Surfing through the AstroBin site’s collection of user generated astrophotos we were struck at this vivid example of M16 “The Eagle Nebula.” The image has a depth and contrast we’ve never seen before. Created using “Hubble Pallet” filters, the rich blue (Oxygen III) surrounding the “Pillars of Creation” structure is highlighted by the ruddy bland of reds (Sulfur) and greens (Hydrogen-alpha and Nitrogen) in the “folds” of the surrounding dust clouds. The blackness of space at the edge of the dust and gas cloud is preserved against all the colors.
On the 23rd, the “ice giant” Uranus will be visible all night, as it rises when the sun sets (hence it is opposite the sun). It will also be at its largest for the year: a diminutive 3.73″ of arc. Due to its distance and close-to-circular orbit, Uranus doesn’t vary that much in brightness over time. It will reach magnitude 5.7 from mid-October through early November before slightly fading to magnitude 5.9 in late March 2019. This makes it a naked-eye target in dark skies and easy to locate in a binocular or finderscope.
We’ve noticed a proliferation of close-up plane images on Instagram made using Tele Vue Powermate™ image amplifiers. What is amazing about these images? They are taken from the ground with the plane at jet-aircraft cruising altitude. This is the imaging side of the hobby of “plane spotting.” It is sort of like bird watching — but the “bird” is much bigger and potentially much further away: in the stratosphere!
While imaging a bird can be serendipitous, the modern plane spotter has the advantage of free online flight-tracking software, such as FlightRadar 24 and FlightAware, to predict what aircraft are approaching their location. Aircraft identification, route, speed, altitude, and heading are just a click away. This software has also made its way to the ubiquitous smartphone. Thus, unlike birding, plane spotters can anticipate targets to observe in advance. This gives the spotter time to prepare for encounters with common and rare aircraft — like the Antonov An-225.
We noticed some unique images on AstroBin.com employing our Tele Vue-NP127is and Tele Vue-85 scopes to simultaneously image the same target. The images from the two scopes were combined to create the final image — with fantastic results! All the image locations are given as “Tom’s Driveway” in Terre Haute, IN. Intrigued, we contacted the imager (“Astrovetteman”) to learn how he settled on this technique for many of his images. So we turn over our blog this week to astrophotographer Tom Peter and his dual-scope driveway setup.
Tele Vue-60: Compact Travel Scope with Imaging Capability
This week we turn our attention to the capabilities of our smallest telescope: the Tele Vue-60. This 60-mm aperture, f/6, APO refractor offers users a maximum 4.3° visual field and a potential of reaching 150x —all this in a package just 10″ long and a svelte 3-lbs. Due to its diminutive size, it is easy to overlook this instrument when shopping for a quality APO travel-scope. But, many users have been pleasantly surprised at the capabilities of this small refractor.
We received a nice account from Fred Miller of Portland, TX, relating his experience at this year’s Texas Star Party with a Tactical Night Vision Company (TNVC) night-vision monocular outfitted with our astronomy adapters. We called him on the phone to discuss putting his report on our blog . He agreed and added that the feel of sweeping the sky with night-vision setup was that of the proverbial “kid in a candy store”.
We’ve been following the great work of astro-imager Patrick Winkler from Austria through his Instagram account @cel_objects. Among the varied camera lenses and scopes used for these images was our own Tele Vue-NP127fli astrograph. The strength of this scope is wide-field imaging and his work in this area is exemplary.
For instance, with the NP127fli he was able to perfectly frame and capture the spirit of the NGC 869 and NGC 884 in Perseus as twin clusters of sparkling blue-white diamonds, with a smattering of glowing red-rubies, punctuating the black velvet sky background. The Double Cluster never looked so good!
At first-glance, our staff, mistook the image below to be a photograph of the Double Cluster. It turned out NOT to be a photograph, but the deft work of talented hands and a good eye at the eyepiece.
Tom Corstjens, from Belgium, created this accurate, hand-drawn representation of the cluster. We’ve admired Tom’s sketches ever since, and started following his twitter feed to see his latest work. We’ve never been disappointed.
We were honored that Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) speaker Dr. Donald Bruns was able to visit in our booth over the two days of NEAF 2018.
Saturday, April 21, at noon, Dr. Bruns stepped onto main stage at NEAF in front of a standing room only audience. His talk was titled: Einstein was Right! Completing the 1919 Relativity Experiment at the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Over the better part of an hour he explained how Einstein’s General Theory of relativity predicted the bending of light in gravitational fields and how astronomers have attempted to photograph stars near the eclipsed sun to verify the theory.