Among other fun things I did this week during spring break, I practiced using one of the Physics Dept.’s new telescopes. It’s a lovely little 127-mm Maksutov-Cassegrain with a robotic mount. I also used a NexImage 5 camera. While the telescope is a joy to use, the camera is a pain, and I can’t convince it to return color images.
In any case, I took advantage of the clear night on Friday and imaged Jupiter from the middle school baseball field across the street from my house. In spite of the fact that neither the seeing nor tracking were great, some post-processing with Registax returned a nice little image.
Jupiter, from my backyard.
Next steps: I need to do a better job with the tracking (probably need some new gear to improve the telescope alignment). A new camera might also be in order.
Had fun playing with the telescope again last night on BSU’s campus.
This time, we observed 55 Cnc, one of very few naked-eye stars that hosts transiting exoplanets. 55 Cnc’s planetary system comprises five fairly large planets, including one twice the size and eight times the mass of Earth in an orbit that roasts its surface at a temperature of 2,360 K — hot enough to vaporize iron.
Below is our image of the sky, annotated by the astrometry.net service (try to ignore the dark doughnut that is probably a dust mote on the telescope). 55 Cnc is the bright star at the bottom and is also called HD 75732.
55 Cnc observed by BSU’s campus.
Thanks to two of our folks in BSU physics, we’ve finally managed to get one of our telescopes working and took a beautiful image last night of the Orion Nebula.
Orion Nebula captured on-campus at Boise State on 2015 Mar 18.
Update (2015 Mar 29) — I submitted the FITS file image of the Orion nebula to astrometry.net, and it returned the following annotated image:
Astrometry.net fit for our Orion image. From http://nova.astrometry.net/user_images/622647#annotated.
Just for my info, the reported image size is 14.6 x 10.9 arcmin and pixel scale is 0.547 arcsec/pixel.