Wandering through the realms of the cosmos, pondering its huge vastness

MicroObservatory

Honorable Mention – 2011 MicroObservatory Photo Contest

Last May, my Lunar Montage received an Honorable Mention in the Astrocreative category of the First MicroObservatory Astrophotography Contest.

My certificate and prizes from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Instead of using my pen name, I used my real name with my entry submission 🙂 

This contest was held in honor of Global Astronomy Month 2011 last April. Participants used the Observing With NASA portal and MicroObservatoryImage software to create RGB Composite images and Astrocreative images.

MicroObservatory is a network of automated telescopes that anyone can control over the Internet.

The telescopes were developed by scientists and educators at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They are located and maintained at observatories affiliated with the Center for Astrophysics, including the Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, MA and the Whipple Observatory in Amado, AZ.

Using many of the same technologies that NASA uses to capture astronomical images by controlling telescopes in space, amateur astronomers world-wide can control a sophisticated ground-based telescope from the convenience of any computer. The MicroObservatory remote observing network is composed of several 3-foot-tall reflecting telescopes, each of which has a 6-inch mirror to capture the light from distant objects in space. Instead of an eyepiece, the MicroObservatory telescopes focus the collected light onto a CCD detector (an electronic chip like that in a digital camera) that records the image as a picture file with 650 x 500 pixels.

With these robotic telescopes, people can take images of the Moon, Sun, nearby planets and some deep-sky objects even without having a telescope! 🙂 Cool, isn’t it?

I’ve been using MicroObservatory for over a year now and I have already taken and processed several images using it. Below are some of them:

M42, Orion Nebula (August 15, 2010)
M42, Orion Nebula 
Lagoon Nebula, M8 in Sagittarius
Trifid Nebula, M20 in Sagittarius
Waning Gibbous Moon
Sun

Congratulations to all the winners of the contest and thank you, MicroObservatory! 🙂


My First Lunar Montage!

Click on image to enlarge.

This is my first ever humble attempt to create a lunar montage 😀 *Please forgive my lack of skill in image processing. I’m still working on it.* Haha!

The Moon phases were from March 1 (waxing crescent, topmost right) up to March 29 (waning crescent, bottom right). All photos converge to the Perigree Moon (or Super Full Moon) of last March 19, 2011 which was at the lowermost left.

During its full phase, the Supermoon is roughly 34 arc minutes (~0.6 degrees) and is about 357,000km close to Earth.

Please take note that no images were taken during March 2, 4, 5 and 6 because of the thick cloud cover during those days.

I used MS Office Picture Manager to edit the individual photos and Picasa 3 to compose the montage.

Images taken using MicroObservatory Online Telescopes.

MicroObservatory is a network of five automated telescopes that can be controlled over the Internet.

Location: Massachusetts and Arizona

The telescopes were developed at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Cambridge, MA.)

 

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Read more about the Moon Illusion


New Sunspot Groups – March 28, 2011

Sunspots of the active solar regions
March 28, 2011
Taken using MicroObservatory Telescopes
Edited in MS Office Picture Manager and Picasa 3

The visible solar disk now has several visible sunspot regions. The two largest regions are currently Sunspots 1176 and new Sunspot 1183. Both regions have BETA-Gamma magnetic classification and could produce M-Class flares.

More info:

Sunspots are magnetic in nature. They are the places (“active regions”) where the Sun’s magnetic field rises up from below the Sun’s surface and those magnetic regions poke through. Sunspots are darker than the surrounding areas because they are expending less energy and have a lower temperature. Sunspots often have poles (“polarity”) like the south and north poles of magnets.

These are formed continuously as the Sun’s magnetic field actively moves through the Sun. The sunspots have lifetimes of days or perhaps one week or a few weeks. (NASA-SDO)


Cheers to 2011!

 

Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year!


 

Image: The Great Orion Nebula (taken using MicroObservatory Online Telescope last August, 2010)


My Blue-ish Moon!

 

Does Luna looked lovelier in blue? 😀

I was inspired by Mr. Michael Peterson’s Blue Moon post so I decided to make my own just for fun 😀

This full moon was taken last Nov. 22, 2010 using MicroObservatory online telescope.

Don’t be fooled 🙂 This image was just enhanced and recolored to make it appear bluish.

The term”Blue moon” has nothing to do with the color of our closest celestial neighbor. The November 22, 2010 Blue Moon is the third of four full moons between the September 2010 equinox and December 2010 solstice.

‘Til next Blue Moon! 😀