Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lava Hiking Trail Pictures

Here are the Lava Hiking Trail Pictures.  It made a huge difference using the live view feature on my camera to focus.  These replace Crater's pics with bloated stars. The first is M-31, M-32 and M-110 Andromeda.  Canon 60D at 2400 iso for 6 minutes, self guided using a 420mm telephoto lens at f/5.6, riding piggy-back on a C-11.  The second is the Trifid and Lagoon Nebulae using the same setup only for 5 minutes.  Please put them on the club's site. 
Thanks, Ron Pugh

Monday, May 15, 2017

Moon Photos

Hi Wes,  just thought I would share a couple pics I took of moon Wednesday May 3rd with my iPad. I held iPad up to eyepiece of 17.5" dob and shot multiple images. Then picked the best and sharpened with Snapseed. These are those images. Seeing was fairly good that night. Anyway one can get some nice lunar shots this way..

Jim Edlin

Monday, April 10, 2017

Venus Inferior Conjunction

Hi Wescott,
I attached a picture that I took of Venus' March 25th inferior conjunction.  I took it at 2pm on the 26th because of overcast on the 25th.  I took it through my 8" newtonian at prime focus.  Venus passed the sun on its north side so I placed the scope on the north side of the house with the sun barely hidden behind the eve of the roof.  That way no sunlight entered the tube of the scope.  I added a polarizing filter to darken the sky and it worked great.  You can add it on the clubs blog site, if you would please.
Thanks , Ron Pugh

Monday, October 3, 2016

Lava Hiking Trail Star Party Pictures

These are the photos I took at the hiking trail.  You can share them on the club site.
Tuesday, Dave Spencer and I went out and took some shots.
Picture #1 is the dark nebula, Barnard’s E, in Aquila. The bright star is Tarazed. It was with a Canon 60D for 5 min at 6400 iso through a 200mm lens at f/3.5. I also got a shot of the Helix Nebula through a 70mm. It turned out pretty small.
Friday, at the Club’s Star Party, I re-took the Helix Nebula at prime focus through my GPS 11” at f/6.3, for 3 min with the 60D at 6400 iso -- Picture #2.
Picture #3 is the Witches Broom in the Veil Nebula complex in Cygnus. It was taken with the GPS 11” at f/6.3 through an UHC filter. The bright star is 52 Cygni. It needs a lot more exposure time.
Thanks, I love the Club’s star parties. Ron Pugh

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Camas Star Party Pictures

      Attached are 5 pictures I got at the Camas star party.  Can you share them on our Club's site for me?
The first is M-16, Eagle Nebula through my C-11 at prime focus f/6.3 for 2 minutes at 3200 iso.
Number 2 is M-8, Lagoon Nebula at f/10, 3 minutes at 3200 iso through the C-11.
Number 3 is M33 in Andromeda on the C-11 at f/10 for 3 minutes at 3200 iso.  It could have been much better with a longer exposure.
Number 4 is the North American Nebula in Cygnus with the camera riding piggyback through a 210mm telephoto at f3.5.
The last is of NGC-391 galaxy in Andromeda on the C-11 at f/10 and 2 minutes at 3200 iso.  This one could have used a MUCH longer exposure.  It is pretty grainy. It was 3:30AM and I didn't feel like shooting it again.  I'll redo it at the next Craters star party, Sept 2.
Thanks, Ron Pugh

Friday, June 10, 2016

Craters June 2016 Photos

We had a great sky Friday night, didn‘t we? I hope your Saturday was as good. Attached are 4 of the pictures that I took. Please send them out to the Club.
Number 1 is M-104 Sombrero Galaxy. I used a Canon 20D on all the pics. This was on the C11 and through a 19mm Teleview WF eyepiece projection for 1 minute at 3200 iso. I did a poor job centering it.
Number 2 M-5 in Serpens, also used a 19mm Teleview WF eyepiece projection for 30 seconds at 3200 iso
Number 3 M-20 Trifid Nebula C-11 at prime focus f/10   2 minutes at 3200 iso
Number 4 Saturn. I couldn’t get a clear shot at 20 tries so I over-exposed it and went for the moons. After I got home I set my ipod’s Saturn app on Friday evening at 1AM and got the names of the moons that showed up. Titan is the bright one at 10 O’clock. In closer at 9,10, and 11 O’clock are Rhea, Tethys, and Dione. On the opposite side of Saturn, at 2 O’clock is Enceladus, deep in the glow of Saturn and barely visible.
I had another good shot of M-97 Owl Nebula but I accidentally deleted it while deleting some of the Saturn shots. Oh well --- next time.
Ron Pugh

