Thursday, 22 June 2017

ESAC Star Party 2017, 30 June

The ESAC Astronomy Club announces the annual Summer Solstice Star Party. This year it will take place on June 30, 2017, coinciding with the #AsteroidDay. The doors will open at 20:00, the programme will start at 20:30 and the observations with the telescopes will start at 22:30.

ESAC Star Party
Agenda:

  • 20:30 tour along the satellites at ESAC 
  • 21:30 presentation about astronomy in D building. 
  • 21:30 second tour along the satellites at ESAC 
  • 22:30 observation with telescopes, guided constellations tour, guided satellite spotting 
More:
Astronomy master class
As always you, your family and your friends are invited to attend the star party. However, the way we want to register the invitees is different than previous years! We have created a Google form that you, the ESAC employee, will need to fill out for every person that you want to invite. The form can be found here. Please make sure to fill out all required items and to also inform us if your invitees plan to attend either tour along the satellites and/or the presentation about astronomy by ticking the appropriate boxes in the form. The number of visitors is limited to 450 and the number of participants of the presentation to 250.

Telescope platform
As in previous years you are required to bring your own food and drinks. We will take care of ice to cool your drinks though. The restaurant terrace will be open for you to eat at. Parking will be done at the ESAC parking and the guards will let your invitees enter as long as they are on the list. So make sure to fill out the form for each invitee! Finally, the first tour of the satellites will start at 20:30 sharp and the presentation at 21:30 sharp so please make sure to arrive on time.

From 22:30 onward we will point our telescopes at various objects in the sky, including Jupiter, the Moon and Saturn. We will dedicate several telescopes to taking pictures and we will make sure that you and the other visitors can make pictures with your own smartphones through those telescopes.

Image may contain: screen
Saturn Live projection during 2016 Star Party
Location: ESA - European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) Camino bajo del Castillo s/n, Urb. Villafranca del Castillo 28692 Villanueva de la Cañanda, Madrid, Spain


Please contact us in case you have any questions,
ESAC Astronomy Club

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

NGC 7000 imaged from my backyard

In the night from May 24 to May 25 I used my Canon EOS 700D mounted on my Sky Watcher StarAdventurer mount to take images of NGC 7000, also known as the North America Nebula. The camera is modified and has its IR-filter (Infra Red filer) replaced by a different filter that lets pass through more red light. So emission nebulae like the North America Nebula are ideal objects to image with this camera because they principally emit light at the very red wavelength of 656 nanometers, which get blocked by the original IR-filter.

Here is a picture of my setup:


I took 40 images of 3 minutes illumination each. Then I processed the images and rejected 4 of them based on statistics that give indications about the background noise and sharpness of the stars. The final result is this


Stay tuned for more images to come in the near future!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Tiangong - 2

The Chinese space station Tiangong -2 flew across the night sky over a location close to ESAC. The Moon, Jupiter and some clouds complete this night-sky portray.


The Chinese station is a cylindrical module of 10 meters long and 3.3 meters diameter, flying at altitudes around 370km. In this pass, the station came out of shadow at 23:12 CEST on the western sky at 10 deg elevation, crossed the Leo constellation at 62 deg elevation, and got into shadow again at 23:18 in the eastern sky. The apparent magnitude was approximately 1 mag.


The images were taken with a Nikon D3100 with 1sec exposure and a cadence of around 2 seconds.