The much anticipated “SMSW 2” has arrived! Attendees from 20 or so US states and several countries around the world convened for the 3 day spectroscopy workshop featuring the world renowned experts in the field (scroll to bottom of program for bios on the featured speakers)
Unfortunately the one day we needed to have good weather it did not pan out. Rain and clouds blew in for the evening’s observing session so my big event was cancelled! However all the preparation I did do only made the event more useful for me since I had many questions to ask the experts! I figure I will be better than I was before and ready to do more challenging projects.
Some of the highlights from Day 1:
The second annual astronomical spectroscopy workshop has a record number of attendees, close to 80. Last year it was 21!
Dr David Whelan, a professional astronomer from Austin College in Texas gave a fascinating talk about Be stars and explained how the different emission line patterns we see have to do with our line of sight to the star
Dr Stella Kafka gave a very inspirational talk about how we all can participate in research by contributing spectra to the newly configured AAVSO spectral database. This is also a great way to see if your spectra is “on the level” as they will reject the spectrum if certain acquisition criteria are not met. Dr Kafka is the president of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) which until recently was focused primarily on visual and photometric observations of variable stars but now they have a newly developed “spectroscopy arm”
Other great sessions included talks by Francois Cochard, founder of Shelyak Instruments, addressing spectroscopy basics and instrumentation, processing software for spectra and other aspects of spectroscopy science and set up.
Yes it was quite disappointing the observing session didn’t happen but a great conference day #1 nonetheless! My wife also had a great time as one of the tour guides for the “spectroscopy wives”. They toured Las Cruces and saw many interesting aspects of New Mexico life.
Thanks for reading!
Only 12 days until the spectroscopy conference! Apparently they have sold out. About 80 attendees have registered from all over the world!
In the last spectroscopy post I discovered that my camera was oriented upside down and since then I have corrected that. I have also oriented my spectrum horizontally. The results are shown here. Notice in the previous spectrum of Alhena, a strong type A star, the H-alpha absorption line is “blue shifted” which is not the result of some bizarre physical phenomenon of this star but a disoriented camera! After reorienting the camera the absorption line occurs at the 6563 Angstrom point- which is correct! Remember this star is the calibration star meaning that is what I am using to correct for aberrations in my optical set up and seeing conditions. The target star is shown below which is a Be star and has emission lines as well as absorption lines. So it would appear that I am now essentially prepared to do the demonstration on acquiring a spectrum with the Lhires III!
Thanks for reading!
This was the first spectrum taken of Alhena. Note the absorption line is “shifted” left from the expected point of 6563 (arrow)
This is the corrected spectrum taken with a new data set and the camera properly oriented . Absorption line is properly located at the H alpha point of 6563 Angstroms
This is a single raw spectrum showing the proper horizontal alignment, at roughly the center of the ccd with the H-alpha absorption line also in the center
The final fully processed result from the target star Nu Geminorum. This is a Be star showing emission lines as well as absorption
What’s happening this month at Orion’s Belt Remote Observatory?
A new project is started on the 16″! The “Needle Galaxy” NGC 4565. This is a fantastic edge-on fairly bright galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices. It is well positioned, now visible almost the entire night so we should be able to complete the project in the next month or 2.
Single raw red filtered image of NGC 4565 , the “Needle Galaxy” viewed edge-on from Earth. 15 minute image taken with the RiDK 400 telescope, SBIG 16803 camera. Note the galaxies visible to the lower left, NGC 4562 and lower right IC 3546. The image is annotated with some of the Tycho catalogued stars labeled as well in yellow
Work continues on M77 galaxy in Cetus. Luminance is completed and red channel almost done. The recent supernova in the galaxy discovered in Nov. continues to fade. M77 is getting pretty low in the sky and is only a suitable target until around 10pm or so. This will likely have to wait until next year to complete. Weather in Mayhill has generally been poor this Winter, uncharacteristically.
M77 galaxy in the constellation Cetus. Single raw luminance image, 15 minutes, also obtained with the RiDK 400mm and SBIG 16803 camera
No major operational issues to report except 2 of the mirror shutters on the 16″, which we have been struggling with since the initial installation, have basically failed. We had to manually open them at a recent observatory visit and leave all of them full open. This does not affect the imaging operations at all. It’s a very cool feature but so far I think more of a hassle than perhaps it’s worth. You have to accept gradual accumulation of dust on the mirrors regardless! An upgraded shutter system is supposed to be available soon.
That’s it for now! Thanks for reading.