Monday, October 31, 2011

Solar Imaging Session - November 1, 2011 (Large SE Eruptive Prominence)

The sky this morning was not good as lots of passing clouds and seeing condition is also not that good as well. AR11330 Sunspot Group is decaying a lot and is also near the eastern limb :(n AR11334 Sunspot Group's high solar activity seems to mellow down today even from Ha wavelength. There is also a large eruptive prominence in the SE limb together with the huge dark filament that I was able to see yesterday. Lots of small prominences are also visible around the solar limb.

Rest of the small groups are very quiet as well. I was only also able to image AR11330 Sunspot Group in white light through passing clouds thus image not that good but I still image it to show how much it has decayed :( Thick clouds then covered the sky so I had to end my short solar imaging session this morning and I also need to go to my dad's tomb to give some offerings as today is All Soul's Day. I miss you Dad very much!

Jupiter Imaging Session - October 31, 2011 ( Jupiter with Great Red Spot )

The sky tonight was partly clear with fair seeing condition. I setup the scope and try to observe and image Jupiter with Great Red Spot near Central Meridian. The GRS plume is still visible as well as 2 red barge visible on the North Equatorial Belt (NEB) region .

I took several AVIs and select the best of tonight's batch which can be viewed below:

Solar Imaging Session - October 31, 2011 (Growing AR11334 & Lots of Large Dark Filaments !))

The sky this morning is clear but seeing condition is not good. AR11330 Sunspot Group continues to decay but is still the biggest group on the Sun. AR11334 Sunspot Group is growing fast and needs to be observe for more activity in the days to come. 2 new not yet designated sunspot groups are visible on the Sun's disk with the one above AR11334 I think will probably be designated as AR11335 while the one on the eastern limb might be designated AR11336 :)

There are lots of large dark filaments on the Sun with the biggest is a faint huge one on the SE quadrant while another one that is big and prominent is the one on the NE quadrant.

Solar prominences are not that big today but one very interesting group of eruptive prominence can be seen near the north limb :)

There are a total of 7 sunspot groups that is visible on the Sun today :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Deep Sky Imaging Session - October 29-30, 2011

With a long weekend vacation ahead of us, I together with fellow ALPer VP Dr. Jett Aguilar went to Caliraya, Laguna in the late afternoon to try to observe and image some deep sky objects there as it has still good dark skies in our setup area.

We arrived at around 7:00pm and setup our mount while Polaris is still visible. I brought a portable setup consisting of Canon EOS 500D DSLR on Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens mounted on top of my portable Kenko Sky Memo-R tracker to follow the stars. Jett , on the other hand brought along his Takahashi TSA-102 refractor with Canon EOS 50D DSLR mounted on top of Vixen GP-DX mount.

After we polar aligned our mount, there was a slight drizzle that lasted only a few minutes but the sky was very beautiful afterwards! We then had our dinner first as both of us are quite hungry already from the long travel. Afterwards, we started to image the night sky.

Andromeda Galaxy was positioned high so I took the chance to image our Milky Way's closest galaxy, M31 Andromeda Galaxy together with its 2 galaxy companion M32 and M110. I was able to exposed more than 1 hour of total exposure for the said object. I then prepare to image my next object , Helix Nebula and California Nebula but since it is near the zenith already, I had a hard time composing the said objects, thus I then proceeded to my next object on my list which is the B33 Horsehead Nebula and NGC2024 Flame Nebula in Orion. But as I was starting to image it after midnight, clouds started to roll in partially so I was only able to exposed for half of my planned total exposure for the said object. Since then, I had to play cat and mouse with the clouds to expose in between breaks in the clouds till around 2:40am when thick clouds started to cover the sky thus shortened my imaging session :( I was planning to still wait but I started to feel sleepy already and tired thus I sleep on the car while Jett still manage to wait for a few more shot before calling it a night as well. Jett was also able to tame his mount and in the latter half of the night was able to run the mount a bit smoothly. So he was bale to image Orion Nebula and Horsehead Nebula as well.

At around 9:00am after we had a short coffee and some light breakfast, we head back t Manila with a good feeling from our imaging session at Caliraya as the moments of observing and imaging under a dark sky was a privilege that I will always cherish on our numerous observing session s there. We are looking forward to going back in the next New Moon weekend to continue to image the other objects in our list :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Solar Imaging Session - October 29, 2011 (Quiet Sun)

The sky this morning was partly clear and seeing condition is also not good. Add to that is the fact the Sun quiets down a bit specially now that big group AR11330 Sunspot Group is starting to decay on one of its 2 main umbral core structure :( In Ha wavelength , the area between AR11330 to AR11324 Sunspot Groups still shows some small signs of solar activity only. Solar prominences are also very small and only the one in the western limb shows a slight bigger size than the rest :0

Jupiter Imaging Session - October 28, 2011 (Jupiter at Opposition)

Jupiter tonight is almost near opposition and that had me wanting to document the event amid a dull face in the Jovian planet except for a few small white festoons and a nice barge in the NEB region.

I rechecked the collimation of the SCT at high magnification and it is still dead center so I guess it is the poor seeing condition tonight that hampers on the quality of the image. Nevertheless, I was observing the event together with fellow ALPer Dennis Llante and both of us had bad seeing condition as well.

