Studying physics is really limiting my time from doing fun stuff, especially when it comes to one of my most favorite hobbies (astrophotography & star gazing). Even though of my time limitations, I couldn’t stop myself from finally buying new equipment I’ve long desired and saved money for, such as a mount upgrade (EQ 6 Pro), a new camera (Canon 50D) and two refractor telscopes from William Optics (Equipment page). I’m definetely now a happy amateur astronomer and even if I’m not able to perform any backyard astronomy these days, the weather wouldn’t allow me anyway and there fore there are no hard feelings since I miss nothing.
Although that is not the truth entirely, I’ve been out late evenings scanning the night skies, focusing on my primary goal objects such as M31 (Andromeda galaxy), M13, Double cluster and the Pleiades. These objects will definetely occupy my time for hours (apart from photo processing the images). I’ve also upgraded myself to Baader’s UHC-S filter which is a fine filter suited for astrophotographers living in suburban areas.
During mid october this year we had comet 103P/Hartley 2 passing by between Cassiopeia and Perseus constellation but I must admit that this comet was absolutely nothing spectacular and definetely not worthy the time. I went out trying to locate this object which was around magnitude 8 and even though with well trained eyes it still looked like any other star. No tail or obvious halos around it even by using wild imagination, so I decided instead to spend some time gazing at galaxies.
Every year in August between the 10th and 13th, we get the opportunity under good weather circumstances to observe the anual meteor showers caused by the Perseids. These small particles mainly made of dust are falling through the earth’s atmosphere from a radiant point in the sky located close by the Perseus and Cassiopeia constellations. These meteor showers are nonetheless remains of an old comet which passes close by our planet over a period of 130-135 years and was last seen in 1992 by the Japaneese astronomer Tsurukiko Kiuchi. The comet is named Swift-Tuttle after the two astronomers who independently were the first observers in modern history during the comet apperance in August 1862 (Lewis Swift and Horace Parnell Tuttle). Spectral analysis points out that this comet shares similarities with Halley’s comet which is rich in ammonia, water and carbon dioxide and also clasified as NEO (Near Earth Object) as it is approaches earth in a distance of 4 miljion kilometers. The chances of an impact with our planet is 1 in a 1,000,000 which is much less then the frightening asteroid called Apophis were chances are much larger; 1 in 15,000.
This year our observatory will be opento public between 11th to 13th of August 21:30 to midnight allowing all interested to come and visit us under guidance from the observatory staff.
During June-July at Tycho Brahe observatory we were preparing for a large project that would involve the cooperation between many amateur astronomers from different locations in Sweden. The Swedish assosiation for amateur astronomers (SAAF: Svenska Amatörastronomiska Föreningen) helped us to get in touch with other amateur astronomers across the country. Together with my collegue Arne L Ohlsson we started to put hard work on planning, coordinating meetings, assembling nessesary instrumentation and dealing with time pressure.
The ockultation is all about a large rock out in space, or more commonly called an asteroid named 472 Roma passing infront of the delta star (Yed Prior) in the constellation of Ophiucus, causing this large red giant star to dissappear for a around 5 seconds. This asteroidal passage was meant to be easily observed from our location, but negative observations outside the occultation shadow would provide a lot of information regarding the star itself.
It has been mistaken for a long time that the delta star in Ophiucus would be a double and for the first time an asteroid would occult this star and reveal it’s secrets for us. Unfortunately just before the occultation occurred, heavy clouds surounded our area. That was our worse case scenario that just took place, leaving us with unanswered questions.
In the morning we heard that the German and Belgian astronomers were more lucky then us and that many positive reports started to fall in!
For almost a week ago we received our radio telescope which was originally owned by the institute of astronomy at Lund’s university. The telescope was used primarily by astronomy students. It weights around 200 kg and is 1,20 m across in diameter. With this telescope we will be able to observe regardless weather conditions and even at daytime the sun, some strong radio sources in Milky way and many other things.
