Monday, July 2, 2012

Milky WOW

Friday, June 29:

With a 10 day old moon setting at 2AM, I decided to head to the observatory, if only to visit with friends and relax a bit.  The sky was mostly overcast, even showing us a 22 deg Moon ring at one point.  As the Moon made it's final plummet around 1:30am the clouds parted and revealed a beautiful sky that was sooo worth staying up for.  We waited patiently for the clear sky to darken after Moonset and opened the roof.  We hopped around Cygnus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Lyra, and (of course) Sagittarius.  Notable views of Wild Duck (M11), Dumbell Nebula (M27), Ring Nebula (M57), Double Cluster, and the the gorgeous Andromeda Galaxy.  Unfortunately, it was too late and bright to do any astrophotography with the scope.

The stars started to dance in the eyepieces after about an hour of viewing as we were pushing 3:30am so we called it a night.  Before I packed up the gear I took a 180 degree Panorama of the milkyway from horizon to horizon.

10 frames @ 18mm 30sec f3.5 ISO1600

Here's a single frame I took of the Milky Way flowing through the Summer Triangle, which is made up of the stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair.  There's lots of great stuff in there but look hard in this frame to find Brocchi's cluster, aka: the "Coathanger Cluster.

18mm 30sec f3.5 ISO2000