Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Short Night

  With the forecast looking good and the early sky crystal clear, I was excited to set up my telescope over the weekend.  Finally the moon was out of the way and I was planning on a good session at the scope.  I was able to get a handful of pictures before some unexpected wispy clouds moved over the flatirons and spoiled the evening.  

  I started the night by focusing and aligning the scopes on Jupiter before moving over to a globular cluster I had yet to search out.  Globular Clusters are densely packed balls of some of the oldest stars in the universe.  They formed back at the beginning of the galaxy and orbit in the halo, outside of the disk of the Milky Way.  Looking at M15 through binoculars, it appears as just a fuzzy star.  With the help of my camera, the individual stars really start to pop.

 M15 is one of the most densely packed globular clusters in our galaxy and it is suspected that the central core has collapsed on itself to form a central black hole.

  Once the clouds started to move in, I switched over to a regular camera lens and the ball head joint so that I could pick out spots in clear pockets.  One of those spots contained the Andromeda Galaxy hanging above one of our pine trees.  

   I've been working to bring out the nebulosity of the Pleiades and was really disappointed I didn't get the chance to finally tackle it for a couple of hours.  Instead, I got some wide angle shots of the famous cluster of stars.

  The Belt and Sword of Orion.  A wider view of the three belt stars and sword containing the Great Orion Nebula.  Just to the side of the left belt star is the faint inkling of the flame nebula.

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