September Astronomical Events + Exciting News

Hello to all! Schools back in sesion for me here so I hope I will still have the time to be blogging often.  I’ve gotten really lazy and haven’t been updating it like I want to be.  In any case, September is shaping up to be a great month for me.

Observing wise, this is a great time of year.  You can still catch the summer stuff early on in the evening and get a taste of the exciting fall and winter objects to come.  Andromeda is up pretty high by 10PM, and it is a great view on those dark nights.

Pegasus, or the Great Square contains a host of galaxies, namely NGC 7331 and Stephans Quintet, a wonderful, but compact grouping of 5 galaxies.  I could not see these from my Red Zone backyard in the 12.5″.  On a recent trip to my grandpas house, I got to spend a while on Pegasus and was surprised that they were not that apparent at first, even with the 16″ Newtonian.  They are just west of the bright galaxy NGC 7331, which it self is accompanied by a few fainter galaxies.  These were easy in the 16″ but in the 12.5″ at home, only 7331 was visible.  As far as galaxies go, it’s bright enough to be a Messier, but he did not come across it.  The bright planetary NGC 7662, aka, The Blue Snowball is readily visible in the RV-6 from the backyard.  It’s nickname is accurate, looks like a blue snowball afloat a field of stars. Larger aperture will show internal structure and a central star.

In the Andromeda/Triangulum area, there is a lot of memorable objects to be seen.  Of course, the main attraction is M31, with it’s 2 companions M32 and M110.  110 is the smaller brighter companion, with an almost stellar appearance in small scopes.  M32 is larger and fainter, but it can be spied in a 6″ scope from here.  The large aperture really brings this grouping to life.  The inner dust lane of M31 is glimpsed in the 12.5″ on a dark night here, and the galaxy’s milky light extends out far more than it appears.  More can be seen by placing the galaxy outside the field completely and slowly letting it drift into the field.  This tecnique also works great on the Orion Nebula. A favorite of mine in Andromeda is NGC 891, an edge on spiral galaxy.  The surface brightness is rather low and pretty faint from here, but in Arizona skies with grandpa’s 16″ it is large and bright, with a prominent dark dust lane going down the middle.  While in the area, check out NGC 752, a large scattered open cluster near M33.  I really like this cluster, and it’s rather overlooked in my opinnion.  Seen best with low power and wide fields, it is a real treat from dark skies.  The other great galaxy in this region is M33, the Triangulum Galaxy.  This is one of the hardest Messiers due to it’s very large size and low surface brightness. From Arizona, it can be seen naked eye, with spiral arms and clusters and nebulae superimposed upon them in the 16″.  But until recently, I have been unsucessful in locating it from my backyard, until recently.  Once I had the correct stars in the FOV, I waited patiently and after a few minutes was able to make out a soft glow of the galaxy.  This was in the 12.5″ with the ES30mm, giving 63.x and a 1.3* FOV.  Not a visually memorable view, but I was glad to have finally spotted it.

Comet Jacques (c/2014 e2) has gotten pretty bright in Cassipeia right now, hovering around mag 7.  I had it recently in the 12.5″ and it was pretty cool.  There nucleas was very apparent, with the coma extending out very far.  The tail escaped me that night, but it can only get better.  Finder chart here.

In other news, the article on Evered Kreimer will be in the September issue of the quarterly magazine Reflector by the Astronomical League.  I’m hoping for it to come any day now,  the anticipation is building! I submitted the article to them back in July and I’m eager to see it in print.  This is my first article ever in a magazine, and while it is short, it still is a start.  Hopefully more to come for the future!

I’m starting an astronomy club at my high schoold, San Dimas High.  Signups are the week of September 15, and so far there is quite a bit of interest. I am the founder and president of the club, something I can’t say I’ve had experience in before.  Club meetings will be twice month. I’m planning on fundraisers for the club to take a field trip up to Mount Wilson or Griffith Observatory.  The signup week I am bringing the big 12.5″ on campus to get people interested enough to sign up.  It’ll be quite a job, but I have a feeling it’ll bring in a lot more people.

That’s all for now, I plan to make a photo post about my astronomy club coming soon here, as well as the article for the magazine.  Should be really exciting!

 

A Meeting with Evered Kreimer

It’s taken me way too long to get around to posting about this, but I had the opportunity to meet Evered Kreimer, the famous astrophotographer who first used the cooled emulsion camera.

Evered Kreimer was a big name in amateur astronomy back in the 60’s and 70’s. He had a contract with Sky and Telescope magazine and had his photos included monthly.  He became interested in astronomy when he was a teenager.  He moved to Prescott, Arizona in 1962 and built his observatory, housing a Cave 12.5″ F/7 Newtonian.   Later on he moved to another part of Prescott and built another observatory.  He also had his own imaging processing room, to process and develop the  Kodak Tri-X film that he used on his photographs.

One of his biggest contribution was being co-author in the book, The Messier Album published in 1978.  This book included information, sketches and photos off all the Messier objects as well as the history of Charles Messier.  This is a popular book among astronomers looking for a quick reference on any Messier object.  Kreimer included all the photos and John Mallas included the sketches of all the objects as seen through his 4″ Unitron Refractor. This book is still available today, look here.

Anyway. no one has heard of him recently at all, not for the last several years. During a trip visiting my grandparents in Prescott (from 2/14), we managed to get ahold of him and he invited us down to visit him.  Kreimer showed us his photos and told us his story.

Me and Mr. Kreimer

Me and Mr. Kreimer

About 5 years ago, Kreimer gave away his telescope and sold his house, the observatory was torn down. He moved to a quiet, beautiful neighborhood in Prescott. He still is into photography, while he can’t get out under the stars anymore, he photographs birds, and has since switched to digital. He has a small spotting scope that he carries around now. Kreimer is still sharp as a tack, and he knows his stuff. He is 92. My grandpa and him really connected, he worked in a photo lab for over 30 years and did some astrophotography of his own with his 12.5″ F/6 Newtonian. They were both talking about how they did all the image processing, chemicals used, etc. Kreimer took a particular liking to my sketches, and it was fun comparing sketches with his photos. He told me that in the 36 years The Messier Album has been out, he never received one letter, one phone call, nothing. I’m the very first.

It was a real honor to talk with him, and is a really kind man.  He signed my book:

Kreimer signature

This is the only signature in The Messier Album, and I’m so honored to have it be my copy.  Thanks to all, who made this possible, my parents, my grandparents, and, of course, Mr. Kreimer.