It has been far too long since I last posted here – I apologize for that and hope you haven’t been missing it terribly! In truth, not a lot has happened in the last 6 weeks, as is typical for this time of year. But I do have a few bits of news:
First, I am now getting images from a remote observatory in Australia! The first image above is, unfortunately, a familiar target that I have photographed from here in the northern hemisphere, M16, the Eagle Nebula. In the not-too-distant future I hope to be showing you some images of things that can’t be seen in the northern hemisphere. But this image is still important because it is significantly sharper and more detailed than what I have been able to capture before. The main reason for this improvement is that M16 never gets very high in the sky here, while it is almost directly overhead in Australia. When objects are at low altitude the light passes through much more of Earth’s atmosphere, so they are more subject to turbulence that “muddies” the image. So I’m quite pleased with this first image and looking forward to getting more great images soon.
The second bit of news is less positive. I told you earlier about the photo contest at Air & Space Magazine. Although 4 of the 10 finalists in the astronomy category were mine (including one that was a collaboration with my friend, Kay), we didn’t get first place – or the “readers’ choice” award. Maybe next time!
Finally, in less than 2 weeks I will be at the NorthEast Astronomy Forum (NEAF) in Suffern, NY. I attended this event last year, but this year I will be a vendor, showing my focus control systems, “Mister T” camera adapter, and backlit film prints. The objective is to get Wa-chur-ed Observatory better known in the astronomy community, and this seems like the perfect place to do that. There will be over 200 vendors, including most of the biggest companies, and thousands of attendees. If you are also going to NEAF, be sure to stop by my booth and say hello.