and attendant giant moons.

NP101is: Imaging the Skies Over Louisiana

Lagoon (Ha,OIII,SII) emission nebula by flickr user Phil Wollenberg. All rights reserved. Tele Vue NP-101is APO refractor with SBIG STF-8300M camera using Baader filters and tracked with Losmandy G-11 using QHY 5L-IIM guider. Ha (8x300s & 1x600s), OIII (2x600s), and SII (2x600s). From White Horse Camp, Sandy Hook, MS.

The Lagoon Nebula (also M8, and NGC 6523) in the constellation Sagittarius is well-known to amateur astronomers. It is a giant star forming region with an open cluster of stars embedded within (visible on the right side of the image). A giant O-type star pumps out massive amounts of ultraviolet light that energizes the gasses in the nebula and cause them to emit light in their distinctive characteristic colors. By taking images through emission line filters, astronomers can see what elements are contained in the nebula. In this image made with Hydrogen-alpha, Sulfur II, and Oxygen III filters, the bluish glow of ionized Oxygen predominates in the center of the nebula.

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Tele Vue and the Moon Men from Philly!

Philly Moon Men in Rome! Telescope is TV-76 on Tele-Pod mount. Credit: Philly Moon Men

We got a call into the office a while back from the “Philly Moon Men.” The caller identified himself as one of “Moon Men.” He told us of their astronomy outreach project in the city of Philadelphia and would we like to be part of it in any way? Al has been a sidewalk astronomer since a teenager and David was more than happy to listen to their ideas and help guide them towards their goal.  They’ve setup scopes on street corners and vacant lots in the inner-city to show people that they live in a Universe. Because every human being that has ever lived has looked at the same Moon, all humanity is connected by the sight of this celestial object.

We were intrigued by their youthful enthusiasm and dedication to using telescopes as a means of bridging socioeconomic gaps.  We invited them to meet us at the Northeast Astronomy Forum at the beginning of April to make connections with other outreach groups and see how other ideas meshed with their own. Two smartly dressed Moon Men showed up and told us more about their adventure with astronomy and how the NEAF experience was invaluable to furthering their understanding of what’s going on in the outreach community.  Frankly, they were quite surprised at how much was already going on!

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Tele Vue’s NP127fli in the Land Down Under!

Large Magellanic Cloud/Tarantula Nebula Widefield by AstroBin user Jarrett Trezzo. All rights reserved. This field shows the Tarantula Nebula (bottom-half reddish nebulae) and a section of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). TeleVue NP127fli with FLI ProLine 16803 camera and Astrodon LRGB filters exposed for 6×300″ (bin 1×1) for luminance and 12×150″ (bin 2×2: Red, Green, & Blue: 4 x 150 each) for color. Total integration time was 1.0 hour. All riding on 10Micron 2000 HPS equatorial mount. From Siding Spring, NSW, Australia.

Our blog often profiles an imager employing one of our scopes.  But this week we have a twist: we profile a single Tele Vue scope used by many imagers!  It all began when we started spotting deep space images, posted on-line, created with our  Tele Vue-NP127fli  dedicated astrograph. All the images were made from Australia by different people. It turns out this scope is part of iTelescope.net’s collection of robotic scopes at Siding Spring Observatory. Labeled as the “T9” scope, it does wide-field imaging with the FLI ProLine PL16803 (52mm diagonal CCD) camera. 

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NP127is: Imaging the Skies Over Taos, NM

NGC7000 North America Nebula-NP127is by AstroBin user Jerry Macon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Tele Vue-NP127is flat-field, APO refractor with ZWO ASI128MC Pro full-frame color CMOS camera with 2″ Astronomik L-2 UV-IR Block filter. Exposure 59 x 240″ for a total of 3.9-hours. Mount:Paramount MEII with Absolute Encoders. Software:Sequence Generator Pro, PixInsight 1.8.

We’ve noticed some nice full-color and RGB  deep-sky images made by Jerry Macon using our Tele Vue-NP127is telescope. They’re all taken from his private Dark Star Observatory in Taos, New Mexico.  His image of the expansive North America Nebula (NGC 7000 – above) displays how the deep red light of Hydrogen-α dominates this emission nebula (an  ionized cloud of hydrogen gas about 3° across). A feature of this nebula is the “Cygnus Wall” section at the bottom, that includes “Mexico” and “Central America.” This feature is a dense star-forming region of dust and gas that is often imaged alone without the rest of the nebula. 

