updated Saturday, October 04, 2014
Currect Solar Image and Solar-Terrestial Data
For Aurora to develop, you need:
K-Ind > 5, Mag (Bz) < 0, Aur Lat < 50°
Morning skies - 6 September 2013
(click picture for higher resolution)
View over my Observatory at eastern skies. Jupiter near very top, Mars near middle.
Canon T3i, 18mm, 4 second exposure, ISO 6400
Mars (bright, near middle) approaching M44, the Beehive Cluster.
Canon T3i, 55mm, 10 second exposure, ISO 6400
Orion (10 sec. exposure, ISO 6400, Canon T3i, 18mm)
New Nova in Delphinus
Photos taken 15 August 2013
(click image to see higher resolution version)
I am also the proud owner of a Meade 10" LX200GPS telescope. This state-of-the-art telescope is completely computer controlled. Once set, it will find any object or location in the sky.
I use a number of imaging devices. I have 2 low-light videocameras
for occultation work, as PC164C and a Watec 120N+. The 164C has been
gain-modified so that its sensitivity can be manually adjusted, very important
in lunar occultation events. The Watec camera has the ability to do
integrated images, that is, iages made up of several images stacked together to
reach dimmer objects. Both are used with a video time inserter to stamp
precise time on the videotape. I have a Meade
Deep Sky Imager I which can be used for images of galaxies, clusters, comets,
etc. Next is an Orion Planetary Imager and AutoGuider that serves two
purposes, as its name implies. My goal is to use this camera as an
autoguider along with either the Meade DSI or a Canon T3i to do long exposures.
As a member of IOTA, I am involved in timing lunar and asteroidal occultations. I am also the Northeast United States, Southeast Canada occultation computar ( yes, with an "a" ). I am the person who, using geographic information supplied by IOTA members, uses a computer program to calculate lunar total and grazing occultations and asteroidal appulses. This information is generated on a yearly basis and sent (via regular mail or email) to each observer. Updates are available on IOTA's own web page.
New this year is a page dedicated to the observation and analysis of asteroid occultations. Steve Preston provides predictions for events in which more distant stars are occulted, or blocked from our view, by asteroids in orbit around the Sun. His website provides maps and star field maps to aid in timing these events. There are thousands of asteroids, but most are so small that the chance of an event being visible from any one location during the course of a year is quite small. Many observers travel great distances to observe these events. I've been quite lucky in having see 2 occultations during the last few months of 2006. One of them, involving the asteroid Phocaea, produced a grazing occultation. I actually saw the star reappear in a valley on the asteroid for a split second! Details of that unique observation, including a video clip of the event, can be found on this Phocaea Occultation Page. A second occultation, by the asteroid Melpomene (Word document), proved a bigger challenge. The asteroid was brighter than the star. The combined light of the two during the occultation would not decrease all that much. A program called Registax is able to combine odd numbers of frames of a video into integrated frames. This has the effect of reducing noise and increasing the signal-to-noise ratio. Some time resolution is lost, but the ability to pick events such as this one out of the background noise far overrides the slight decrease in timing accuracy.
I also am the webmaster for a new set of pages devoted to the science of asteroid occultations. On these pages I provide observers with observing templates for each event and a detailed summary of the results of each event. These results are forwarded to Dave Herald who then sends them to the official Minor Planets office. The page for North America, with links to all other pertinent pages, can be found here.
I gather and analyze all asteroidal occultations for North America and maintain a page showing the results here.