M104 Sombrero Galaxy

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goodbye to Sunspots

Matthew Penn and William Livingston, observing the Zeeman spliting of the 1565 nanometer infrared neutral iron line, report in:
an 11 year decreasing trend in the sunspot magnetic field strength.

They used the NSO Kitt Peak McMath-Pierce telescope.

Extrapolating the trend means virtually no sunspots in cycle 25 (we are at the beginning of cycle 24) !!

Are we headed to another 70 year long Maunder minimum ?

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Earth based detection of a superbolide on Jupiter

A preprint of a paper on the subject was published in arXiv September 9, and may be downloaded at:

I am very proud that the lead author is affiliated with the University of the Basque Nation, in Bilbao Spain.
My Family comes from the Basque Nation, located in France and Spain.

Friday, August 27, 2010

0.09 arcsecond resolution Solar images from Big Bear Lake Solar Observatory

The Big Bear Solar Observatory, operated by the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California, has obtained wonderful images with its adaptive optics system in the 1.6 meter aperture telescope:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Top priority

The LSST has received the top priority for the next large ground based astronomical facility:

The big mirror for this 3200 megapixel "camera" is being lovingly built by Dean Ketelsen.
I saw it last December during the TAAA Newsletter Folding Party:

LSST headquarters are in Tucson.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Solar Dynamics Observatory Daily Movies

The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly cameras are creating wonderful high resolution images of the Sun at several wavelengths. They are also available as daily movies.

I think they will be FUN to show High School students, at the same time they observe the Sun with Radio JOVE Kits, and Radio JOVE Participant data streams from around the world, and discuss Solar events of various types.

Please go to:
and choose a date (using the calendar icon if you prefer), and an instrument, from one of 11 choices.

I like AIA 171 (gold) because it delineates well the magnetic field of active regions, using iron ions at about a million degrees kelvin.

The resolution can be 512 or 1024 pixels square.

My many thanks to the Taxpayers who made SDO possible.
I am one of them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Prominence and CME April 13 2010

0719 UT

1342 UT

1518 UT

Many thanks to the SOHO Team

Monday, April 12, 2010

Don't get too close to the Sun !!

April 10 2010
A suicide comet evaporates in a couple of hours.

Many thanks to the SOHO Team.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Jewel Box

In the constellation of the Southern Cross, NGC 4755, about 10 million years old, 2000 parsecs away.
Imaged by Science Club Students at Pueblo HS in Tucson Arizona.
Takahashi Epsilon 180, 10 minute color exposure from Moorook Australia.

Many thanks to the Tzec Maun Foundation.

Color-magnitude diagrams by Sanner et al., 2001
Note the very red star at the upper right corner, B-V ~ 2.2.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kreutz comet system fragments, March 11-13 2010

SOHO coronagraph images.
More than 1500 comets have been discovered in SOHO images.
See the Red Barn Observatory SOHO Comet hunting instructions.

Sekanina and Chodas 2007, discuss in detail the birth and evolution of the Kreutz comet system. See also the Wikipedia article "Kreutz Sungrazers".

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sunspot Region 11054 , March 12 2010

The images above were posted at the wonderful Solar Monitor page. The hosts are the Solar Physics Group, University of Dublin, Ireland, and NASA's Solar Data Analysis Center SDAC.

MDI is the SOHO Michelson Doppler Imager.
EIT is the SOHO Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Images of M65 and M66

Takahashi Epsilon 180, 10 min color image, February 17 2010, Tzec Maun Observatory in New Mexico.

The two images above from the Palomar 48-inch Schmidt First Digitized Sky Survey (red plates) DSS1, colored by pixel count.

My thanks to the Tzec Maun Foundation for providing telescope time for Astronomy Projects at Pueblo Magnet High School, Tucson Arizona, and College of Sciences and Humanities, University of Mexico UNAM, Mexico City.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Solar Eclipse season at GOES-14 weather satellite

The chart above shows Solar eclipses causing a drop in the Solar X-ray flux measured by GOES-14 (GOES-O).

