Balsam skies

Lights out!

Its that time again for my annual reminder about the importance of reducing outdoor lighting. The night sky has been slowly getting brighter over the 14 years we have been at Balsam. Its mostly due to the growth in our neighbor towns and communities but Balsam residents can do their part to preserve the night …

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Moon Monday

Astrophotographers usually take a break on nights with a full or near full moon since it washes out the light from much dimmer galaxies and nebula. Last month’s full moon was on an otherwise clear night so I grabbed some quick images just to make sure everything in the observatory was working.

Triangulum Galaxy

Also known as Messier 33 (M33), its one of our local group neighbor galaxies at only 2.7 million light years away. The local group’s more famous and visible member, Andromeda (M31) is larger and only 2.5 million light years away. M33 “only” has about 40 billion stars compared over 100 billion for the Milky Way. …

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Another Starlink train

Another launch by Elon and another group of Starlink satellites headed for the ~500km orbital plane above the earth. This time with a Canon DSLR on a tripod. Complete with cicada soundtrack! You can see them dim one by one as the train moves into earth’s shadow.

Starlink trains

When SpaceX launches a bunch of Starlink satellites they are visible for a few days as a train of bright dots crossing the sky. They eventually spread out and boost themselves into higher orbits where they are not visible to the naked eye but will bug amateur and professional astronomers for decades as the photo …

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Perseids meteors

I hope everyone got a chance to see the Perseids meteor shower this morning. I did not bother planning any photography given the bad weather forecast but just dragged an air mattress out to the driveway at 1:30 to enjoy the show and found nearly clear skies. We saw one about every 3-5 minutes with …

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