Hyles hippophaes – May 12, 2017

Posted in Specii rare on May 12, 2017 by maxpho

After a very long period of inactivity on this blog, I’m finally posting some new shots. Not “astro” ones, but Nature-related ones.

The following shots are of a hawk moth (Fam. Sphingidae), Hyles hippophaes (Esper, 1789). This species is threatened by human activity, as many other insect species. In Romania it occurs mainly in Dobrogea, but can occasionally be found further to the west. 

The larva was found in August 2016, and the adult emerged in May 2017. The moth is active at night, and is attracted to artificial light.







Jupiter in March 2017

Posted in ASTRO on April 7, 2017 by maxpho

These are my only two shots of Jupiter this year. At least for now. The opposition is occurring these days, but the weather these days and the low altitude of the planet are both unfavorable for a good imaging session.

Jupiter March 2017.jpg

Solar Eruption – April 3, 2017

Posted in ASTRO on April 3, 2017 by maxpho

A lovely session with the Sun today, both in H-alpha and in white-light. Two large and very active sunspot groups are still visible, one of which (named 2644) released a small eruption just as I was acquiring images.

Equipment: TS 115mm F/7 Refractor, Quark H-alpha filter, ASI 174MM, 700/2500 frames. Seeing 6/10.

flare april 3.jpg

April 3 flare.jpg

A comparison of the white light view and the H-alpha one:


A short animation spanning 27 minutes, showing the evolution of the small eruption and the plasma traveling along the magnetic field lines:

eruption april 3.gif

A filmstrip from the above animation:


And an image of AR 2645, the largest of the two sunspot groups visible on the Sun these days:

ar 2645 april 3.jpg

Markarian’s Chain – April 1, 2017

Posted in ASTRO on April 2, 2017 by maxpho

This is one shot I was planning to acquire for some time now. It shows some superbly aligned galaxies from the Virgo galaxy cluster. More about it here.

The image was acquired under rather dark skies near Runcu Stone.

Markarian's Chain.jpg

And some identified objects:


ISS over the Moon – April 2, 2017

Posted in ASTRO on April 2, 2017 by maxpho

My first transit of the ISS over a celestial body for 2017. The celestial body this time was our Moon. I’ve observed this transit together with my wife and a few other enthusiasts under a very transparent sky, with the Sun still hanging above the western horizon at the time of the transit. As for almost all these events, I had some issues with the acquisition, but the end result shows the shape of the Space Station nicely. Equipment: 115mm F/7 APO Refractor, 2.5x Powermate, ASI 174MM with UV/IR cut filter.

One crop:


And a three-frame sequence:


And a better processed image:

ISS around the Moon.jpg

Sombrero Galaxy – March 28, 2017

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2017 by maxpho

One image of a superb edge-on galaxy: Messier 104, or better known as the Sombrero-hat galaxy” (“Sombrero” for short).

This image was exquisitely hard to acquire and process due to the low altitude of the object, lots of light pollution, bad seeing, and some wind. The image was acquired with the 355mm F/4.5 Newtonian, Baader MPCC, ASI 1600MM with no filters. 1500 frames, each a 3 seconds exposure.

M 104 Sombrero.jpg

A few astro-shots

Posted in ASTRO on March 28, 2017 by maxpho

I’ve found two shots that were waiting to be processed. Not the best by any means, but good enough to be posted here:

Lunar crater Janssen under low illumination, from December 2016 (acquired with the 14 inch Newtonian and ASI 174MM camera):

Janssen Dec 2016.jpg

Sirius with the famous Sirius B component: