Mars at Opposition 2016

Mars at Opposition 2016

Mars at Opposition for 2016!
The Planet Mars on 05-23-2016. I captured it near Midnight on 05-23-2016 from my backyard Observatory in Dayton. We had
slightly above average seeing.

Every 26 Months Mars gets close to Earth and provides Awesome views of its surface through small telescopes.
Mars Reached Opposition on Sunday May 22, 2016 at 07:10 EDT, or 11:10 UTC, and it will be at its largest (18.4”) across for this Opposition.

The View of Mars last night Centered around Elysium Planitia & Elysium Fosse, & Phlegra Dorsa region.
North a south polar caps & blue limb clouds are visible. Elysium Mons is a Massive Volcanoe on Mars, although not the Largest,
that title goes to Olympus Mons, but still impressive in size.

Look for the two little dark patches near the upper center of the globe,
Elysium Mons Volcano is the lighter beige Patch just below the longer dark patch on the left.

Elysium Mons is a volcano on Mars located in the volcanic province Elysium, at 25.02°N 147.21°E, in the Martian eastern hemisphere.
It stands about 13.9 km (46,000 ft) above the surrounding lava plains, and about 16 km (52,000 ft) above the Martian datum.
Its diameter is about 240 km (150 mi), with a summit caldera about 14 km (8.7 mi) across. It is flanked by the smaller volcanoes Hecates
Tholus to the northeast, and Albor Tholus to the southeast.

Elysium Mons was discovered in 1972 in images returned by the Mariner 9 orbiter.
Best Regards,
John Chumack

Mercury Transits the Sun

Mercury & Bird Transit

Mercury Transit Video & Pic, A pleasant Surprise while imaging Mercury – check out what I found on one of my videos the Bird of Prey Transits the Sun with Mercury!

The Planet Mercury & Bird of Prey Transit the Sun 05-09-2016, captured at Presque Isle State Park, Erie, PA.  Captured using my Lunt 60mm/50F Hydrogen Alpha Solar scope & QHY5IIL CCD Camera, on my portable AVX tracking Mount.  Shooting through high cirrus clouds, you can see The Planet Mercury as a tiny black dot at the Lower left edge of the Sun. the first part of the video clip shows the original 15 fps that I captured at(buzzes by fast), then I slowed the video down to 2fps, and looped it so you can catch the bird of Prey flapping its wings as it Transits the Sun.

Check out my short Video clip

Best Regards,

John Chumack

Jupiter on 04-18-2016

Jove the Gas Giant Planet!
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System.
It is a giant planet with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined.
Basically you can fit all the planets into Jupiter at the same time with lots of room to spare.

Jupiter rotates every 9 hours &  56 minutes, that is roughly a 10 hours day compared to our 24 hour day here on Earth.
It takes Jupiter 11.86 years to orbit the Sun once, compared to 365 days it takes Earth to orbit our Sun once.
Currently it is 442.8 million miles from Earth…this changes constantly as both Earth and Jupiter orbit the Sun.

Jupiter’s Atmosphere is the largest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System.
It is mostly made up of molecular hydrogen and helium in roughly solar proportions; other chemical compounds are present only in small amounts and include methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and water.

You can find Jupiter with just your eyes nearly straight over head around 10:00pm, it will be the brightest thing straight over head, so go out and take a look tonight, you can even see its clouds bands & 4 Galilean moons with a pair of Binoculars or small telescope held steady or placed on a tripod.

I captured this image of Jupiter on 04-18-2016 centered on (17th 10:26pm EST)  02:26 U.T., We finally got a good night of stable seeing 7/10 from my backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio. I was able to crank the magnification up a bit, by using the 3x barlow.  I used my 8 inch diameter(old Orange tube C8) SCT telescope, 3x Cemax Barlow & and a QHY5IIL Mono CCD camera, Astronomik RGB Filters, IFW Filter wheel, Registax6 2400 RGB frames stacked & wavelets, MaximDL for RGB Alignment, Adobe CS 2015 final processing.

