The Planet Saturn near Opposition

The Planet Saturn on 05-28-2015

The Planet Saturn reached opposition last week, weather had kept me from imaging it then.  I managed to grab a shot between T-Storms last night…the Atmosphere was boiling….considering the Poor seeing Conditions, It turned out okay! Look for Saturn between the Constellations of Scorpius & Libra, near Delta Scorpii, High in the South East by Midnight. Any small telescope with at least 30x power will show you Saturn’s Rings.  Now is a great time to Observe Saturn!!!
20cm SCT Scope & Qhy5IIL CCD, 3600 frames Stacked in Registax6. Captured from my backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio on 05-28-2015.


Best Regards,
John Chumack

Venus in Ultra-Violet Light on 05-02-2015

The Planet Venus in Ultra-Violet Light!

The Planet Venus – Digging out details from Earth’s Evil Twin!
In the telescope Venus appears as a “Bright” featureless planet except for its ever changing Crescent to Gibbous Phases. Venus is shrouded by a dense cloud layer of sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid that reflects most sunlight back into space, which creates a ‘greenhouse effect’ and hampers direct observation of the planet’s surface. So when I look through my telescope unlike Jupiter or Saturn, I can’t make out any features in the Cloud tops, until I tried an Ultra-Violet filter!
Venus’ clouds have markings that are light and dark in the ultraviolet range. Venus has a 800F + surface temp, so the UV stripes are likely from Volcanoes pumping a chemical high into the upper atmosphere, this chemical absorbs UV light making for dark and light patches on the Cloud tops.
Now I can see football stripes – cloud features on Venus. Seeing wasn’t the best but I got some details in the cloud tops! At its farthest, Venus lies 162 million miles (261 million kilometers) away. It makes its closest approach to Earth about once every 584 days, when Venus & Earth catch up to one another. On average, it is 25 million miles (40 million km) away at that point.
C8 Telescope(2000mm) 2x barlow, QHY5IIL CCD Camera, Astrodon UV filter, 114 frames stacked in Registax 6.
Best Regards,
John Chumack
Aurora Lasso

Aurora Borealis Lasso

An Aurora Borealis Lasso, the Northern Lights Lasso worked pretty well as it roped me into taking a shot of it while on top of Charlie Dome, at Chena Hot Springs, Alaska, during our Annual Aurora Workshop!!!! The foreground was lit by partial Moonlight, but the Aurora raged on despite moonlit skies.

Best Regards,

John Chumack




Earth-shine crescent Moon

The Crescent Moon with Earth-shine

Okay,  here is a little something for all you Moon Lovers out there!!!
The Thin Waxing Crescent Moon with Earth-shine and the Star above the Moon is 5th magnitude star 110 Omicron Piscium, the moon was moving through the Constellation of Pisces just before setting below the Mountain top on 03-21-2015, Sorry Mars had already set by the time I grabbed this shot..Earth-shine is the normally unlit portion of the moon, in this case Earth is reflecting light and illuminating the backside or non Sunlit portion of the Moon, you can even make out the Maria or Features on the Earth-shine portion of the Moon.

Canon 6D DSLR & 60 to 300mm lens set to 225mm, 1 second exp. Chena Hot Springs Alaska

Purple, Red Green Aurora above snow covered Trees, brutally cold night  -24F

Alaska Aurora on 03-15-2015

Okay first Night we had snow, but the second night it cleared off and -24F!!!, a bit brutal!

We were treated to a very Nice Kp-3 Aurora Display  outside of Fairbanks Alaska! We experience 6 + hours of colors, some purples & Greens, and occasional streamer of red, over the freshly snow covered trees.  here is one of my shots as the Aurora Display erupted over our newly scouted location!!! It was a grueling treacherous drive on ice & snow covered roads for an hour, with our 4×4 was no problem, it was worth the drive, the new site is Pristine & Fantastic, some very nice views!!!

Can’t wait for our 2015 participants to Arrive today, as more activity is in the Forecast all week! They will be amazed!!!

Is the Aurora Borealis-Northern Lights  on your Bucket List?

Would you like to Join us in March 2016?

You can sign up for our 2016 Photo Tour/Workshop, click the Galactic Trips link on  my website!!!

Oh BTW, Canon 6D DSLR and 24mm F1.4 Lens, 14mm F2.8 lens, & 8mm Fish-eye Lens, typically set all at F2 to F2.8, and ISO 2000 to 3200, for 5 seconds to 10 second exposures!

Best Regards,

John Chumack


The Sunspots AR 2297 in H-ALpha Light on 03-08-2015

Sunspot AR 2297 Erupting with M-class flares

Yes!!! Solar Activity, Just what I needed, a Sea Turtle head or a #3 on the Sun!
Here is my shot of the Sun on 03-08-2015 a close-up of Erupting Sunspot 2297…I captured it from my backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio  with my Lunt 60mm/50F HA scope & QHY5IIL CCD Camera.

Emerging sunspot AR2297 has erupted again, producing its strongest flare yet: an M9-class explosion on March 7th at 22:22 UT. According to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, it captured the extreme ultraviolet flash: and It ionized Earth’s Upper atmosphere causing radio Blackouts!!! I hope it keeps erupting for the next few weeks, as I will be in Alaska the rest of the Month for our Annual Aurora Photo Tour/Workshop!!!!

Best Regards,

John Chumack


M31Andromeda Core on 09-19-2014

M31 Andromeda Galaxy Core!

Into the Heart of the Beast! Ever wonder what is deep inside the bright Core of M31 The Andromeda Galaxy?
Here is my attempt to image past the overwhelming bright central glow of the Galaxy &  to peak into the core to see all those dusty lanes, stars, & gas Spiraling into the central 100 million solar mass Black Hole.
The double nucleus, recently discovered by Hubble, was found not to be two black holes as some first speculated. The double nucleus is actually an elliptical ring of old reddish stars in orbit around the black hole,
When the stars are at the farthest point in their orbit they move slower, like cars piled up on a crowded freeway. This gives the illusion of a second nucleus.
I took 60 minutes worth of various short exposures ranging from 5 seconds to 2 minutes and layered them in Adobe to cut through the bright light to try to see the details in the core. I’ve been working on this on and off since Sept of 2014, and finally finished the processing last weekend.
M31 is Our Sister Galaxy, Closest spiral to us at 2.5 Million Light years away & contains over 1 trillion stars. M31 Andromeda is visible to the unaided eye from a dark location. M31 The Andromeda Galaxy and our Milky Way Galaxy
will experience a Galactic Collision in about 4 billion years.
Attached is an Image I  captured with a QHY8 cooled Color CCD camera, and my Home-built 16″diameter Newtonian telescope, from my observatories at JBSPO in Yellow Springs, Ohio 09/19/2014.

Best Regards,
John Chumack