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite GOES-14 is going through the spring equinox eclipse season. From the geosynchronous position of the satellite, the Earth eclipses the Sun for up to an hour, every 24 hours.

Colorado State University in Fort Collins has many interesting animations of GOES-14 Earth imagery.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Vesta February 19, 2010

Detail from a Takahashi FSQ-106 1 minute color image. This is a robotic telescope at Tzec Maun Observatory, Moorook Australia. The brightest star is Algieba, gamma Leo.
North is up, click image for enlargement.

My thanks to the Tzec Maun Foundation for its support of Science Projects at Pueblo HS in Tucson Arizona.

Hubble image of Vesta in 2007

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interesting B5 flare February 13

From active region 11046, February 13 2010 near 2330 UT
The two frames above are from a GOES 14 X-ray telescope animation posted at LMSAL

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pueblo Magnet High School Star Party February 12

I want to express my many thanks to TAAA members:

Ben Bailey
Lyle Johnson
Randy Mathews
Paul Moss
Roger Schuelke
Byron Skinner

for their support of the Star Party

Mrs. Lolly Levine, Sponsor of the Science Club at Pueblo HS, did a great job organizing the event, which was also attended by Students from other nearby Schools.

My 8 inch Classic Byers Schmidt Cassegrain Celestron, ready to Party !

Comet Lulin exposed in 2009

Southern Galaxy NGC 4945 exposed in 2009
The two images above by Students at Pueblo HS
More details here and here

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Recent Hinode X-ray telescope Solar images

January 10

January 24

February 10
I extracted the 3 frames above from this 4 MB movie
Many thanks to the Hinode Observatory
Contributing Institutions:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jovian Rotation

Single frame from an Astronomy Picture Of the Day video. The images were taken during the Jovian flyby of the New Horizons Mission to Pluto, in 2007. The spacecraft will fly by Pluto and Charon in 2015.

Beautiful TRACE images of regions 41 and 42, January 26

Active region 11041 imaged by TRACE (Transition region and Coronal Explorer) at 171 angstrom wavelength

Active region 11042 near the north west limb

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Class M flares from region 41

The HINODE X-ray telescope image above shows a flare overexposing the sensor. Region 11041 near the southeast limb has produced more than 30 flares so far.

Three of them have been M class. Here is a GOES 14 animation of a M3.4 flare yesterday.
Above is a single frame at the time of maximum X-ray flux.

Monday, January 18, 2010

40 setting in the west January 17

These HINODE X-ray telescope image details show active region 11040 setting in the north west solar limb, and a new active region rising in the south east limb.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bar in Space

Number 95 in Messier's catalog, a galaxy about 33 million light years distant. I took this image with an 180 mm aperture robotic telescope in New Mexico. My thanks to the Tzec Maun Observatory.

This image was taken by Michael McGuiggan and Adam Block, from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, with a 20 inch telescope. Here is another image taken with a larger instrument.

Why many galaxies show bars, and a ring surrounding the bar, has not been fully explained yet.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Solar Type III Radio Burst January 10

The Solar magnetic field near active regions can accelerate electrons to very high velocities (one third the speed of light or more). A jet of electrons can interact with the solar wind plasma and produce radio waves over a broad frequency range, as seen in the spectrum above, recorded by the STEREO observatory trailing the Earth.

The image shows an event in the 16 MHz to 100 KHz radio band. This burst was observed by participants in NASA's Radio Jove educational project for schools, with small antennas and inexpensive receivers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Lion is chasing Mars !!

All sky image from New Mexico Skies, showing Mars prominently in front of a Lion !

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Region 40 January 10

Region 11040 and surroundings are looking beautiful today in the Kanzelhoehe Observatory and SOHO images, posted in Solar Monitor.
Alan Strauss has a lovely sketch here.