Astrophoto: Triple Star System Gliese 667 – Home of ‘Goldilocks’ Exoplanets

Here is a great new observation of the triple star system Gliese 667 from astrophotographer Efrain Morales of the Jaicoa Observatory in Puerto Rico. Recently, one of the stars, 667 C was found to have perhaps seven planets orbiting it! If all seven planets are confirmed, the system would consist of three habitable-zone super-Earths, two hot planets further in, and two cooler planets further out. Scientists say that the ‘f’ planet is “a prime candidate for habitability.”

Efrain also created an animation of the star system, showing the stars’ movements:

The animation was created using plates from the DSS (Digitized Sky Survey) with the final image in the animation from Efrain’s observations.

Gif animation of The animation of the triple star system Gliese 667, created using plates from the DSS (Digitized Sky Survey) with the final image in the animation from  Jaicoa Observatory. Credit and copyright: Efrain Morales. Click for animation.
Gif animation of The animation of the triple star system Gliese 667, created using plates from the DSS (Digitized Sky Survey) with the final image in the animation from Jaicoa Observatory. Credit and copyright: Efrain Morales. Click for animation.

The system is in the constellation of Scorpius and is just barely visible to the unaided eye at magnitude 5.9 – appearing as a single point of light. The three stars orbit each other in a complicated dance. The two brightest components of this system, Gliese 667 A and Gliese 667 B, are orbiting each other at about 13 times the separation of the Earth from the Sun, while Gliese 667 C is the smallest stellar component of this system, and orbits the other two stars at about 230 AU.

Efrain used a LX200ACF 12 in. OTA, F6.3, CGE mount, ST402xm CCD, Astronomik LRGB filter set.

Thanks to Efrain Morales and the Jaicoa Observatory for providing this latest look at an extremely interesting star system!

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: A Man-Made Sunspot

The Sun has been active recently along with showing several sunspots. But astrophotogher Efrain Morales captured an additional ‘man-made’ sunspot as the International Space Station transited across the face of the solar disk.

“It was a challenge as the Sun was low on the horizon at 19.5 deg. elevation, just above the canopy of the forest,” Efrain said via email, “along with and the ISS being over 250 miles distant from my location passing over Haiti at the time. His home base is the Jaicoa Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Equipment: SolarMax40, P/B CGE mount, Flea3 Ccd.

Below, see an animation of the ISS transit:

Animation of the International Space Station Transiting across the disc of the Sun on January 9th at about 20:32 UTC. Credit: Efrain Morales.

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: A Year of Mars Observations by Efrain Morales

Mars from July, 2011 to June 2012. Credit: Efrain Morales, Jaicoa Observatory

Superman has nothing on this big “S” created by putting together views of Mars for one full year. Efrain Morales from the Jaicoa Observatory in Puerto Rico compiled just a few images of Mars he captured from July of 2011 to June of 2012, and this collage shows the size differences in how Mars appeared in a telescope as the planet moved toward and then reached opposition in March of 2012, and how it appeared during the months afterward. Also visible is how the North Polar Cap decreased in size as the seasons changed on the red Planet.

Equipment: LX200ACF 12 inch, OTA, CGE mount, Flea3 CCD, TeleVue 3x barlows, Astronomik LRGB filter set. See more of Efrain’s work at his website.

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.