Sunday, August 24, 2008

Astronomy Vehicle at the Bryan Lawrence Benefit Car Show

I decided that it would be a good idea for me to expand my astronomy outreach by taking my Astronomy Mobile Outreach Vehicle (AMOV) to the car show being held to benefit Bryan Lawrence, the Roanoke Police Officer recently paralyzed in an attack.
Although, not "high-end" show quality, the AMOV looks nice, and usually attracts a crowd. It gives people something to look at besides autos and trucks. At this show, I managed to talk to hundreds of visitors, and allow them to observe the sun through several telescopes equipped with solar filters for safe viewing. I stayed very busy all day, and although the sun had no activity to look at on its surface, people still enjoyed the chance to safely look at the sun. I would have to say that it was a successful event. Below are some images that I managed to take while talking astronomy with the masses.

Here is the Astronomy Mobile Outreach Vehicle (AMOV). It was a 21 passenger bus before I saved it from the scrap yard and started using it to teach astronomy. I also use it as a base of operations when I am involved in astronomy outreach with members of the local astronomy group, Star City Astronomy Network (SCAN).

The Astronomy Mobile Outreach Vehicle (AMOV), from the back.. The large telescope toward the back of the vehicle is a 15" Dobsonian Reflector, built by StarGazer Telescopes.
The telescopes with the solar filters were mounted on the tripod near the front of the vehicle.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A little Andromeda for ya

I was out the other evening and managed to get some photons of the Andromeda Galaxy, rising in the east. This galaxy is the closest galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Designated as Messier 31 (M31), it is visible as a bright, fuzzy patch in the sky, and lies about 2.5 million light years away.
Of course, you need to get away from the light pollution of the Roanoke Valley to get a sky dark enough to see it with the naked eye. This is an excellent object for binoculars, as well as telescopes.

The image above is the Andromeda Galaxy, M31, in the constellation Andromeda. It is located near the "Great Square of Pegasus", and asterism of starts that forms a large square.
Camera - Canon EOS 40D
Lens - Sigma 300 MM f2.8 Lens, set at f2.8 - ISO 800
27 Minutes of exposure (9 x3 minutes)
AstroTrac TT320 Astrophotography mount for tracking