Video Astronomy
Video Astronomy

This section is dedicated to images taken with an astronomy video camera - the Mallincam "Hyper Plus Color" (MCHPC).  These units are used for both visual observing as well as some astrophotography.  For star parties and encouraging outreach, these are terrific tools.  I have also done some seminars/demos on how to take and process images with the MCHPC, and below you see the results.

   Enjoy...Neil

Double Cluster

Double Cluster in Perseus

NGC 884 (chi Persei) and NGC 869 (h Persei) together are more popularly known as the “Double Cluster”.  Located in the constellation, Perseus, they are each 7,600 and 6,800 light-years away, and are situated close to one another as well.

These clusters are quite young; NGC 884 thought to be 5.6 million years old, and NGC 869 at 3.2 million years in age.  They contain hot main sequence stars of spectra O and B0.

Date Taken:
 - August 14, 2009

Exposures:
 - 20x14 second exposures, total 4.67 minutes


M13

M13

M13 is one of the most prominent and best known globular clusters. Visible with binoculars in the constellation of Hercules. M13 is frequently one of the first steps beyond those ordinarily visible to the casual sky gazer. M13 is a colossal home to over 100,000 stars, spans over 150 light years across, lies over 20,000 light years distant, and is over 12 billion years old. At the 1974 dedication of Arecibo Observatory, a radio message about Earth was sent in the direction of M13. The reason for the low abundance of unusual blue straggler stars in M13 is currently unknown.

Date Taken:
 - August 14, 2009

Exposures:
 - 50x14 second exposures, total 11.67 minutes


M17

M17 - The Swan Nebula

Messier 17 lies some 5,500 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius, and spans some 50 light years. M17 is also known as the Omega Nebula or the Swan Nebula.

Date Taken:
 - August 14, 2009

Exposures:
 - 30x28 second exposures, total 14 minutes


M20

M20

Messier 20 is an emission nebula and its reddish color is produced by the characteristic light of hydrogen gas (H-alpha). A bright star cluster lies at the center of the nebula, and is somewhat obscured by lanes of dark dust. These dust threads obscure visible light, and are therefore seen in silhouette against the brighter nebula.  The blue nebula is unconnected with M20 and just happens to appear in the same field of view. The nebula appears blue because starlight is being scattered by interstellar dust particles.

Date Taken:
 - August 14, 2009

Exposures:
 - 20x28 second exposures, total 9.33 minutes


M27

M27 - The Dumbbell Nebula

The Dumbbell Nebula, M27, was the first planetary nebula ever discovered. On July 12, 1764, Charles Messier discovered this new and fascinating class of objects, and describes this one as an oval nebula without stars. The name "Dumb-bell" goes back to the description by John Herschel, who also compared it to a "double-headed shot."

This planetary nebula is certainly one of the most impressive objects of its kind in the sky, as the angular diameter of the luminous body is nearly 6 arc minutes, with a faint halo extensing out to over 15', half the apparent diameter of the Moon. It is also among the brightest, being at a visual magnitude of 7.4.

Date Taken:
 - August 14, 2009

Exposures:
 - 50x14 second exposures, total 11.67 minutes


M31

M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy

M31 is the famous Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest large neighbor galaxy, forming the Local Group of galaxies together with its companions (including M32 and M110, two bright dwarf elliptical galaxies), our Milky Way and its companions, M33, and others.

Date Taken:
 - August 14, 2009

Exposures:
 - 20x28 second exposures, total 9.33 minutes


M42

M42 - The Great Nebula in Orion

The Orion Nebula (M42) is the brightest diffuse nebula in the sky, and one of the brightest deep sky objects of all.  Shining with the brightness of a star of 4th magnitude, it visible to the naked eye under even moderately light-polluted locations.  It is also a big object in the sky, extending to over 1 degree in diameter, thus covering more than four times the area of the Full Moon!

Possibly discovered 1610 by Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc.  Independently found by Johann Baptist Cysatus in 1611.  In about 130 AD, Ptolemy included it in his catalog, as did Tycho Brahe in the late 16th century, and Johann Bayer in 1603 - the latter cataloging it as Theta Orion in his Uranometria.  In 1610, Galileo detected a number of faint stars when first looking at this region with his telescope, but didn't notice the nebula. Some years later, on February 4, 1617, Galileo took a closer look at the main star, Theta1, and found it to be triple, at his magnification of 27 or 28x.


M51

M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy

M51 was one of Charles Messier's original discoveries: He discovered it on October 13, 1773, when observing a comet, and described it as a "very faint nebula, without stars" which is difficult to see. Its companion, NGC 5195, was discovered in 1781 by his friend, Pierre Mechain, so that it is mentioned in Messier's 1784 catalog: 'It is double, each has a bright center, which are separated 4'35". The two "atmospheres" touch each other, the one is even fainter than the other.'

Date Taken:
 - June 1, 2009

Exposures:
 - 150x28 second exposures, total 70 minutes


M82

M82 - The Cigar Galaxy

Messier 82 (also known as NGC 3034 or the Cigar Galaxy) is the prototype nearby starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. This starburst galaxy is five times as bright as the whole Milky Way, and one hundred times as bright as our galaxy's center.

Date Taken:
 - May 19, 2009

Exposures:
 - 75x28 second exposures, total 35 minutes


NGC6992

NGC6992 - The Eastern Veil

About 15,000 years ago an unknown star died in a spectacular fashion in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan, and created this supernova remnant.  This Type II supernova explosion would have briefly dominated the night sky on Earth.  If prehistoric peoples were in the habit of gazing toward the heavens for meaning, they might have found it in the sudden appearance of this "new" star, which could have rivaled the full Moon in brilliance and remained visible for weeks in broad daylight. 

Date Taken:
 - August 15, 2009

Exposures:
 - 20x56 second exposures, total 18.67 minutes


Venus

Venus

Venus is the goddess of love and beauty. The planet is so named probably because it is the brightest of the planets known to the ancients.

Venus has been known since prehistoric times. It is the brightest object in the sky except for the Sun and the Moon. Like Mercury, it was popularly thought to be two separate bodies:  Eosphorus as the morning star and Hesperus as the evening star, but the Greek astronomers knew better.

Date Taken:
 - May 22, 2009

Exposures:
 - AVI, used 20% of 1613 frames