Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dolphins, supernovae, satellites and galaxies

Had my morning coffee with a pod of dolphins. About a dozen came to play alongside. They followed me to the bow, playing in the bow wake and chasing the occasional shark away. What a pleasant way to start the day.

We're nearly back to the prospect and soon to be laying gear. I've been doing a little training and classifying galaxies every couple minutes.

This beautiful baby popped up about an hour ago. I searched the forums for its galaxy number and was not surprised to see that it sparked some debate and discussion about supernovae, due to the faint rings. It can be seen from it's negative image that it's not a supernova, but a classic barred, anti-clockwise spiral.

Someone posted this supernova remnant, or planetary nebula (PN G164.8+31.1 - or Jones-Emberson 1) as part of the discussion and wow!

Finally, I acquired this star and satellite track and while useless, looks pretty cool. Stars are identified by their color, intensity and the light reflecting from the four beams that hold the mirror. Satellites are identified by single-color tracks across the field of vision. The reason they are single-color lines is that these images I post are four-color composites, each color is a separate exposure, taken a minute apart-hence the track(its moving relatively fast because its a billion times closer than the stars, or galaxies)and single color. Distant and fast-moving asteroids will appear as a series of colored dots, closely spaced in a line(red, green, blue, yellow)


Queen of Dysfunction said...

I've never been much of a space geek, but I have to say that the last few posts have been fucking awesome.

I really like that nebula.

How long did it take you to learn how to classify these things?

The Pirate said...

It took about 5 minutes. A three yr old can learn the basics and classify well. It is simply a matter of shape recognition. As you progress of course, there's a TON of advanced techniques you can learn to refine your classifications, if you're a total space geek, but anyone can learn to pick in a matter of minutes and ignore things like the spectral data and why a negative redshift gives an astronomer a woody.

Queen of Dysfunction said...

My eyes started bleeding at the image of astronomers with woodies.