Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

My recent reading has nudged me to the tipping point. This is a tame little blog, dedicated mostly to safe conversations among family and friends, but some things need to be aired. Some bad stuff is happening to our nation, and it scares me. That there is evil in the world is not surprising, but […]

More data acquired by Adam Block and processed by myself, this time of the Butterfly Nebula, also called the Bug Nebula, or more officially NGC 6302. It is a bipolar planetary nebula in the constellation Scorpius. According to Wikipedia, The structure in the nebula is among the most complex ever observed in planetary nebulae. The […]

I spruced up Mr. Crab with a little color from the same borrowed data acquired by Adam Block (see The Crab Nebula) I’ve probably mentioned this before, but there really is no “correct” color rendition of deep sky objects. If I were to look through the telescope eyepiece at Mr. Crab, I would probably be […]

Image data credit: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter – University of Arizona No, Stella did not take this one. I received some data for an image of The Crab with a processing tutorial I purchased. I created the image above using part of that data, and posted it on our church website as an example […]

My patio observatory is missing a dome or roof to keep out the weather. All of Stella’s components are installed under that snowy cover except for the imaging camera (Canon 60Da EOS) and the equatorial mount’s computer, which is in its hand controller. All the rest of Stella’s innards are under the shroud. I hope […]

For visual appeal, star clusters are not at the top of my favorites list, but when you find a pair of them close together, it’s always worth a look. This pair goes by the catalog names of NGC 884 and NGC 896, left and right, respectively. They were snapped by Stella (with a lttle help […]

My pet telescope and midnight companion Stella has been getting the shivers lately as the season progresses. Her warm weather coat of a charcoal grill cover doesn’t quite answer. The solution is a weatherproof scooter cover tucked in around her tripod legs. Today is turning out to be a beautiful Veteran’s Day precursor, a true […]

This afternoon, as I was innocently sauntering back toward home on 22nd Street, minding my own business and absently watching the younger and friskier squirrels playing grab-ass on the lawns instead of gathering acorns for the winter, I spotted a grizzled rodent chattering away at his progeny to get back to work, sort of reminding […]

As a wannabe amateur astronomer at an old folks home, I find I am definitely sky-challenged. From my “observatory” on the back patio of our cottage, I can view perhaps ten percent of the sky-dome. To the north I can see Polaris peeking over the ridge of our roof. To the east, I can view […]

Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro’ the mellow shade, Glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid. -Alfred, Lord Tennyson You are looking at a star cluster called Pleiades, a.k.a. Messier object 45 (M45), or Seven Sisters. (At this point you can be excused if you look back at […]