Also, I had a poor polar alignment tonight thus like Dennis, I had to constantly pressing both RA and Dec buttons every 5 seconds to make sure it is near the center of the field as I exposed on Jupiter. I also found that that I need to also cut down on the imaging duration next time so as to lessen rotational blur that is visible on the limb :( Nevertheless, I'm ok with the result of the final image.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Solar Imaging Session - October 26, 2011

The sky this morning is clear so I setup my solar scopes to observe and image the Sun as usual. For this morning session, aside from imaging in Ha wavelength, I only concentrated on AR11330 Sunspot Group in white light wavelength as I also played around with going back to my old eyepiece projection imaging format with my Canon EOS 500D DSLR. I wanted to see if I can get better image with this format compared to using the webcam. Since the eyepiece projection method gives a bigger image scale, the solar granulation is easier to see compared to the webcam shot as it has about half of the image scale taken with the eyepiece projection shot which is more or less in the 15,500mm focal length. I think if given a good seeing of at least 3-4/5, one can see the granulation even better :) So I guess I will add this routine back to image the bigger sunspots only as it is very tedious to manually select from hundred of images taken just to get the best shot of the set. I will also try to learn how to stack high res single still frames in the days to come.

AR11330 Sunspot Group continues to grow in core structure and is so far the most developed group that is visible on the solar disk. The hook shaped dark filament is still visible above decaying AR11324. Only small to medium sized prominences are visible on the solar limb :( Only 5 groups are now visible on the Sun right now.

Below are the images that I took this morning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Solar Imaging Session - October 25, 2011 (Huge Eruptive Prominence & Hook Shaped Dark Filament !!! )

The sky this morning is clear so I started observing and imaging the Sun as I wake up. There is a huge spike like eruptive prominence that is visible in the eastern limb! One of the the biggest in the past months :) Together with AR11330 Sunspot Group, they form a beautiful pair in the eastern limb :) There are 2 new sunspot groups on the Sun today but they are very small with AR11331 near the edge of NW limb while AR11332 Sunspot Group can be seen in the NE limb above AR11330 Sunspot Group.

AR11324 Sunspot Group continues to decay fast but is still very big in terms of area. AR11330 Sunspot Group has a beautiful dual umbral & penumbral core structure that is worth imaging and observing. Since the sky in the early morning was good at around 3/5 , I can see some solar granulation on the Sun's surface.

AR11324 and AR11327 Sunspot Groups are also starting to decay and becoming dull to view :( There is also a very beautiful hook shaped dark filament above AR11324 group. It was almost straight line the past few days ago. Also another nice big dark filament can be seen soaring near the new AR11332 sunspot group.

Seeing started to deteriorate a bit at the end of the Ha imaging session and deteriorated further after I imaged AR11330 Sunspot Group :(

Overall, it was a very good solar imaging session and I'm looking forward to another fruitful session tomorrow and hope the eastern huge eruptive prominence will grow further :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jupiter Imaging Session - October 24, 2011 ( GRS w / Plumes , 2 Barges , Io and Ganymede Double Transit & Shadow !!! )

As I was on the bus home from Tarlac work trip, I checked on my Sky Safari Iphone app and see how Jupiter will look like tonight. I was surprised to see that there will be 2Jovian satellites Io and Ganymede both undergoing Transit and shadow event tonight at around 11:00pm!

I quickly setup the being collimated Meade 8" SCT which I was performing yesterday as well as cleaning the optics off some molds and fungus on the corrector plate. I thought to myself that testing the unit on an actual session will let me determine how well i have collimated the scope. I tested the scope at low power and Jupiter snaps into focus and then I inserted a 2x barlow lens and I can see the Great Red Spot as well as its plumes in the SEB. Io was also visible trailing behind the GRS on the SEB region while Ganymede can be seen transiting and casting its shadow on the South Polar Region. Also visible are 2 barges that are visible in the NEB region as well.

I tested the webcam on the scope and at 2x barlow, the image easily snaps into focus but it is obvious the seeing condition that time was not that good at around 2/5 and I can see some turbulence on the planet disk. Testing further with double stacked 2 x barlow render the image very soft so I had to use only one barlow for the night to at least document and share the view with fellow members. My planetary imaging skill is a far cry from what I want but as they say practice and practice!!! :)

Solar Imaging Session - October 24, 2011 (Nice AR11330 Sunspot Group)

The sky this morning was initially cloudy and I thought it is another frustrating day for me to do solar imaging again but at around 8:00am. sky then suddenly starts to clear for a moment and I didn't waste any moment and start imaging the Sun.

AR11330 Sunspot Group is the highlight on the Sun today and it has beautiful dual umbral structure which is a good thing to monitor in the days to come. AR11324 Sunspot Group is starting to decay but is still quite big in size. AR11327 Sunspot Group also possessed a nice umbral structure while AR11325 Sunspot Group is a nice group but is dull compared to the other groups that is visible on the Sun.

The large dark filament near AR11324 is still quite long and together with another nice dark filament that is visible in the SE limb is a joy to look at.

As I was starting to image in white light, here goes again stubborn clouds that cover the Sun again and I wasted about 30 minutes of imaging time thus when the Sun emerges again from the clouds, I had to scamper to tyr to image all the big groups on the Sun but unfortunately on my final 2 images on AR11327 and AR11325 groups, I had light cut off already due to roof obstruction thus producing a slightly soft image :( Nevertheless, important is to be able to document them all :)