I found my deleted picture of M-97 Owl Nebula in the recycle bin.  Here it is.  You can add it to my shots from Craters Star Party.  I also see an edge-on galaxy, one nebula diameter above the Owl and some nebulosity next to a star one Owl diameter below.  The picture was through a 19mm eyepiece projection on my C-11 for 3 minutes at 3200 iso.
Thanks, Ron

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hi Wescott,
Pretty overcast last night in my backyard for the eclipse.  It thinned out a little, for about 3 minutes, during totality.  It was enough to get 3 shots in.  This one was the best of the 3.  Could you put it on our club blog for me?  I got it with the 6" f/4 reflector on an EQ mount and the Canon 20D set at 1600 iso and 10 seconds. Thanks, Ron

Friday, September 18, 2015

Craters Pics

The first pic is of galaxy NGC-3077 that you spotted, Wescott, in your scope at Craters, Friday night.  NGC-3077 is an irregular galaxy, at 10.6 magnitude, belonging to the M-81, M-82 group.  They are all gravitationally interacting with each other, making one revolution as a group, every 100 million years.  NGC 3077 sits about 70 degrees above M-81 at about the same separation as 81 appears to be from 82.  All 3 are roughly 12 million LY from earth.  The photo was with a Canon 20D set at 3200 iso for 30 seconds. It was at prime focus on a Celestron GPS 11 SCT at f/10.
The second pic is of M-45 Pleiades.  It was also with a Canon 20D at 1600 iso and exposed for 5 minutes.  The camera was at prime focus on a 6" f/4 newtonian on an EQ mount.  The guiding was done visually through a 3" f/7 refractor running at 150X.

-- Ron Pugh

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Nova in Sagittarius + MORE!

I got an email alert on my ipod from Sky and Telescope, while we were on vacation in California 2 weeks ago, to the fact a new nova had been discovered by an amateur astronomer in Australia on March 15.  It was reported at 6.0 magnitude at that time.  A week later it was at 4.3.  I couldn't see it with the lights of Stockton blazing away.  When we got home a week later it was reported to have dimmed to 5.2.  I copied Sagittarius from one of my large star charts (down to 8th mag.) and marked the nova's position, from a photo online, in red on it.  The nova was then reported to be brightening again.  On March 30, our sky was finally clear in the AM so I went out at 5:30am and was surprised it was actually visible to the naked eye.  I took several shots at different ISO's.  I'm sending you the one shot at 6 sec 1600 iso with a Canon 20D and 55mm lens at 2.8.  It was on a fixed tripod.  I compared It with other close star with the same brightness and they were at 4.65 magnitude.  If you look at the teapot's triangular top, draw a straight line between the 2 stars marking the base of the lid.  The nova is the obvious star half way between the 2 stars and a little below the imaginary line.
If the other club members were not aware of the nova they can google it at sgr-2 nova 2015.  It is the second nova in Sag this year.  The first one only got to 8th mag.  You can see what the present magnitude is at  .
The other 3 pictures I'm sending are ones I took it the back yard earlier in March.  I wanted to get them before they swung over into the I.F. lights.
M-42 Orion Nebula,    M-1 Crab nebula,    and the triplet galaxies M-65, 66, and NGC 3628 in Leo.
I still haven't figured out how to put them on our club blog.  If you could, I'd appreciate it.
Thanks, Ron Pugh

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Comet Lovejoy Q2

Observed Lovejoy Q2 this morning using 10x50 binoculars and my 114 mm reflector (450 mm FL, 18 mm eyepiece).  Head of comet was very visible, but I couldn't see the tail.  Observation was about 12:15 am this morning.