At the same time we have spoken with the architects from the municipality office regarding an extension building northside from our observatory. I will publish soon some blueprints which will give a clear picture of how our future observatory will look like. Because the building plans are not official yet, I’ll have to wait from publishing any further information regarding construction plans until all plans are set.
Last night I held a lecture about Galileo’s telescope for members in our Tycho Brahe astronomy society here in Skåne. I would have kept going with my entire presentation for more then a hour but my time was limited to half. The lecture was describing the difficulties Galileo encountered in order to build his first telescope and the differences and achievements with later versions of his telescopes, as well as his first observations based on Jupiter, Venus and the moon that changed the world’s view.
Unfortunately Bengt Rosengren a member in our astro-society felt ill and couldn’t attend our meeting. He has created a Galileo telescope replica which would be available for our attendees to study. I am providing an image from his replica here.
It has been some time since I wrote about anything on my blog, primarily because of a series of events in my life. Unfortunately south parts of Sweden have been covered completely by clouds during a long period of time. The weather became much better during Christmas holidays but unfortunately there was so little time left for observing after spending time with family and friends.
Regardless, there are some discoveries and news that came in focus for the astronomy world. Such as the sunspot activity which get increased for every week. Sunspot 1040, which was barely visible at the beggining, but now it seems to get increased both in size and activity.
A new debate started between a group of French and German astronomers regarding supermassive black holes. It came to the attention after lengty observations that there is a group of black holes responsible in the creation and formation of new stars within galaxies thank to their powerful jet streams of materia ejected by them out in the space.
The question though is, which one came first during the early stages of the universe? Was it a supermassive black hole or a galaxy? As known already to us, a supermassive black holes exist in the center of galaxies but there are some supermassive black holes that are “naked” or “without home”. Those black holes roam the universe alone, such as the quasar HE-0450-2958. There are some that oppose the idea by answering that galaxies were first to exist.
It is interesting to see what conclusion will be drawn by scientists in the future.
Finally, I wish to you all a happy new year!
It has been a while since my last post but the reasons are mainly because of private life interference rather than the lack of news.
To sum everything up we have seen LCROSS mission at the beginning of October (search for water on the lunar surface at Cabeus crater) to the moon was finally a big success. Many of us believed that the impact would be visually greater than the result, but the most interesting part is the actual data returned to us back on earth. It is now a fact that moon holds large amounts of water, ready to be used for future lunar missions!
Few weeks after I travelled to Stockholm in order to behold Galileo’s telescope, an exhibition that lasts to March next year. The reason of this artifact being part of an exhibition here in Stockholm is to celebrate 400 years since Galileo raised, for the first time in human history, a telescope to observe the night sky for scientific purposes.
I received permissions from the museum to freely take pictures of the telescope as a representative of the Tycho Brahe Astronomy community in order to hold a lecture about Galileo to the members of Tycho Brahe back here in Lund.
I will tell you how that went later on this blog. In the mean while I must also inform that these pictures here are not of the best quality. Darkness from the museum forced my camera to long exposures and my hands were shaking. I should have brought my tripod but in my hurry I forgot it at home. Nevertheless I’ve got the chance to see closely our father Astronomer Galileo’s heritage to us to what might be the very first telescope in the name of the science.
Some interesting links about LCROSS mission can be found here:
On Saturday I was summoned by senior lecturer Peter Linde to Lund’s library. I was asked to assist with the telescope during the cultural night event in Lund. Visitors would come and watch through the telescope which was pointed towards Jupiter and the moons Io, Ganymedes, Europe and Callisto.
I was surprised by how many people attended to the library. At the same time we were showing Jupiter on the telescope, Peter held lectures about the possibility in existence of life within our planet system and far beyond. All in all we could estimate around 300 attendees during the evening that lasted from 7 pm to midnight.
I was happy to meet that people and share information regarding Galileo, Jupiter and the moons around the planet.