Monday, July 29, 2013

Super clear Skies

We had some heavy rains Saturday and a little bit Sunday morning.  The skies were crystal clear on Sunday and on into Sunday night.  Sandra's cousin, Bud Gillan, saw a great green flash at sunset time.
I set up an equatorial mount and camera in our back yard and shot a bunch of images of the area around zeta Ophiuchus.  There is a monstrously huge, but faint H-II emission region there. 
While those automated five minute long exposures through a h-alpha filter were happening, Bud and I drove out to the south end of the island to see the Milky Way.  It was truly awesome, as good as it gets here on Bonaire.
Here are a couple shots of the Milky Way stars with the lighthouse in the foreground.  It is the same one minute long exposure, one version has been sharpened more than the other.  You can click on them to see them bigger.  That yellow glow on the horizon is Venezuela.  You can use Google Earth to identify the cities, some 70mi. away.  The streak in the lower left corner, that looks like a meteor, is actually an airplane.  We did see some great meteors last night, but I don't know that I caught any of them in a picture.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Milky Way and Lighthouse

A bunch of us were out looking at the Milky Way with my 20x80 binoculars the other night, and a friendly guy came by and took some pix of the stars behind the Willemstoren lighthouse.  This was something I'd been meaning to do for years, but never got around to it.  But now I was inspired and we went back the next night and had a go at it. 
Here are two versions of the same shot, one or the other might look better to you depending on how bright your screen is.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Short Milky Way Time Lapse Video

I've assembled some 250 or so images of the Milky Way, from Tuesday evening, into a short time lapse video clip.  You can see the clouds and cars zoom by, and you can see the stars slowly move from east to west.
Here is one frame from the video.  Note the bright meteor to the right of the towers.  And you can see the "coat hanger" asterism at the top edge of the image, near the left side.  You'll need to see the picture full size to spot the coat hanger.  (which is rotated clockwise from vertical by about 120 degrees).

Here is the video clip.  If you have a fast internet connection and/or a HD screen, you can view this on YouTube at 1080p resolution.  I watched it at 720p and it looked pretty good compared to the very downsized version I have here.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Summer Milky Way at the TX Site

Back in October I took a couple pictures of the Milky Way setting behind the TWR antenna towers and made them into posters at Short Run Posters.  I particularly like their 18x24 inch UV coated posters at $5 a pop.  I've got a number of Bonaire scenes hanging on the walls of my office.

I've been hoping for a clear night or two this summer, while the Milky Way is positioned high in the southeast.  Tuesday night was relatively cloud free, but somewhat hazy.  I shot a ton of pictures which I hope to assemble into a short time lapse video clip.  I also combined some of the shots into an image that shows the motion of the stars across the sky over time.  You can see the stars near the south (right side) starting to curve around the south pole, which is below the horizon.  And you can just tell that the stars towards the north are starting to arc around the north pole.  The bright fuzzy patches right in the middle of the frame are the milky way star clouds.  The yellowish streaks towards the lower left are Bonaire clouds.

On Wednesday evening, the skies were wonderfully transparent, but there were quite a few clouds passing by.  I patiently waited for a few hours for a break in the clouds, and got a few shots that I think will be keepers.  Here is a first look at one of them.