During a recent visit to England I had an opportunity to visit with Peter Birtwhistle at his home at Great Shefford. Peter is one of the most prolific observers for NEO follow-up in the world. Here we are in front of his backyard observatory (MPC J95) which houses a 16″ LX200 SCT in the small town of Great Shefford. He has developed his own software that allows manipulating image files to produce accurate results of NEO targets.
Patrick Wiggins in Utah last night appears to have discovered a Supernova in the Galaxy NGC6946 located in Cygnus. I took this image at Sandlot Observatory just a few hours after he found it.. The potential SN is marked in the image and is about 13.0 R Magnitude. Date 5-14-17
A few nights ago I was working the early morning hours doing NEO follow-up when I happened upon an interesting variable star. The star seem to brighten within a few minutes then it decayed brightness over a 1/2 hour or so to its previous level. I thought it a nice specimen of a flare star after producing a light curve through Maxim DL software for the 2 hour period. Thing is, I can’t find it in flare star or even variable star catalogs. So It might be previously unknown. Either way I’m quite sure its a flare star (which generally are red dwarf stars with a very unpredictable rate). I’m going to try and monitor it again but it’s possible it only flares a few times a year, or months, or days, or who knows? Without more observations we be able won’t find a frequency. Right now it’s only up high enough 2-3 hours before dawn. But as we get into early 2017 it will be up longer in the night sky. RA = 12 35 39.6 Dec 39 00 30.3. It’s normal pre-flare magnitude is around 18.8 R. Flare peak is about 16.8 R
I’m nearly finished with the Tombaugh extension. The total weight is about 80lbs including the focuser and the secondary assembly (does not include any eyepieces or cameras.) The height is 32 inches and the width 36″. The secondary will set about 12″ inside the last octagonal ring so there is no need to use a light block extended past the tube. The only difference will be the focuser and the secondary mirror will be 1 1/2 to 2″ closer to the primary than that shown in the picture.
I’m getting the cage assembly sand blasted this week and taking it to be powder-coated (flat black). If all goes well we could use the Tombaugh visually by the new moon in late November…
Fall Target – M33
A recent image of M33, (the Triangulum Galaxy) 20 minutes long taken 8-3-16 at Sandlot . It’s a great target for fall observing. It’s over 1/2 degree wide and has a multitude of obvious nebulae. (Enhanced more so in a a color image.) It’s a relatively close-by galaxy at a distance of 3 million Lt. Yrs.
I’ve uploaded a slice of an image showing the spectra of the Ring Nebula (M57). It was taken with the club’s Rainbow Optics 200 lines/mm grating and my 80 mm ED Apogee Refractor. The image duration was 37 minutes taken on 4-14-2026. The ring at zero order is at the bottom and the blue and red ghost images near the top are a result of mainly oxygen (blue) and a combination of Nitrogen and Hydrogen (red).
This from a 3 ” refactor, just imagine what the 27″ Tombaugh can do..