Astro 8'rs... Doing Astronomy


Cony and Michael use ECU to find a suitable asteroid for their CCD project.

In-class projects bring smiles from fun-loving students...

...or, not.

Lysette and Natalie work on their lab project books, while McKulle makes sure the 8" Meade is aimed at the rising moon, on newly cleared "BBQ Hill" next to the dome.

Geoff and Luc took this 2 minute CCD image of the core of the Coma Cluster of galaxies at left.

Tammy Floyd took this CCD image of M77, the brightest Seyfert galaxy in the sky. Note the brilliant nucleus relative to the typical late-type spiral structure.

On the final day of class, students collate their variable star magnitude measurements onto combined light curves on the whiteboard in the classroom. Tammy appears happy with her measurements!

Marta earns extra credit by constructing a simple diffusion cloud chamber to study cosmic rays - atomic nuclei from distant supernovae which penetrate our atmosphere to the ground.

...a supernova like this one, an exploding star in the very distant galaxy NGC 3997. The supernova is 18th magnitude, to the upper right of the distorted galaxy. It appears to be on a tidal tail created by this on-going galaxy collision. Galaxy collisions commonly produce intense star formation along tidal tails, producing massive stars which go supernova. Note that 18th magnitude is near the original visual limit of the Palomar 200" telescope - the largest telescope in the world until 1990. Kudo's to modern CCD camera technology!

One of our projects is to calculate the height of lunar crater walls, using both images and visual estimates combined with geometry. Here, Allison helped photograph the region near the crater Copernicus.


We also study the dramatic changes in comets as they swing by the sun. Here, Alexis J. imaged 13th magnitude Comet H1-LINEAR on March 23, 2004. Note the strongly curved dust tail, seen nearly axis-on.

Comet Wolf-Harrington, imaged March 23, 2004 by me, was 12th magnitude. Such images will help in calibrating results of the occultation of the bright star Aldebaren by this comet and it's dusty coma and tail on April 12. Astronomers want to get a better understanding of the composition and dust production mechanisms of comets.

The Globular Cluster M53. Maryse Meijer made this nice tri-color image in Spring '03 by combining separate exposures in red, green and blue filters in MaxIm DL at the 12" scope with the ST7xe CCD camera.



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