Monday, June 14, 2010

Mind-blowing moments of the galactic kind.

I've been a little scatterbrained lately with having been up extremely late (or early!) several nights recently, with another two coming up. Tonight we're going observing at the Institute for Astronomy with the UH 2.2-meter 'scope again, and then Tuesday night I'm heading up to the Vis for stargazing. I went there last night as well as part of the University Astrophysics club, with the intent to use the imaging system since it was only one day past new moon. Unfortunately, the weather refused to cooperate, being partly cloudy for much of the night, especially in the early evening, and even downright drizzling on us for a bit (which necessitated scurrying around to cover up sensitive telescopes). However, near the end of the night the weather cleared up enough to let us collect some data on NGC6302, the "Bug Nebula".  I'm hoping to finally put together the data I've collected so far pretty soon and actually have some astrophotos for you to see. I might even work on that tonight...

Last night was also special because I really saw the core of the Milky Way for the first time, and it nearly blew my mind. While I have seen the core before, from California, I saw it from Mauna Kea for the first time last night, and it was awesome. My impression had always been that the band of the Milky Way was no thicker in the vicinity of the core than it was anywhere along its length, but with the clear skies of Mauna Kea I was able to see it looming over me, bulging out from either side. Dark dust and gas clouds were also silhouetted against the myriad stars of the galactic core more clearly than I've ever seen them before. I wanted to get a picture of it, but was afraid of bringing my camera out and having it get rained on. Certainly, though, it is very high on my list of priorities for next time I go back. I'm still itching to try out my birthday tripod for astrophotography!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Think I said something interesting or insightful? Let me know what you thought! Or even just drop in and say "hi" once in a while - I always enjoy reading comments.