Thursday, September 27, 2012

(CCD) Chips .... are happy to see this Seagull !

Image Credit: ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2 - Davide De Martin

Seagulls, amazing birds, they make a lot of noise and seem to have an uncanny sense of who makes the best chips.

At the MCG in Melbourne, they soar into the night and catch little insects attracted to the bright stadium lights. They have to be chased away by Eagles trucked in to make sure they don't interfere with the precious television rights of footy broadcasts.

In the IT industry, consultants who swoop in with a special solution right about when money is up for grabs, but don't actually tap into the value created by the long suffering hardworking souls how already know what is required, are often referred to as Seagulls also - but I digress.

Somehow we have connected Seagulls to the idea that they are always out to pinch something, yet they are very cheeky, sociable birds that seem to have a lot to say about everything.

So here's one that will pinch your attention, but fill you with awe, without making a single noise.

Stuart Sharpless was a member of the Naval Academy at Flagstaff station in 1953 and proceeded to catalog over 300 emission nebulae. Many of these are in other catalogs already, the distinguishing features of the entries in Sharpless' 2 catalogs completed by 1959 was that the were all emission nebula that were high in HII - Ionized hydrogen, or as we would say today - Astro-photography paydirt!!!!

The eye of the Seagull is entry SH 2-292 - Sharpless Catalog 2, number 292. The "Eye of the Seagull" is actually part of the much larger Seagull Nebula. It really does look like a seagull.

Image Credit: ESO La Silla 2.2m Telescope

ESO in its 40th Anniversary year, has today released a new stunningly detailed image of the "Eye of the Seagull" taken from its Wide Field Camera on the 2.2m Telescope at La Silla Observatory. This image is perhaps the deepest ever taken of this amazing object, and features an equally stunning video of the object that zooms in from the "whole of sky" milkyway.

"This new image shows the head part of the Seagull Nebula It is just one part of the larger nebula known more formally as IC 2177, which spreads its wings with a span of over 100 light-years and resembles a seagull in flight. This cloud of gas and dust is located about 3700 light-years away from Earth. The Seagull Nebula lies just on the border between the constellations of Monoceros (The Unicorn) and Canis Major (The Great Dog) and is close to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. The nebula lies more than four hundred times further away than the famous star. The complex of gas and dust that forms the head of the seagull glows brightly in the sky due to the strong ultraviolet radiation coming mostly from one brilliant young star — HD 53367 [2] — that can be spotted in the centre of the image and could be taken to be the seagull’s eye. The radiation from the young stars causes the surrounding hydrogen gas to glow with a rich red colour and become an HII region. Light from the hot blue-white stars is also scattered off the tiny dust particles in the nebula to create a contrasting blue haze in some parts of the picture."

Image Credit: ESO, IAU and Sky & Telescope

Of course many of you familiar with the AARTScope Blog would remember my previous (seemingly under done by comparison) effort on SH 2-292. I was very happy with it and it is still one of my favorite images today.

Image Credit: Peter Lake - 18Hrs L, Sii, Ha, Oiii in the Hubble Pallet.

So next time you are at the beach trying to eat your fish and chips in peace, or at the football watching them dodge footballs, athletes and eagles - give a thought to IC 2177 / SH2-292 and remember the Seagull that the chips love - CCD chips that is!!!

The year 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Armstrong Appreciation Asteroid Hunt

The unique and renowned, Neil Armstrong will be remembered on Sept 13 in a number of official NASA led events.

His family encouraged us to look at the moon and give it a wink and think of Armstrong's great contribution to the space exploration program over decades - not just that one small step.

In the spirit of that iTelescope.Net will be holding its very first ever Google+ Hangout On Air, where we will (weather permitting) photograph the Asteroid (6469) 1982 PC Armstrong as a tribute to the great man. We will also create a "word cloud" in Wordle based on all your comments based on the attributes of the man.

So help us celebrate the life of a truly great "pioneer" - there you go, there's our first word.

Place your "one word description" for our word cloud in the comments below or underneath the video stream on Youtube. Also the direct link to the Videostream is here

Saturday, September 8, 2012

2012 QG42 - Coming past a planet near you!

This shouldn't be unusual, but it is a little bit!

Whilst it is not unusual for a sizeable asteroid to wander past outside the lunar orbit, it is very unusual for something that big to wander past only 17 days after it was discovered!!!

Yes, on the evening of 26/27 August the Catalina Sky Survey picked up 2012 QG42, and follow up confirmation observations confirmed a close approach of just over 7 Lunar distances on Sept 14th. Whilst we like to think that over 95% of objects this size have been found, as someone asked me recently "that's 95% of how many?". "How do you know how many are out there to find 95% of?". Thats largely a statiscal projection based on the size distribution and frequency of discovery.

Asteroids can be easily missed if the are in a busy field of background starts, zip through during the full moon when the survey, or artifacts in the photos mask their position.

Well, 2012 QG42 was picked up this time, and it currently the subject of study by the Arecibo and Goldstone Radar observatories.

After a really busy week at work I was sitting outside the Thai takeaway dinner restaurant and logged on to find the weather had finally broken and logged onto iT11 with my iPhone and grabbed the One line element from the MPC and bingo I was up and running, collected our dinner and went home to wait for the images to download.

I took 30 x 20 sec images which resolved the asteroid beautifully. Its currently travelling pretty slowly but will get up to a pacey 45 arcsecs per minute next week. However, its actually at its brightest in the next couple of days.

All 30 positions have now been reported to MPC.

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.41990 23 07 07.03 -05 30 34.5 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42046 23 07 06.60 -05 30 32.3 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42102 23 07 06.19 -05 30 29.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42156 23 07 05.80 -05 30 27.3 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42212 23 07 05.38 -05 30 24.9 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42267 23 07 04.98 -05 30 22.5 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42323 23 07 04.57 -05 30 20.2 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42378 23 07 04.15 -05 30 17.6 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42433 23 07 03.76 -05 30 15.1 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42488 23 07 03.34 -05 30 12.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42544 23 07 02.93 -05 30 10.2 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42604 23 07 02.49 -05 30 07.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42660 23 07 02.09 -05 30 05.3 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42716 23 07 01.66 -05 30 02.8 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42772 23 07 01.25 -05 30 00.3 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42828 23 07 00.85 -05 29 57.8 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42883 23 07 00.45 -05 29 55.4 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42939 23 07 00.03 -05 29 52.9 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.42994 23 06 59.62 -05 29 50.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43049 23 06 59.22 -05 29 47.9 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43104 23 06 58.82 -05 29 45.4 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43160 23 06 58.41 -05 29 43.2 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43215 23 06 58.00 -05 29 40.7 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43271 23 06 57.61 -05 29 38.5 13.5 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43326 23 06 57.18 -05 29 36.1 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43381 23 06 56.79 -05 29 33.6 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43436 23 06 56.37 -05 29 31.1 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43492 23 06 55.96 -05 29 28.3 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43547 23 06 55.57 -05 29 26.1 13.4 R H06

K12Q42G C2012 09 07.43603 23 06 55.15 -05 29 23.5 13.4 R H06

The above video is of the first 10 frames and shows the movement against the background stars.



Custom Search