International Observe the Moon Night

The Observatory at Adams State University will be hosting an event as part of International Observe the Moon Night on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. We will have multiple telescopes set up, including one with a camera and monitor so we can all look at the Moon’s surface together as the planetarium/observatory director Dr. Robert Astalos describes the features that are visible, including craters, mare, mountains, rilles, walls, and more. There will also be several telescopes of varying power that you can look through and control for yourself.

The Open House will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The observatory is located behind the softball field and baseball batting cages, along the river trail. Please note that there is no parking at the observatory. Plan on parking in the lot on the south side of the soccer field or on the west side of Stadium Dr., and then walking to the observatory. There will be several banners pointing the way.

Observatory Open House and Ski-along-the-Rio

The ASU Observatory will be open to the public (weather permitting) on Saturday evening, Jan. 30, from 7 to 9 p.m.  The San Juan Nordic Club will be leading a Ski-along-the-Rio (snow and ice conditions permitting) from 7 to 8, leaving from and returning to the observatory. Bring your own ski equipment if you want to participate.  The club will also be providing warm beverages and cookies.

Moon Viewing success!

We finally had good luck with the weather!  Last night’s Moon viewing at the observatory went very well, with good attendance and mostly clear skies.  Visitors heard talks on the features they could see on the Moon, looked through the large telescopes – and moved them around with a joystick! – and took photos of their own to take home.  Here is a photo of the Moon taken during the viewing last night and processed this morning.FinishedMoon

The open house was clouded out, but tours were given

We had no luck with the weather on Saturday night, but we still had visitors show up, including families with kids, college students, and other community members.  Those who visited got tours of the observatory, discussions of the types of projects we will be doing, slideshows of images taken recently, demonstrations of telescope control, and talks on telescope optics.  Thanks to Open House 1 2014-10-18John McEvoy for the sharing his photos of the event.Open House 2 2014-10-18Open House 3 2014-10-18

Autoguiding is now working

We now have the equipment for off-axis guiding, and last night I was able to make the first longer exposures made possible by guiding.  There is still no stacking or bias/flat frame processing, so it will continue to get better.  This is a single six-minute exposure of the Bubble Nebula. Some color and noise processing was done in Paint.net.NGC 7635 - The Bubble Nebula in Cassiopeia

NGC 7635 – The Bubble Nebula in Cassiopeia

More photos

Another step up, these were taken using CCDOps’ “Track and Accumulate” feature.  It provides better signal-to-noise ratio, but it also introduces something it calls “correlated noise”.  Improved polar alignment should help with that, since I’ll be able to make longer individual exposures.  (Also learning other processing software!)  When I have the equipment for autoguiding, it will improve greatly. But for now, here’s a few more photos from last night (or this morning…)

M42, the Orion Nebula.  This is a place where stars are being born, forming from collapsed pockets of a large cloud of gas and dust. This version of the image was post-processed by Mike Henderson. Thanks, Mike!

M42, the Orion Nebula. This is a place where stars are being born, forming from collapsed pockets of a large cloud of gas and dust. This version of the image was post-processed by Mike Henderson. Thanks, Mike!

M1, The Crab Nebula.  This is the remains of a massive star that expired in a supernova explosion in 1054 AD.  That supernova was observed by Chinese astronomers.

M1, The Crab Nebula. This is the remains of a massive star that expired in a supernova explosion that was observed by Chinese astronomers  in 1054 AD.

 

 

Aerial Photo

Mike Henderson shared a fantastic aerial photo he took this afternoon with a quad-copter. It almost makes us look like we’re out in the middle of nowhere. Almost…

The new ASU Observatory from the air.

The new ASU Observatory from the air.