Saturday, August 27, 2011

Latest Aircraft Contrail Meteor Hoax, Cusco, Peru

CBS is carrying footage of a supposed Meteor streaking across the skies of Cusco, Peru.

Its great footage, but its not a meteor and its not setting fire to the forests in Peru as is being suggested by other sites.

Its all about angles and perspectives, and reflected sunlight.

Contrails are created by aircraft traveling at cruising altitude and causing the moisture in the atmosphere to condense into a denser state, whereby the light reflects off them, lighting them up where they can be seen for many miles.

We have all seen them, but at dawn and dusk the angle of the sun is very low and this is when they light up and look like what you see in this footage.

Lets pay some credit here, it is really interesting footage and very spectacular, but its a jumbo jet.

Hohmann Transfer website regularly collects images of illuminated contrails and I made my own contribution to their collection back in 2005.

In this photo below you can see three such contrails in the one photo. I was fly fishing at dusk about 30-40 klms east of the main flight path between Brisbane and Melbourne.

As someone who has personally seen a bolide travel across 30% the entire sky and cross the horizon line in less than five seconds, any thing that you can photograph for that long that hasn't moved much is traveling pretty slowly (by comparison).

So thanks for the great footage, but lets not get too over excited.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Lion King!

Image Credit: Oleg Maliy/ESO
Just waiting for an Elton John sound track, this 35 million light year distant galaxy, is the best of the pride....... in the constellation Leo. See I was getting around to the Lion thing....or should I say king.

At 50 lights years across NGC 3521 is quite bright but was not included in Messier's list, even though it was the same brightness as others included in his list compiled in the 1700s.

Oleg Maliy, who participated ESO’s Hidden Treasures 2010 competition, selected the data from the FORS1 instrument on ESO’s VLT at the Paranal Observatory in Chile that were used to create this dramatic image. Exposures taken through three different filters that passed blue light (coloured blue), yellow/green light (coloured green), and near-infrared light (coloured red) have been combined to make this picture. The total exposure times were 300 seconds per filter. Oleg’s image of NGC 3521 was a highly ranked entry in the competition, which attracted almost 100 entries.

Image Credit: Iztok Boncina/ESO

The most distinctive features of the bright galaxy NGC 3521 are its long spiral arms that are dotted with star-forming regions and interspersed with veins of dust. The arms are rather irregular and patchy, making NGC 3521 a typical example of a flocculent spiral galaxy. These galaxies have “fluffy” spiral arms that contrast with the sweeping arms of grand-design spirals such as the famous Whirlpool galaxy or M 51.

Image Credit: ESO/H.Zodet

This view of the FORS1 astronomical instrument, installed at the Cassegrain focus of UT1. It was mounted in September 1998 and has since produced a long series of excellent observations, both images and spectra. Some of these have resulted in spectacular views of astronomical objects, cf., e.g., ESO Press Photos eso9846 and ESO Press Photos eso9857. The second FORS1 commissioning phase was carried out in late December 1998.

ESO's innovation in providing access to archival photos for amateurs has been a feature of their brilliant outreach program, that makes them, today, the Lion Kings.

ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive astronomical observatory. It is supported by 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world’s most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comet Garradd - Color Photo

So here it is, its taken a few nights to process the color data, I was a little hard on the processing on my last attempt. It takes time to do a good quality color photo, and get the colors right and the stars nice as well. I am pretty happy with this ...but its left me thinking I really should have gone to the advanced imaging conference on the Gold Coast a couple of weekends back.

Here is another picture of the "spectrum"....well kind of....its the RGB image stacked for the stars -with the comet moving. It consists of 6x120 sec images in each color.

Enjoy.....Garradd will be around for a while yet and will be a real treat!

And finally the movie version.

Clear Skies!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Comet Garradd

Here is today's photo of Comet Garradd. This shot is 20 Min exposure in the luminance channel and is most interesting as its passing a very tiny galaxy, and looks a pretty picture!

Finally the weather cleared and I got the nice color data I was after. The comet is moving quite swiftly at the moment and working up a stunning full color image is pretty hard work.


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