I’m happy with the cloud top details…considering we don’t get the greatest seeing here in the Midwest!
I did notice that the Great Red Spot is not so Red anymore, more like Salmon colored Spot…but it still was cool to see some detail within the GRS & cloud top details!

To learn more about Jupiter’s Atmosphere take a read about here…

Best Regards,
John Chumack


Martian Opposition 2016 is coming!


30 Days from Now Mars Reaches Opposition on Sunday May 22, 2016 at 07:10 EDT, or 11:10 UTC, and it will be at its largest (18.4”) across for this Opposition.

Here is my best Mars shot so far this opposition,

I captured it on the Early Morning of 04-18-2016 from my backyard Observatory in Dayton. We finally had above average seeing.

Every 26 Months Mars gets close to Earth and provides Awesome views of its surface through small telescopes.

This is why I love to view and image Mars, it is the only planet that you can see the surface details in a telescope.

All other planets you would be looking at cloud tops,
except Mercury, no clouds, but is a real challenge as it never gets far from the Sun or high enough above the horizon to get decent surface details from small telescopes on Earth.

At the top or North end you see a large darker area this is Utopia Planitia, and the Little dark island just south of it is Utopia Rupes.

Mars current Axis tilt in relationship to Earth is barely showing the Martian Northern Ice Cap as I little white spot at the top.

To the far right is a small patch of clouds over Elysium Mons, one of the Martian Volcanoes. Clouds tend to gather around these high volcanoes.

Near Center are Libya Montes & Nepenthes Mensea.

On the South end Syrtis Major Planum is clearly visible and as the largest dark feature on the bottom left.

Bottom middle & right are Tyrrhena Terra, & Hesperia Planum.

The Southern Pole & Ice cap at the bottom is shrouded in clouds as well.

Captured on 04-18-2016 @ 08:34 U.T. or 04:34am EST from my Backyard Observatory in Dayton, Ohio.
C8 (2000mm) Telescope & QHY5IIL CCD camera, 3x Barlow, 900 frames RGB, Stacked in Astrostackert, Registax6, Maxim DL, & Adobe CS2015.

Best Regards,
John Chumack

6 Planets Align & Moon

Everyone is talking about the 5 Planets Aligning in the Morning sky,
But I Captured 6 Planets!!! You have to count the Earth too! LOL!!! Earth provides us this perfect view of the Planets Aligning along the Ecliptic..
The Moon joined these Planets at Dawn last Saturday Morning 01-30-2016 at 6:13am E.S.T. from just outside of Warrenton, Virginia. I included the Earth #6 in this slightly cropped fish-eye Lens shot. Canon 6D DSLR & 8mm Fish-eye Lens, ISO 800, 8 second exposure. Just before the clouds started interfering…

I included an illustrated view to help you all ID them, as well as 3 of the brightest stars. you may also recognize the Constellations of Scorpius, Virgo, Libra, and Corvus are easily visible too. Mercury is a challenge as you have to catch it just before dawn gets too bright! You can see Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars, & Jupiter with your eyes only, no telescope needed, just use my diagram to help you find them over the next week or so. Look between 6:00am and 6:45am.

Note: depending when you look the next 2 weeks, the moon will not be there or may not be in the same place, as it moves 12 degrees every day.

Best Regards,
John Chumack

Comet Catalina

Comet Catalina c/2013 US10, A Long Exposure

Comet Catalina C/2013 US10 on 1-02-2016
Dust & Ion Tails Captured in this 144 minute Long exposure from my observatories in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Last Quarter Moonlight Present, but I used a CLS filter to help knock down the Moonlight a bit.
Baader Modified Canon Rebel Xsi DSLR Camera, 5.5inch diameter Newt. telescope, 2 hours & 24 minute exp., 48 x 3 minute subs, ISO 1600 Tracking on the Nucleus of Comet Catalina. 09:00 U.T. to 11:24 U.T. on 01-02-2016
Best Regards,
John Chumack

Orion Nebula

M42 & M43 The Great Orion Nebula Complex

While Waiting For the Comet to Rise above the trees, I was killing time nabbing a few Frames of The M42 & M43 Orion Nebula Complex..always fun to image & always lots of details easily visible in this stellar Nursery even in a small 5.5 inch diameter telescope! I grab this 35 minute, 7 x 5min subs. I could have rotated the Camera to included the Blue Running Man Nebula(off the top edge), but was already focused & orientated for Shooting the Double Tail of Comet Catalina that I was about to shoot on the Morning of 12-20-2015.
Best Regards,
John Chumack

Comet Catalina

Want a Comet for Christmas?

