Friday, November 30, 2012

Sunsets

Just some interesting sunset shots taken on three different evenings.
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I spend a lot of time these days admiring sunrises and sunsets.

Posted by Dave

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sunshine And Daisies

It's hot where I live. Satan lives over on the next block. So wintertime, roughly from December to April, is the nicest time of the year, and lots of desert trees bloom in this lovely time.
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This is a Shoestring Acacia. I think. The nursery that sold it to me said so. But it doesn't "weep" like most Shoestrings. Nevertheless, it thrives, and this beautiful tree is always the earliest and most profuse bloomer of our four Shoestrings.
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Closeup. These fuzzy flowers will become long green pods filled with seeds. When they drop from the tree, the pods will cover the ground and be eagerly devoured by various critters.
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But wait! Is this a predator, lurking in the greenery?
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Nope. It's just Burt the Buzzard, who sticks with us through thick and thin, and has survived a couple of moves.

Posted by Dave

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November Astrophotography

All of these are 30 second shots taken through a 6" refractor telescope. I knock down the resolution a bit so that they don't take forever to load. The only editing I do is to remove an annoying blue halo that I get on the brightest stars. I don't do any sharpening or stacking or cropping, so these pictures are pretty much right out of the box. As always, clicking causes embignification.
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This is M79, a nice globular cluster in Lepus.
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M50 is a lovely open cluster in Monoceros, which is in the Milky Way.
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M41, a bright, open cluster in Canis Major, The Big Dog, which is also in the Milky Way.
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This is a two-fer, M81 and M82, galaxies in Ursa Major, The Great Bear. The Big Dipper is part of Ursa Major. The really cool thing about taking a long-exposure picture is that it brings out details that the eye can't see otherwise. In the telescope, these two galaxies are faint smudges.
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M35, an open cluster in Gemini, considered to be one of the most beautiful in the sky.

I want you to know that I suffer for my art. Staying up all night is tough, the bug bites are irritating as hell, and I'm constantly shooing away rattlesnakes and scorpions. The damn howling coyotes break my concentration, and I've been dive-bombed by owls.

Posted by Dave

Friday, November 16, 2012

Looking At The Stars

It's been either cloudy or windy here, so scoping has been light. Here's some shots that Mrs. UC took a couple of nights ago. As always, click to embignify.
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Andromeda Galaxy. All of these pics are 30 second exposures from a Nikon D5100, using an Orion 80mm refractor as a prime-focus lens.
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M35 in Gemini. Considered to be the prettiest open cluster in the sky.
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The Orion Nebula, always a delight!
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NGC 869 and NGC 884 in Perseus. Two nice open clusters.


Posted by Dave