Saturday, Saturday, Saturday!

This coming Saturday’s Holiday Bazaar will be at Mountain View High School, located at 1500 SE Blairmont Drive, Vancouver, WA, from 9AM to 4PM.  This bazaar supports the MVHS band programs, which are fantastic.  It is also the 2nd largest of the bazaars I do each year, the biggest being Prairie High School (2 weeks later).  In terms of the number of vendors, these two events are actually very similar, but I always think of Prairie HS as the biggest because that’s where I always have the best sales. The above photo was from last week’s event at Baker Prairie Middle School, […]

2019 Is Here

Well, the 2019 Night Visions calendar is here – hot off the press, so to speak, and available for purchase. I’m really excited about this year’s calendar.  Each year I’ve made it a little better, mostly by improving my astrophotography skills.  But this year is a giant leap for AP-kind because all 13 images in this edition were captured at the remote observatory I’ve been using in Australia, which brings numerous advantages.  Most importantly, we get to see deep-space objects that are only visible from the southern hemisphere.  In fact, the great majority of the included targets are never visible […]

Holiday Bazaars

  Is it ironic that the way we spell “bazaar” is bizarre?  If it were 50% more strange would it become tri-zarre? What’s really strange is that we haven’t even reached Halloween yet, but the holiday bazaar season starts just 1 week from today.  I am doing a different event every Saturday in November, and the first 2 weeks of December – six events all together.  The above flyer is for the biggest event, not the first (the smaller organizations usually don’t publish flyers like this).  The first event, on November 3rd, is Baker Prairie Middle School in Canby, OR.  […]

Look, No Wires!

My backlit film prints have been very popular since I first started selling them about 10 years ago, and from the beginning people have asked whether it would be possible to make them battery powered.  Until now, the answer has been, “Theoretically, yes, but…”  In the early days I had only large sizes, and it was not very practical to run them off batteries because getting a reasonable run time would require some very expensive batteries.  Although battery technology is always improving, it’s still fairly expensive today.  But for the smaller sizes (8×10 and 11×14), ordinary AA batteries can power […]

Gravity Rules

Along with a group of people from Rose City Astronomers, I visited the LIGO (Laser Interferometry Gravitational-Wave Observatory) facility in Hanford, WA last weekend.  The impressive looking structure in the above photo is actually just a water tank (mainly in case of a fire), but has the best LIGO signage on the site – the LIGO logo, if you like. I’ve written about LIGO and gravitational waves here before, but in case you missed it, here’s a quick summary:  Gravitational waves are distortions of time-space caused by the movement of mass through space.  Their existence was predicted by Albert Einstein […]

Flying South for the Winter

There was a plan to capture more data on this target, the Swan Nebula (Messier 17), from the observatory in Australia, but the Swan has now flown too far away and is no longer a viable target.  The good news is that I was able to make this pretty decent image with the data I do have. By the way, don’t spend too much time trying to see a swan in this shape.  As is often the case, the photographic appearance of this nebula is very different from the visual appearance from which the name derives.  But if you really […]

Scary Eyes

The Helix Nebula (NGC7293) is a great example of what is called a “planetary nebula” (PN), and is one of the closest PNs to Earth at about 700 light-years.  “Planetary Nebula” is a misnomer that derives from their typically round appearance, which might be mistaken for a planet when viewed through primitive telescopes.  They are actually emission nebulae resulting from a star shedding its outer layers as it approaches its end of life.  Most PNs have a similar appearance, but this image is the best example from my small selection, partly because of its large angular size, and partly because it […]

Naming A Very Dramatic Nebula

NGC6357 is known as the Lobster Nebula, a diffuse emission nebula in Scorpius.  It is also known as the War & Peace Nebula, based on the appearance in infrared light of a skull on the eastern side and a dove on the western side.  No matter what you call it, this is a very dramatic nebula, with complex and varied structures throughout. The total exposure (integration time) for this image is 13 hours, with roughly equal amounts of H-alpha, O-III, and S-II, all captured in Australia.  I processed it by first creating a color image with H-a as red, S-II […]

A Bunch of Galaxies, Far, Far Away

In another image from Australia we see the Grus Quartet, consisting of (from left to right); NGC7552, NGC7582, NGC7590, and NGC7599.  The 3 on the right are sometimes called the Grus Triplet, but the other is such a nice barred spiral galaxy that it would be a shame to exclude it. All 4 galaxies are relatively close to each other, and probably interacting with each other gravitationally.  Their distance from Earth is estimated to be in the range 55 to 70 million light-years – far away indeed.  But if you look closely you will see numerous smaller galaxies, and they […]

The Eagle Flies Again

Charles Messier’s 16th entry (M16) in his now-famous catalog of celestial objects that aren’t comets is also known as the Eagle Nebula.  To me, a wide view of the nebula such as this does indeed resemble a bird of prey, although I’m not sure this is what they had in mind when they named it.  The outstretched wings in red are nearly impossible to see through a telescope, and it is rare for an object to be named for its photographic appearance. In any case, M16 is a great target for either visual or photographic astronomy.  In my part of […]