Do you Want a Comet For Christmas?
Well here is Comet Catalina C/2013 US10, A close-up tracking on the Comet’s Nucleus for 60 minutes, you can see the several Ion Tails top, and the Bottom right the Dust tail. QHY8 Cooled Color CCD camera, my Homemade 16 Inch Diameter Fork Mounted Newt. Scope, 12 x 5 minute subs, tracking the comet’s Nucleus. The comet is shining at about 5th magnitude, Easy Binocular object, look for the Green fuzzy ball between Bright Stars Arcturus & Spica all this week & Next.

I captured this Early Sunday Morning 12-20-2015 from 10:22 U.T. to 11:22 U.T., Cold 27 F & Perfectly clear all night, then at 5:00am when the comet was high enough to see in the SouthEast, this high cloudy crap came in, forcing me to shoot through terrible High thick cirrus clouds. Dogging Clouds, by pausing auto guiding, until they passed. Its not my best, but I managed to clean it up somewhat, Also took some wider field shots through the 5.5 inch Newt. & DSLR’s Lenses too, those will come later this week.

Best Regards,
John Chumack

Venus at Dawn

The Planet Venus at Dawn

The Planet Venus & Tree Silhouette at Dawn! I captured this on my drive back from Maryland, at Sideling Hill early Monday morning 11-23-2015!!! I just love the Beautiful colors of Dawn! Keep watching each morning as Venus sinks lower and lower toward the Horizon as the Month goes on.
I know that the new  comet Catalina is in there somewhere as well, lost in the glow of Dawn, but it will be emerging into darker skies, and will be visible in binoculars in the next couple of Months under the darker early morning skies look South East with binoculars over the next month to get a glimpse of it…As soon as I Capture it you will all get to see the photos.

More details on this new comet will come later..

Canon 6D DSLR, 24mm, F4, ISO 1250, 1/400 sec. exp., Hand held! It was cold out, I did not want to mess with setting up tripod, 19F out this morning! Burr, but was worth the hand held shot!
I’m Wishing you all a great time with your families this holiday season!
Best Regards,
John Chumack

M8 The Lagoon Emission Nebula

M8 The Lagoon Emission Nebula Complex in Sagittarius, located just above the spout of the Teapot, it is easily visible as a bright glowing patch of light to the human eye from a dark location, looks great in binoculars too!

M8 is approximately 5000 light years away, and roughly 130 light years across in the longer dimension. Composed primarily of hydrogen, much of it ionized (heated or energized) by radiation from the nearby superstar Herschel 36, M8 is known as an emission nebula or star-forming region, often called a stellar nursery.

There is an open star cluster, NGC 6530, of young hot, blue stars probably only a few million years old. In addition to these young stars, there are also many dark nebulae visible or “Bok” globules of condensing gas and dust on their way to becoming “proto-stars” and eventually full-fledged stars like those already formed nearby.
In this image that I captured Saturday night 09-05-2015 you can see
M8 The Lagoon Emission Nebula Complex in Sagittarius with open star cluster NGC 6530 in front of the Nebula, also a globular Star cluster, bottom left corner is NGC 6544, and upper left of center is a small blue wisp of Nebulosity called IC 4678 reflection nebula.  If you look near the brightest star on the Lagoon Nebula, you will see the tiny Hour Glass Nebula, so named for its distinctive shape.  The Hourglass Nebula has its shape because of matter propelled by Star Herschel 36, look for the tiny star next to the tiny Hour Glass.

5.5 inch F5 Newtonian Reflector Scope & modified Canon Rebel Xsi DSLR, ISO 1600, 72 minute exposure at my Observatories at JBSPO in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Best Regards,
John Chumack