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Ed’s Astronomy

Edward J. Hahnenberg, owner of the Hahnenberg Observatory in Lake Leelanau, blogs about astronomy and posts photographs of the heavens taken from his CCD cameras.

The Moon and the Sombrero Galaxy

Ed HahnenbergTonight, April 20th, the evening was cloudless and “seeing” was quite good, meaning there was little moisture in the atmosphere. I began by using my Imaging Source 41 camera  and my 6″ Celestron OTA to capture two avi files of over 2000 images. If you followed my last blog on Saturn, Registax  software is able to stack, align, and select a great image. Below are two images of the moon at 76% waxing gibbous illumination. More »

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Saturn and M106 at sunrise

Ed HahnenbergI have been waiting all winter for weather conditions to clear sufficiently to image Saturn. Viewing Saturn is probably the best experience an astronomer can offer youngsters to get them interested in astronomy. Even for adults, the experience can be memorable.

The plane of Saturn’s rings changes over time. Not too long ago, the rings were hardly visible, so viewing the planet did not have the “wow” factor. Below is an example of images in their various stages, showing how the plane of the rings change. More »

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NGC 3718, 3729, UGC 06527, and the full moon

Ed HahnenbergMarch 27th the moon was full, the sky was cloudless and the temperature was not unreasonably cold. By this time last year I was taking my ATV out to do some imaging, but this is still snowmobile weather. I did have a challenge beside cranking up the machine. The objects I was to image, though listed in the “100 Best Astrophotography Targets” by Ruben Kier, were small objects. What enticed me to image NGC 3718, 3729, and UGC 06527 was simply that I had never done so before, and the difficulty of imaging such small objects with a full moon not far away. More »

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St. Patrick’s Day Celestial Treats

Ed HahnenbergOn St. Patrick’s Day there was a double treat in the heavens. The moon was a waxing crescent topped off by the planet Jupiter. Unfortunately Jupiter will be ending its nighttime appearance come Spring. The calendar says the season is three days away, but the weather doesn’t seem to be taking advice from it. Forecast for the near future calls for 6-10 inches of snow, but tonight is one of the clearest this winter. More »

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Observatory updates and M42

Ed HahnenbergIt’s been quite some time since I posted a blog in astrophotography. There are so many reasons why. The last post was in January at I had begun the process of imaging in a different way. My goal was to make my observatory an all-inclusive one as to astrophotography and visual use. More »

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Processing solar images

Ed HahnenbergIt’s one thing to photograph the sun and get images. It is quite another thing to process the information the cameras yield to enhance the data. I think most people who have point and shoot digital cameras have changed terrestrial photos with tools such as crop, lighten or darken, etc. The more proficient one becomes with digital cameras nowadays, the more interesting the photos become. More »

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Lunar Imaging with the DMK 41AU02

Ed HahnenbergOn the afternoons of  Dec. 18th and 19th, in broad daylight around 3:00 pm or so, the skies cleared so I was able to experiment with my new camera, DMK 41AU02, a monochrome CCD unit. I attached it as a straight-through imager to my 14” Celestron scope. The moon was nearly at quarter-moon waxing and it was visible against a blue sky. More »

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Jupiter with the DFK 21AU04

Ed HahnenbergOn 12-14-12, I got a chance to take an image of Jupiter using both of my Imaging Source cameras … the DFK 21AU04.AS USB CCD color and the DMK 41AU02 monochrome. I had spent a couple of hours cleaning out my observatory of materials that had accumulated over the past few years. My concern was that I had made a mistake by investing in a JMI EV-3c Event Horizon SCT Focuser which attaches to the end of the C1400 scope. I had tried to achieve focus before, using the focusing knob that is native to the large scope to provide rough focus, and the EV-3c to fine-tune. However, after the observatory clean-up, I did some experimenting and found that I needed about three inches more of back-focus length. Where to find such a thing? Then I thought about my 2X Celestron Barlow. What if I took out the lens and just used the tube as the extension? Well, it worked. More »

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Christmas and Sol Invictus

Ed HahnenbergIn the early Church, there was no fixed date for the celebration of Christmas across the entire Church, or even agreement as to when Jesus was born.

The main reason early Christians chose December 25th for the date of Christmas relates to two dates that were bandied about: the date of the creation of the world, and the vernal equinox. According to some early writers, both events happened on March 25th. Early Christian writer Sextus Julius Africanus (220 AD) speculated that the world was created on March 25th, based on his chronology of Jewish and Christian history, contained in his Chronographia. More »

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Sun Prominences, Plasma Trails, and Flares

Ed HahnenbergTuesday, December 4th, was a fairly active day on the sun. I had just received an Imaging Source DMK 41AU02 monochrome CCD camera to do detailed imaging of the planets, the moon, and the sun. The day was a sunny day early in the afternoon. This was going to be an experiment in imaging through my Coronado PST. I had had problems taking astrophotographs with my Imaging Source DMK 21 color camera due to its IR filter. More »

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