April 23, 2009

Lunar Occultation of Venus (4-22-09)

The occultation occurred for me around 7:25 am on 4-22-09. The images were taken with a Canon XTi through a Canon 50mm f/1.8, a Nikon 200mm f/4, and a Meade AR6. Some of these images were published at Spaceweather.com (see the link here or go directly to here).

April 1, 2009

The Heart of the Beehive Cluster, M44, & IC 2388

This image is the heart of the Beehive Cluster, M44, in the constellation Cancer. This cluster of stars is very close (around 500 to 610 light years). If you look up a bit behind Leo's tail late in the evening in the spring in dark skies, you can see M44 as a patch of light mist or fog. Galileo turned his telescope on the mist and found it was actually many stars, close together.

Sue French's column in the March 2009 issue of Sky & Telescope pointed out that a number of faint background galaxies can be seen in large telescopes peaking out behind the Beehive. This narrow images contains only one, IC 2388. Does it look like it has a different shape than the stars in front of it? I see an ellipse oriented lower left to upper right. You may have to turn out the lights to see its faint shape, but then, you are stargazing!

This image is only 10x20". I was making sure my scope was in focus and waiting until Palomar 4 rose higher in the sky.