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Return to the Moon with Michel Deconinck

This year all eyes will turn to the Moon to mark the 50th Anniversary of the first Moon landing. The Moon is the natural first target for new amateur astronomers, yet all too often as observers become seasoned, the Moon becomes a nuisance that blots the stars from the sky. This week we explore the Moon through the eyes and talented hands of Michel Deconinck. As you will see, there is much to see in the monthly dance between shadow and light on the lunar surface.

The Crater Copernicus © Michel Deconinck. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Tele Vue 10mm Delos eyepiece (100x) with 4” f/10 Bresser refractor. The 93 km Crater Copernicus was drawn on July 26, 2015, during a waxing gibbous Moon phase. “It is rather difficult to draw, many subtle details emerge such as the arc of small impact craters and its network of lighter lines that are visible over several hundred km. Some landslides are also visible, …”.

Michel Deconinck is an artist in the South of France with a passion for astronomical watercolors. He is very involved with the international astronomical community and his artistic works have been published in magazines, scientific journals, and displayed at conferences and school events. His artistry is augmented with a background in nuclear physics, engineering and astrophysics.

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Chris Owen: Tele Vue-85 Narrowband Imager

Jellyfish Nebula, Narrowband by AstroBin user Chris Owen. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Tele Vue-85 APO refractor with TRF-2008 0.8x Reducer/Flattener (480mm f/5.6) with ZWO ASI1600MM Pro camera on iOptron iEQ30 Pro mount. Taken through Astrodon Hα, OIII, and SII filters for a total integration time of 16-hours. This is a striking narrowband filter image of the Jellyfish Nebula (IC 443) and IC 444 reflection nebula in the constellation Gemini. The Jellyfish (lower-right) seems to “pop out “of the screen, apparently “held back” by a tenuous connection to ICC 444 to the upper-left. The bright star Eta Geminorum (one of Gemini’s “toes”) is on the right and to the left is Mu Geminorum (one of Gemini’s “ankles”).

This guest blog post is by Tele Vue-85 owner Chris Owen. Chris is a physician in Orange County California, where he lives with his wife and 3-year old son. You can see more of his images on AstroBin.

I got started in astronomy in the 1990s while I was still in High School. I spent cold clear winter nights in Northern New York learning the basics together with my father on an 8″ Schmidt Cassegrain. I remember trying to manually guide my first prime focus images of M42 with the 2,000mm focal length SCT, shooting 35mm film in 10°F temperatures. The results were predictably flawed and after I went off to college the scope and gear were put away. I went west after finishing school and my astronomy interest faded away under the light polluted sky of Southern California.

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Sunday’s Lunar Eclipse Recap!

At Tele Vue we were stunned with the clarity and “3D effect” of this ghostly image of the red eclipsed Moon hanging in the sky against a starry background. (This is not a composite: those are actual dim stars near the limb of the full Moon!) Kudos to Bruno Yporti for planning and creating this image. Imaging details: Tele Vue-85 APO refractor with Tele Vue 2x Powermate and Canon 6D DSLR on an Atlas EQ-G mount. This is a 6-second exposure at ISO 1600 with effective focal length of 1,200mm. Taken at 03:20:33 local time (UTC -2). Eclipse Lunar Total by Instagram user Bruno Yporti. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
It’s summer in the southern hemisphere and Bruno Yporti, in Londrina, State of Paraná, Brazil, had great weather for imaging last Sunday’s Total Lunar Eclipse of the “Supermoon” over the Americas. At his private, roll-off roof, “Ophiuchus Observatory”, he readied his Tele Vue-85 APO refractor with Tele Vue 2x Powermate and Canon 6D DSLR on an Atlas EQ-G mount for the event. The sky was clear, with almost no wind, when he took the above single exposure — about 8-minutes after mid-totality. In this phase of the eclipse, the Moon was illuminated by the refracted light skimming along the entire circumference of the Earth. The deep-red light bathing the Moon is what we see at sunrise and sunset on the horizon. 

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