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Live from NEAIC day 2

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#1 astrodoc71



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Posted 19 April 2013 - 11:46 PM

Greetings from NEAIC!

Day 2 was very interesting as we had several talks from professional astronomers.

Let's begin with the keynote speaker Dr Jerry Bonnell who as you know in addition to his "day job" working as a gamma ray astrophysicist, he is one of the editors and founding authors of APOD, which I learned gets about 1 million hits per day! After his talk I got the feeling that I will have better luck with a lottery ticket than producing an APOD image. He said that every day there are at least 10 images that would qualify. In addition to amateur images though, there are images from the space and ground NASA telescopes and also from terrestrial photographers covering unique features of earth-based phenomena. So good luck!


Couple of interesting points he made. One is to be persistent. You should send your image via email both to Jerry Bonnell and Rob Nemiroff, the other editor and also consider posting on the APOD community group 'asterisk'. Send jpeg images, not huge but medium sized with a link to the full res image. He is "a sucker for large beautiful spiral galaxies". That is a direct quote! He also likes star trails with landscapes. He talked a little about the Hubble palette which is basically blue and orange (no green) and these colors are opposite each other on the color wheel apparently.

His wife is an art history professor so he is big into composition. He began his talk with an image of Leonardo DaVinci's "Last Supper" and talked about how the lines in the drapery, the hands of the apostles and the single point perspective all draw your eye to the central Christ figure. Now you have some insight into how he will be thinking about your images!


Yuri Beletsky is an astronomer at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and studies molecular dust clouds. Not only with the huge telescopes in the Atacama desert but also from his small observatory he built in the same desert using his FSQ 106! He presented very fascinating info on the existence of interstellar dust in much of the sky and how there is an online database to determine if your image background has it or not. 


Joseph DePasquale is an astronomer working with the Chandra Xray observatory. His talk focused on the other wavelengths such as IR and Xray that cannot be seen and how you can add this additional information to a visible light image to produce amazing results! He used the crab nebula as an example, adding the colorized xray details from Chandra for the central pulsar into the surrounding nebulosity from both the light image and the IR!


Dr Christian Sasse from Vancouver showed us how he was able to detect a quasar 12 billion light years distant using a backlit ccd camera and a 17" Planewave telescope!


Jim Lafferty who we know as a fairly prolific solar imager showed us some tricks and tips for HA solar imaging.


Many door prizes were raffled off at the end. In the seven years I have gone to this thing I have never won! Must be a dark cloud or something!


Anyway here are some images from day 2:




This is the hottest optical system in the US right now. Produced by Planewave Optics, these are CDK Cassegrains ( corrected Dall Kirkham) This is a 2 mirror Cassegrain with a field corrector. The primary mirror is an ellipsoid. The secondary mirror is spherical as in an ordinary Dall Kirkham and the field corrector is a sub-aperture doublet or triplet lens which is not an add-on component but an integral part of the system. The result is diffraction limited wide field scope. This scope is a 12.5" F8. Price about 10K US. The 17" is an F6.8 I believe and goes for about 21K





This was an interesting piece of kit! A Televue 127 f5 connected directly to an FLI camera without any focuser in between. I guess there is a focus module in the camera itself which has minimal travel. The whole unit is billed as the ultimate  wide field refractor astrograph. Price yet to be determined! I guess the scope alone normally goes for around 7K





Finally this was Jerry's APOD talk!


And that wraps up the imaging portion of the meeting. Tomorrow I meet with Ron Newman to get my new focuser! :D

I will also post many monster kit displays as well as scenes from the solar star party (rain in the forecast though  :angry: ) and also some additional presentations of interest. Stay tuned!








#2 Neil



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Posted 20 April 2013 - 09:32 AM

Wow... I'm going to have to plan this into my agenda for next and invent a suitable business trip!


I have had 2x clear nights on M101 so APOD here I come! :D


Those ODK are great.  :) I should know, I have one, the Mewlon. The trouble is you do need a clear sky to use them properly. They are very high resolution flat field devices and my skies here in Holland aren't good enough really. Still one day I'll live up a mountain in a region with 340 days of crystal clear skies. :P


Give Ron my regards tomorrow and ask him when the 3" focuser will be ready.


Thanks for the report Dave.


Clear Skies