Of the many deep-sky sights in the constellation Cygnus along the rich band of the northern Milky Way, the Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888) isn’t the biggest or brightest, but it still finds its place on the target list of many astrophotographers and visual observers. This shimmering and intricate arc of glowing gas presents a rare example of a massive star in its end stages as it ejects mass at a furious rate on its way to a violent demise as a supernova.
Like many observers both casual and serious, I do not tire of gazing upon the little star cluster known as the Pleiades. I’ve seen the cluster a thousand times, but I’ll still stop and take a long look at it without optics while out for a walk on a winter’s night. Some night I’ll grab a pair of binoculars and make a closer inspection of the cluster, which fits perfectly in the field of view of such an instrument. And if it’s not too cold, I’ll pull out a telescope and a wide-field eyepiece and spend 20 minutes taking in the astonishing view of this group of blue-white stars that formed while dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. Which, in celestial terms, was not all that long ago.
Why keep looking at the Pleiades after so many years? The cluster doesn’t appear to change, of course, in the restricted timescale of a human life. But the Pleiades is a profoundly beautiful sight, as pleasing as a field of alpine wildflowers, and I never fail to see new patterns of stars both bright and dim that I hadn’t noticed before [Read more…] about The ‘Seven (Dusty) Sisters’Share This:
An abandoned sailboat in a grassy field in northern Virginia makes for a good, if unexpected, foreground for this image of the summer Milky Way. Mars is at lower left, while Saturn is below center, and just below the airplane trail. The silvery rectangle of stars above the plane trail is the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud (Messier 24). Many pink nebulae and silver-gray star clusters fleck the trail of the Milky Way. Look to the upper left of the image to see the little upside-down ‘Coat Hanger’ asterism known as Collinder 399.
Image taken on July 8, 2018 near Warrenton, VA, with a Nikon D750 and Tamron 15-30mm lens at f/2.8, a NiSi natural night filter, ISO 3200, 20 seconds.Share This:
Here’s an incredible video that’s as close as it comes to the actual feeling of being under a clear dark sky. Created by Ben Canales and John Waller of Uncage the Soul Productions, this short work features 20 high-school students at a summer astronomy camp in Oregon. The producers simply ask, “What do you feel?” The film also visits the Oregon Star Party where 600 astronomers camp out with their scopes.
This isn’t a timelapse. It’s a video of the night sky in real time. It shows what’s possible with current camera technology, in this case a Canon MH20f-SH set at ISO400,000, along with a fast 20 mm Sigma Art lens.
In this video, along with wide-field views of the late-summer sky, you can see stars reflected in the primary mirror of a big Dob as it turns, a live view of the star Capella through an eyepiece, and a view of the Perseid meteor shower. Just amazing.Share This:
The Jellyfish Nebula, also called IC 443, is the sprawling remnant of a massive star that exploded as a supernova some 3,000 to 30,000 years ago in a gas-strewn patch of the Milky Way in the constellation Gemini. As you can see in the above image by Jeff Johnson, the shock wave from the explosion produced the particularly intricate lacework of nebulosity that makes up the Jellyfish. The nebula, which is about 5,000 light years away, is adjacent to a rich region of star formation called Sharpless 249. [Read more…] about The Jellyfish NebulaShare This: