Kennedy Space Center Sunrises – A Photo Book by Jen Scheer

August 17, 2010 16:47 by scibuff

If you follow @flyingjenny, the incredible Space Shuttle Technician who’s started the Space Tweep Society, or if you’ve seen her daily entries in the Astrophoto gallery, then you know she’s been taking amazing photos of sunrise not far from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). What you might not have known (I only found out myself a few days ago) that she is going share this amazing photo collection with all of us:

I have amassed a nice collection of sunrise photos, some of which have elements that are unique to this location, such as plumes from pre-dawn launches that resemble fire-breathing dragons. I am going to combine the best of these photos into a book, and then pepper it with little bits of historical information about the structures that appear in some of the photos.

The book funding project is hosted on The Kickstarter and at the time of writing the project had 72 backers who had pledged almost $5,000 (see the details below).

Kennedy Space Center Sunrises - A Photo Book

Kennedy Space Center Sunrises - A Photo Book

The best part is that you’ll get your money back in the form of an e-book. Those who donate ($50 or) more will receive a hard-copy signed by the same hand that signs shuttle banners. And, of course, the higher your pledge the better the goodies that come with the book.

To make a pledge, simply visit the project website. As a freebie you can have a look at Jen’s amazing sunrise photo collection on flickr

Spot of light - Credit: Jen Scheer

Spot of light - Credit: Jen Scheer

Amazing photo of aurora from space

April 29, 2010 11:49 by scibuff

NASA Astronaut Clayton C. Anderson (STS-117, Expedition 15/16, STS-120, STS-131) captured this amazing photo of Aurora from orbit while abroad Space Shuttle Discovery during the recent STS-131 mission. If you look closely, you can see the constellation Orion just above the Earth on the right; easy recognizable are the “belt” stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka, the B-type blue supergiant Rigel and even the Orion nebula.

Aurora from the Space Shuttle

Aurora from the Space Shuttle - Credit: NASA/Clayton Anderson

Venus and Mercury tonight

April 8, 2010 19:51 by scibuff

Here are my photos of Venus and Mercury taken tonight from Amsterdam

Venus & Mercury

Venus & Mercury - Canon 450D f/8 exp. 3s ISO 1600 - Credit: ME :D

Venus & Mercury

Venus & Mercury - Canon 450D f/8 exp. 3s ISO 1600

Venus & Mercury

Venus & Mercury - Canon 450D f/8 exp. 3s ISO 1600

ISS above Amsterdam

March 7, 2010 20:13 by scibuff

Here’s my first shot of the International Space Station (ISS) passing over Amsterdam (taken at 19:00 UTC on March 07, 2010). The station passed right through the constellation Orion only a fraction of a degree north of the Orion’s belt.

ISS Above Amsterdam

ISS Above Amsterdam crossing the constellation of Orion - (4 subframes exp. 10s f/5.6 ISO 1600 each, stacked with RegiStax)

The ISS will be visible in Amsterdam until March 20 and the next visibility window will start on April 10. Below is the list of the “best” passes over the city:

Date Mag. Start * End *
8 Mar -1.9 18:52:50 18:57:43
8 Mar -3.1 20:27:20 20:29:57
9 Mar -2.8 19:17:15 19:22:35
9 Mar -1.8 20:52:15 20:54:05
10 Mar -3.3 19:42:01 19:46:38
10 Mar -0.6 21:17:11 21:18:08
11 Mar -3.4 20:06:53 20:10:38
11 Mar 0.2 21:42:06 21:42:08
11 Mar -3.4 20:06:53 20:10:38
11 Mar 0.2 21:42:06 21:42:08
12 Mar -3.2 18:56:35 19:02:21
12 Mar -3.3 20:31:44 20:34:35
13 Mar -3.3 19:21:23 19:27:01
13 Mar -1.7 20:56:37 20:58:31
14 Mar -3.2 19:46:11 19:50:56
14 Mar -0.5 21:21:38 21:22:26
15 Mar -2.4 20:11:00 20:14:51
16 Mar -3.0 19:00:31 19:06:16
16 Mar -1.3 20:35:59 20:38:46
17 Mar -2.2 19:25:16 19:30:44
17 Mar -0.3 21:02:20 21:02:44
18 Mar -1.1 19:50:13 19:54:43
20 Mar -0.9 19:04:20 19:08:45
* all times are in CET (UTC+1) and represent the moment when the station’s elevation is 10°.


For more information about (visible) passes of ISS, and satellites, not only in Amsterdam but for any place on Earth, visit the heavens above website. You can also follow @twisst on twitter.

Waxing Crescent Moon Tonight

February 16, 2010 19:15 by scibuff

Here’s a photo of waxing crescent Moon taken tonight at 19:00 GMT from Amsterdam. Only 2 days and 17 hours old, not many features are visible on the surface. The two prominent craters visible at the bottom just at the terminator are Langrenus (right) and Petavius (left).

waxing crescent Moon tonight

Photo of waxing crescent Moon taken tonight through a refractor ATC Monar (D=70mm f/4.6) with Canon 450D, exp. 1/50s

Galactic Cirrus between M81 and M82

February 15, 2010 11:56 by scibuff

The image below portraits two galaxies known as M81 (NGC 3031 or Bode’s Galaxy) and M82 (NGC 3034 or the Cigar Galaxy). M81 is one of the most striking examples of a grand design spiral galaxy, with near perfect arms spiraling into the very center. M82 is five times as bright as the whole Milky Way and one hundred times as bright as our galaxy’s center. Tidal forces caused by gravity have deformed this galaxy, a process that started about 100 million years ago. The interaction between the galaxies has caused star formation in M82 to increase 10 fold compared to “normal” galaxies.

M81 and M82

170 minute black and white image of M81 and M82 - Credit:

The inverted image (below) reveals much more that meets the eye. The wispy tendrils seen in the inverted and stretched image are known as Galactic Cirrus. They are high galactic latitude nebulae that are illuminated not by a single star (as most nebula in the plane of the Galaxy are) but by the energy from the integrated flux of all the stars in the Milky Way.  These nebulae clouds, an important component of the Interstellar Medium, are composed of dust particles, hydrogen and carbon monoxide and other elements.

Inverted image of M81 and M82 showing the Galactic Cirrus between the galaxies

Inverted image of M81 and M82 showing the Galactic Cirrus between the galaxies - Credit:

Galactic Cirrus was first found in plates in the Palomar Sky Survey in the mid 1960’s. Alan Sandage investigated them further in 1975 while working with the Palomar 1.2m Schmidt Telescope. The surface brightness of these structures is about 25 mag. or even fainter, which makes them extremely hard to capture with most amateur equipment.

The galaxy group, consisting of M81, M82, NGC 3077 and NGC 2976, is the nearest galaxy group to our own local group (which contains the Milky Way, Magellanic Clouds, M33, and the M31 – M32 – M110 system). At 12 million light years distance, the nearby proximity of galaxies M81 and M82 makes them one of the most spectacular sights in the spring sky.

– The images used in this post have been taken by Alvin Jeng during a test run of the Lightbuckets’ LB0002 – a 0.2m Newtonian Astrograph.