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Bringing the Universe to Your Classroom!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Most Incredible Photograph Ever Taken

Yes - I have given this title, to the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, just a few years ago.

Why?!

Think about this: take a look at any one of those colorful, oval "smudges", within the image, and enlarge it, to its maximum, reasonable resolution and magnification on your device.

Each one of the "oval smudges", is a galaxy of stars - just like our Milky Way galaxy!

Our galaxy contains, roughly, 300,500,000,000 stars, including our sun ("Sol") - a typical, standard, type G2, yellow-dwarf star - the kind of stars that are a dime a dozen in any spiral galaxy.

Hubble Ultra-Deep Field - Image Credit: NASA, ESA S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team.

Each one of the galaxies in the image also contains a comparable number of stars, planets, comets, asteroids, silicate and metallic specks of dust, and various, volatile gases.

Who knows?? -- how many other beings, in how many other galaxies, hosting, how many other suns, that have, how many other planets in orbit around them -- that, accommodate living beings, just like planet Earth -- just, might be looking right back at us!

THAT'S why!?!

Dale Alan Bryant
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Monday, October 7, 2019

The Omega Nebula Imaged on ATEO-3

Insight Observatory is excited to announce its first deep-sky image set acquired by ATEO-3 that is now available on its Starbase image set repository. M17, the Omega Nebula in the constellation Sagittarius was the first target imaged from the Insight Observatory affiliate remote telescope. ATEO-3 is a 12.5" f/9 (2860mm focal length) Quasar Optics Ritchey Chretien owned and operated by Franck Jobard. This telescope is located at an elevation over 5990 ft at Deep Sky Chile remote telescope hosting in the dark skies of the Rio Hurtado Valley in Chile.

M17, The Omega Nebula in Sagittarius imaged and processed on ATEO-3 by Franck Jobard at Deep Sky Chile.
M17, The Omega Nebula in Sagittarius imaged and processed on ATEO-3 by Franck Jobard at Deep Sky Chile.

The Omega Nebula, also known as the Swan Nebula, Checkmark Nebula, and the Horseshoe Nebula (cataloged as Messier 17 or M17 or NGC 6618) is an H II region in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745. Charles Messier cataloged it in 1764. It is located in the rich starfields of the Sagittarius area of the Milky Way.

The Omega Nebula is between 5,000 and 6,000 light-years from Earth and it spans some 15 light-years in diameter. The cloud of interstellar matter of which this nebula is a part is roughly 40 light-years in diameter and has a mass of 30,000 solar masses. The total mass of the Omega Nebula is an estimated 800 solar masses.

M17 is considered one of the brightest and most massive star-forming regions of our galaxy. Its local geometry is similar to the Orion Nebula except that it is viewed edge-on rather than face-on.

The open cluster NGC 6618 lies embedded in the nebulosity and causes the gases of the nebula to shine due to radiation from these hot, young stars. It is also one of the youngest clusters known, with an age of just 1 million years. The Swan portion of M17, the Omega Nebula in the Sagittarius nebulosity is said to resemble a barber's pole.

Source: Wikipedia

12.5" f/9 Quasar Ritchey Chretien, ATEO-3, affiliate remote telescope (pictured right) housed in a roll-off observatory at Deep Sky Chile remote telescope hosting facility. Photo by Franck Jobard.
12.5" f/9 Quasar Ritchey Chretien, ATEO-3, affiliate remote telescope (pictured right) housed in a roll-off observatory at Deep Sky Chile remote telescope hosting facility. Photo by Franck Jobard.

ATEO-3 is available as an option on Insight Observatory's Educational Image Request (EIR) form for educational research and classroom use. This remote online telescope is also an option on the Public Image Request (PIR) as well. To make an image set request for ATEO-3, please visit Insight Observatory's "Starbase Datasets on-Demand" form.
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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

What's In The Sky - October 2019

October nights will be full of celestial treats to see with binoculars and telescopes. Here are some of Orion Telescope and Binoculars top October stargazing and observing suggestions.

The Sculptor Galaxy, also known as the NGC 253, is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor. Imaged on ATEO-1 by Insight Observatory.
The Sculptor Galaxy, also known as the NGC 253, is an intermediate spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor. Imaged on ATEO-1 by Insight Observatory.

The Sculptor Galaxy (NGC 253)

Around midnight local time on October 3rd, the Sculptor galaxy (NGC 253) will be well-positioned for viewing as it will be at the highest point in the sky. Cataloged as both H V.1 and Bennett 4, this 7th magnitude beauty is also known as Caldwell 65, and due to both its brightness and oblique angle is often called the "Silver Dollar Galaxy."

New Moon

For the best conditions to see galaxies, nebulas, and other deep-sky objects, plan a stargazing session for the night of October 27th, when the New Moon will provide dark skies. This is the best night of the month to observe the night sky since light from stars and faint deep sky objects won't have to compete with bright moonlight.

Orionids Meteor Shower

As Orion rises on October 21st around midnight, you can feast your eyes on the peak of the Orionid meteor shower. Around 15 meteors per hour are expected at the peak, but the shower will be active from October 2nd to November 7th.

The Pacman Nebula, also known as the NGC 281, is a bright emission nebula and part of an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia. Imaged on ATEO-1 by Insight Observatory.
The Pacman Nebula, also known as the NGC 281, is a bright emission nebula and part of an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia. Imaged on ATEO-1 by Insight Observatory.

A Challenging Nebula

Making a small equilateral triangle with the stars Eta and Alpha Cassiopeiae is the elusive Pac Man Nebula, NGC 281. The Pac Man is a famous target for astrophotographers, but it's not very easy to observe visually. From dark sky locations, you can pick out its faint glow with large binoculars, but a telescope at low power with the help of an Oxygen-III filter will show it best.

All objects described above can easily be seen with the suggested equipment from a dark sky site, a viewing location some distance away from city lights where light pollution and when bright moonlight does not overpower the stars.
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