Nolan Olson

Hi Wescott,
Happy New Year.  I've been looking for Comet Lovejoy for a while now and got excited to read that Nolan had spotted it.  Last night I went out again with my 11X80 binoculars and found it right where the chart said it would be.  It is not hard to miss, if you're looking in the right place for it.  It has quite a large coma but no tail showing.  Articles from my Sky and Telescope app showed that it has been loosing its tail lately due to solar wind turbulence.  Anyway, I thought it would be a good New Years Eve activity to get a photo of it.  So despite a moon, 4 days from full, about 10 degrees away from the comet's position and -10 degrees air temperature, I bundled up and spent 1 hour in our back yard.
Attached is the picture.  I shot it with a Canon 20D DSLR at prime focus thru my 8" Newtonian reflector.  I set it at 3200 ISO for 10 seconds.  I tried to get on the IFAS blog but still couldn't get it to work for me.  It seems that computers are this old dinosaurs' worst enemy.  Maybe you can do it . 
Thanks.       Ron Pugh


Hi Wescott,  I went out last night and found the comet quickly with binoculars than looked at it with a 4 inch reflector.  Nice coma on the comet.
Jim E

Observed it again about 10 minutes ago.  Between the Moon and my neighbor's deck light it was a challenge, but I saw it in both 10x50 binos and 114 mm reflector.  I'm using Sky Safari to locate the position.  I'm also looking out my bedroom window - its cold out there and I'm not going out!!  No tail visible.
Nolan Olson

I just saw the comet too with my 20x60 binoculars. I didn't see a tail either. It's kind of nestled in a parallelogram of relatively bright stars. I just took Rigel down - catty-corner southwest-ish and spotted it. It's brighter than I thought it would be and I thought I saw some coma...but I do not see a tail.
Wescott F.

Got a good view of the comet before the clouds rolled in...despite it being above a street lamp. It is a Blurry blob with a bright central core. Subtle V-like structure. I swear I saw a small streaming tail with averted and on. The v-like structure lends to what appears to be a diffuse v-like tail that follows behind it. At one point a satellite zoomed by the comet in the eyepiece. It was very small in size compared to the comet (about the size of the comet's central core). That gave me perspective on the size of the comet. It's far away, but it must be very large.
By the way, I was viewing the comet with a 10 inch Dob and 18mm and 35mm eyepieces.
Happy Viewing!
Wescott F.

I just looked at it about a half hour ago and saw pretty much what you saw.  I too believe that with averted vision I could see tail.
Nolan Olson

Friday, December 26, 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

What equipment would you recommend to someone who is interested in getting started in amateur astronomy?

This question was posed at the last Idaho Falls Astronomical Society meeting (April 15th, 2014) and here were the responses by some of the club members:

J.R.C.  - A small reflector is probably the cheapest way to go.

J.F.R.  - A good pair of binoculars (10 x 50 mm) and tripod to learn you way around the sky + sky atlas or computer program or app.

Eric L. - A 6" or 8" reflector telescope with a dobsonsian (Alt/Az) mount. Red dot finder. 25mm and 10mm eyepieces.

W.H.R. - 6" Dob.

Dave S. - Probably a small (105mm), easily mobile, Schmidt-Cassegrain or MAK.

Ron. P - It helps to have a friend with a scope and some knowledge, as a mentor, to answer questions and give advice. A member of the Idaho Falls Astronomical Society would be a great start. Start easy and learn the constellations, names, and placement in the sky. Then start learning the names of the brightest stars. This is a goal that you can attain. It helps you to know your way around the sky. Subscribe to Sky and Telescope or Astronomy Magazine and start learning some of the things going on in the sky and beyond. A lot of info may be over your head but you will be amazed at what you can absorb over time. Wait for awhile before buying a telescope until you know what you want it to do for you. Small, cheap scopes will not satisfy you curiosity for very long and could be a wast of your money. A nice pair of binoculars will work very nicely for you as you astronomical knowledge grows. The neat thing about astronomy is, no matter how much you know, there is always more out there to learn. There's enough going on to keep you occupied for a lifetime.

Bruno - Recommend attendance at a series of star parties to first see the variety of interests which are satisfied with different scopes. Then start with a fairly simple and readily portable scope to encourage its frequent use - a 90 to 105mm MAK or 8" Newtonian with low to medium power eye pieces.

Wescott F. - If you are getting started and not sure if you'll like astronomy, attend our meetings and star parties (for more info go to If you really want to get into astronomy get as big of telescope as you can that meets your budget (a reflector is preferred for deep sky objects and will keep you hunting for years to come) and physical abilities. If you don't mind a bulky scope with around a $500 price tag get a 10" Dobsonian (this kind of telescope is also called a Newtonian) Join a nearby Astronomical Society and they will help you learn how to use your equipment. The Astronomical Society and a good star chart book will help you learn the skies. Reading lots of astronomy books, attending our meetings, attending astronomy college classes and youtube videos about astronomy will help further you education, too. Don't buy telescopes from the mall or grocery stores. Those won't get you very far (and maybe nowhere at all). Searching online for a telescope seems better. Start with or use google to find what you want. If you don't know what you want, attend star parties first and then make a purchase or build your own - DIY style!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jupiter, Mars, Moon

