Iridium Flare Pass | 2017 Dec 1

The Iridium 21 satellite passed over my part of Iowa this morning before sunrise. I set the iPad Air 2 on a firm base pointed at an angle toward the NNW sky. At 6:02 am, I started the 102 sec exposure using the NightCap Camera app, same as for the ISS pass three days earlier. The satellite was going north as it entered the frame at the top. After about 30 sec, a highly reflective mirror-like antenna cast a beam of sunlight down toward me. It brightened to several times more than the planets Venus or Jupiter ever get. Then it dimmed and continued north.

Taken with NightCap Camera | ISS mode | 102 sec | click to embiggen

Another satellite passed at the same time going toward the upper left from north-to-south. It is very faintly visible to the left of the flare. According to the Heavens Above database for my area, it was either a Russian satellite, or an Ariane rocket body.

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Space Station Pass | Plus Three

An email notified me of a pass over my region by the International Space Station. The large bright object is always fun to see as it crosses the sky. First visibility was at 6:15 pm in the southwest low in the tree branches at the lower right of the image. It rose higher in the southern sky toward the upper left and passed the Moon in the southeastern sky. There is disappeared as it went into the darkness of the Earth’s shadow.

I used an application on my iPad called NightCap Camera to record a time exposure of nearly 5 minutes. It has a setting designed to capture ISS passes. With the iPad pointed almost due south, it recorded more than the ISS. A passenger plane with its blinking lights moved right-to-left across the field of view starting under the edge of the roofline. A few moments later another plane moved, this time left-to-right, parallel to the first. I kept recording the image. When I examined the image later, I noticed another object had entered the frame from the top before I closed the shutter. It was probably a polar orbiting satellite. I hadn’t noticed it as it was quite dim in the sky.

Sometimes you get surprised with more than expected. I like when serendipity happens.

Click to embiggen

Astro-Images | Pillars of Creation

I’ve created color composites from three grayscale images using the technique in this post. The colors assigned are not necessarily what the human eye would see, but are used to bring out details. Unless otherwise noted, all images used three original grayscales from the Hubble Legacy Archive. Visit the gallery of previous Astro-Images.

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NGC 6611 From ESO

The Eagle Nebula is about 7000 lt yrs distant in the constellation Serpens of the southern skies. The cluster of bright stars at the core was discovered by Jean-Philippe de Chéseaux in 1745-46. Images today show much more detail than Chéseaux was able to see. This image made from 3 greyscale components by the European Southern Observatory in 2009 shows those details. The very bright open cluster of stars barely right of center causes gases to glow and silhouettes of the dust regions. Those bright young stars formed 1-2 million yrs ago.

ESO | European Southern Observatory

 

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Astro-Images | Four Nebulae

I’ve created color composites from three grayscale images using the technique in this post. The colors assigned are not necessarily what the human eye would see, but are used to bring out details. Unless otherwise noted, all images used three original grayscales from the Hubble Legacy Archive. Visit the gallery of previous Astro-Images.

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NGC 7009

The Saturn Nebula is in the constellation Aquarius. William Herschel found it 7 Sep 1782 using a telescope in his garden. The image he saw had a central bulge with narrow extensions on either side that made it look a bit like Saturn. Images today show more detail and make it look less like Saturn. The hot central star is emitting jets of debris to the upper left and lower right.

NGC7009

Saturn Nebula

 

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Astro-Images | Rectangle | Gem | Rings

I enjoy creating color images from three grayscale images. The post linked here will explain how to create color astronomical images. The colors assigned are not necessarily what the human eye would see, but are used to bring out details. Visit the gallery of previous Astro-Images. Unless otherwise noted, all images are made by me using three original grayscales from the Hubble Legacy Archive.

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NGC 6445

Can an exploding star create debris in the shape of a rectangular box? It appears that is what happened with the Red Rectangle nebula. It is found in the constellation Monoceros which is just to the left of Orion. The nebula was discovered in 1973 when scientists were using a rocket to search for infrared sources. The two stars at the center of the nebula were discovered in 1915.

NGC6445

 

Consider this model of the Red Rectangle. To make it, I put an image of a wine glass stem-to-stem with another and placed them horizontal. Two stars are in orbit where the stems join. One of the stars is nearing the end of its life cycle and is emitting large amounts of gases in two directions (left and right) along the axis of spin. The excited gases appear red. This model is not viewed exactly 90˚ to the axis. The actual image above is actually 90˚ to the axis of spin.

In the image above, there are variations in the cones emitted to the left and right. They are disruptions to the flow of gases from the source star caused by the other star in orbit around the source.

RectModel

 

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Astro-Images | Trifid | Ghosts | Black Eye

I enjoy creating color images from three grayscale images. The post linked here will explain how to create color astronomical images. The colors assigned are not necessarily what the human eye would see, but are used to bring out details. Visit the gallery of previous Astro-Images. Unless otherwise noted, all images are made by me using three original grayscales from the Hubble Legacy Archive.

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NGC 6514

It rises like a two-horned monster out of the dark clouds below. Instead, it is a lobe of dust and gas illuminated and eroded by intensely powerful stars out of the field of view to the right. Part of the Trifid Nebula, discovered in 1764 by Charles Messier, this lobe is a star forming region. The ‘horns’ and ‘tadpole’ appearances are due to the presence of very dense clumps of dust and gas at the tips which are more slowly blown to the left by the strong stellar winds. The three-lobed Trifid is in Sagittarius. This Hubble image is only a small part of the entire nebula.

NGC6514

 

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