March 2012

Shallow Sky Object of the Month: M1 - The Crab Nebula

Original article appears in GuideStar April, 2012.

M1 - The Crab Nebula chartObject: M1 - The Crab Nebula
Class: Supernova Remnant
Constellation: Taurus
Magnitude: 8.4
R.A.: 05 h 34 m 32 s
Dec: 22 deg 00 min 52 sec
Size/Spectral: 6’ x 4’
Distance: 6500 ly
Optics needed: A small telescope will allow you to see this object, but for this one, the more aperture the better!

Why this is interesting:

M1, the first object In Charles Messier’s list of objects (added in 1758) is the remnant of a star that went supernova in the year 1054. Based on what we now know about the nebula, it is believed that the supernova may have been as bright as –7 magnitude, much brighter than Venus at its brightest (-5 mag). While the Messier list includes many objects of many kinds, M1 is the only supernova remnant in the list. So, while you may see other nebulous (cloud-like) objects when you observe the Messier list, all the others represent star forming regions — areas in which new stars are being born.

Dave Kriege: A Guidestar Interview

Original article appears in GuideStar April, 2012.

Clayton JeterDave Kriege is and has been a recognized name in the astronomy communities throughout the world. Dave is the maker of the fine “Obsession” Dobsonian telescope. I have always thought that John Dobson was the person that had the idea, “Coulter” telescopes got the revolution started, but it was Dave’s “Obsession” scopes that perfected this design and are now at star parties around the country (world). There are thousands!

He makes two designs; the Classic and the newer Ultra Compact (UC). Both versions have beautiful design and built in quality. Stunning to use on the field is an understatement.

I know you guys have been waiting on me to finally interview this well-known telescope maker. The time has come… here’s Dave…

Lynn Dippel: A GuideStar Interview

Original article appears in GuideStar March, 2012.

Clayton JeterI first met Lynn Dippel at the Fall 2007 Fort McKavett star party held by the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society. Early one morning there, Lynn casually walked over to our group (4 of us) that was huddled around the Coleman stove as we were cooking our breakfast. Was it the smell of that bacon that brought her our direction, or possibly curious about our uncovered telescopes that were displayed? Either way, she introduced herself and the rest is history. This gal has never met a stranger. Instantly we were all chatting to her about her work in astronomy and how she became involved it.

Since that morning, I’ve become fascinated in her celestial sketching. Some folks record their data into a log book, some record via a CCD…. But Lynn does it the hard way; she records her info with pencil and sketchbook. Her art work is stunning. The more she sketches an object, the more she sees into the object(s) she tells me.

If you have a glimmer of wanting to sketch at the eyepiece, and actually see more of an elusive object, then let’s hear what Lynn has to tell us about her work at the scope. Here’s Lynn…

Shallow Sky Object of the Month: The Ecliptic

Original article appears in GuideStar March, 2012.

Object: The Ecliptic
Class: Line in the Sky
Constellation: E to W—Virgo, Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Taurus, Aries
Optics needed: None

Why this is interesting:

The Ecliptic is defined as the path through the sky that the Sun takes as the year goes on. If you think of the Earth and the Sun as a flat disk that extends from the center of the Sun, through the center of the Earth and beyond all the other planets, you have the idea

Professor Comet Report - March 2012!

The Professor Comet Report - March 2012

Read the information on the Comet and Minor Planets page for further information about the report!

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