Virtual Star Party – May 4, 2014: It’s Galaxy Season!

Hosts: Fraser Cain and Scott Lewis
Astronomers: Gary Gonella, Andrew Dumbleton, Stuart Foreman, David Dickinson, Shahrin Ahmad and special guest Henna Khan from Bombay, India

Tonight’s Views:
the Moon’s surface
M44 Beehive Cluster
Neutron Star B224 from HST
All-Sky View
Mars with ice caps and Hellas Basin visible
Comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS
Stuart demonstrating how to work with software to process images
M51a Whirlpool Galaxy
M53 Globular Cluster
Rosette Nebula – NGC 2237, 2238, 2239 and 2246
Saturn
Horsehead Nebula (Barnard 33 in emission nebula IC 434) and Flame Nebula (NGC 2024) with a satellite trail
NGC 5139 Omega Centauri
M42 Orion Nebula
M63 Sunflower Galaxy
NGC 7635 Bubble Nebula
Large and Small Magellanic Clouds

We hold the Virtual Star Party every Sunday night as a live Google+ Hangout on Air. We begin the show when it gets dark on the West Coast. If you want to get a notification, make sure you circle the Virtual Star Party on Google+. You can watch on our YouTube channel or here on Universe Today.

Virtual Star Party – February 23, 2014 – Nebulae, Sunspots, and Planet “X”?!?

Hosts: Fraser Cain & Scott Lewis
Astronomers: David Dickinson, Gary Gonella, James McGee, Mike Simmons, Roy Salisbury, Shahrin Ahmad, Tom Nathe

Tonight’s views:
Jupiter with a nice view of the red spot, Venus approaching zenith, Bubble Nebula, the Pleiades, Orion Nebula, Horsehead Nebula, Flame Nebula, Running Man Nebula, the Moon, the Sun, the ISS (photo), the Rosette Nebula, Orion again, M33, Sunspots, Rosette again, California Nebula (multiple views), M81 & M82, Planet “X” (?!?), Andromeda, Flame Nebula again

We hold the Virtual Star Party every Sunday night as a live Google+ Hangout on Air. We begin the show when it gets dark on the West Coast. If you want to get a notification, make sure you circle the Virtual Star Party on Google+. You can watch on our YouTube channel or here on Universe Today.

Astrophoto: Hubble in the Bubble

Here’s a beautiful look at the Bubble Nebula, taken by astrophotographer Terry Hancock using what’s known as the “Hubble Palette,” — imaging in very narrow wavelengths of light using various filters. This allows very subtle details to be revealed, things that the human eye cannot see. Terry has been working on this one for a while — since mid-August — but the results are spectacular!

Terry took images from his “DownUnder Observatory” in Fremont, Michigan. He explains the image and techniques he used:

This last capture over 10 nights took me since mid-August 2013 to complete due to very high moisture in our West Michigan Skies right through this shoot. So, the data is therefore noisy and not the best but it is time to call it done for this year and move on! Due to poor conditions I had to use the H-Alpha data I had from my RGB+HA version using the QHY11 and combine with only one night capture using the QHY9 with it’s 3nm H-Alpha filter.

Using narrow band filters and post processed using the Hubble Palette technique the SII filter is assigned to Red, SII is assigned to Green and OIII is assigned to blue channel.

Total exposure time was 26 hours — persistence pays off! Thanks to Terry for sharing his gorgeous image!

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

Astrophoto: Take a 3-D Journey Inside the Bubble Nebula

We’ve featured the unique 3-D work of J-P Metsävainio previously, but it’s time to check in and see what he’s been working on lately. Metsävainio creates incredible 3-D animations from his own astronomical images, which he calls “3-D experiments” that are a mixture of science and an artistic impression. “I collect distance and other information before I do my 3-D conversion,” he told Universe Today via email earlier this year. “Usually there are known stars, coursing the ionization, so I can place them at right relative distance. If I know a distance to the nebula, I can fine tune distances of the stars so, that right amount of stars are front and behind of the object.”

Above is the animation of the Bubble Nebula, below is his extremely detailed image:

His observations and images are simply stunning, but he says his 3-D animations are “a personal vision about shapes and volumes, based on some scientific data and an artistic impression.”

Read about his imaging and processing techniques for the Bubble Nebula image here.

You can check out more of his images and animations on his website and on his YouTube channel.