Got a good look at Jupiter, Mars and the Moon before bedtime with the 10" Dob. Nice detail seen on 1st quarter moon in regards to little craters with what seems to be some "ripples" near by. Mars looked like a nice round, red ball. Not much detail could be seen. Bands clear on Jupiter, but only noticed three of the moons. High level clouds passing over and lots of light pollution in the city. Tried to find M108 and M97 and gave up.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Got a look at the stars tonight, started about 8:30.  Sort of ran my own Messier Marathon.  I was able to pick off M-35, 42, 43, and 40 before the clouds became impossible.  Wasted some time on M1, but was never able to see it.  Great views of Jupiter and Mars.  I was using my 4.5 inch reflector.  I have the scope in almost perfect collimation.  I'm using the so-called Barlowed collimation method and would be glad to explain it if you aren't familiar with the technique.  I also recently purchased 18 and 5 mm Celestron X-Cel LX eyepieces which I have found to be a really good match with the 4.5 reflector.  In these eyepieces stars are shap points across pretty much the entire field of view.  There is only very, very slight coma near the edge of the field of view.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waning Gibbous Moon In The Early Morning Mist

Cell phone picture taken of waning gibbous moon at 8:00 AM February 18, 2014. Photo by Eric Laing
It was just a moment, only visible through the clouds as I was driving into work.  There was a soft layer of mist and delicate colors that dressed up the moon in the morning light.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Messier Marathon Planner

I will be using a Messier Marathon planner I found at: Although it is 18 pages long, it has a photo of each object along with a full set of data. Jim

Saturday, February 1, 2014

AR1967 and AR1968 Sunspots

Got a great glimpse at AR1967 and AR1968 sunspots before a cloud covered them. Now I'm just waiting for the cloud to go away for another glimpse. I'm using a 90mm ETX with a Baader film solar filter latched on the nose of the scope and a 40mm 1/4" eyepiece. I'm using no additional filters at the moment, but I do have this green (540nm) filter to put on the eyepiece that supposed to give more contrast that I'll try when the sun comes back....oh wait there it is...I'm back out there.

Friday, January 31, 2014

M82, Jupiter and Orion Nebula

I got a glimpse of the Supernova in M82 before the clouds moved in. It was hazy in that part of the sky and hard to see the galaxy, but easy to see the bright dot in the middle of the fuzziness. Jupiter's moon Europa was sneaky and not showing when I first looked into the scope. Then about an hour or so later it crept out from behind Jupiter and showed itself. The Orion nebula looked bright as its stars casts shadows on the clouds of dust and gas. Too many clouds out right now to view much else.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sunspot AR 1967 (formerly AR 1944)

Got a quick look before next front rolled in.  Neighbor's tree was a challenge also.  The complex does not seem as spectacular as the first time it went across the Sun.  In case you are interested, I'm using a Celestron First Scope with an Orion white light filter that renders the Sun in an orange/yellow color and an Orion Explorer II 17 mm eyepiece.  I set the scope on the kitchen table and look through the patio door.


In case you haven't heard there is another supernova in M99.  It is about magnitude 15 today.  I've been looking at the supernova in M82 using my 5 inch reflector.  The big sunspot cluster (formerly AR 1944) is now appearing again on the Sun.  I'm going to take a look as soon as I post this.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jupiter and Moons, Jan 25th 2014

Jupiter was bright and glorious viewed the evening of Jan 24, 2014. With my 10 inch dob the cloud bands on Jupiter were clearly visible sometime showing some details within the bands. From right of Jupiter as Europa (outer) and Ganymede (inner). From Left of Jupiter was Io (inner) and way out, at times out of the eyepiece (1/4 inch zoomed to15mm) was Callisto. Seeing was average, but Jupiter and it's cloud bands were easy to see until the secondary start icing a bit which seemed to produce a halo and washed out the planet a bit.

Observations on Jan 25 2014

View M82 at 9:19pm MST with 10 inch dob using a 24mm to 8mm zoom 1/4 inch eyepiece (I viewed this object with 18mm). I see a bright dot right of the center of the galaxy (almost midway between the center and the edge) which happens to be  SN2014J Type Ia Supernova. Seeing conditions seemed average and light pollution didn't prevent it's viewing. Viewed from my back deck in Idaho Falls.