Astronomical Society

of Long Island


NOTICE:  All content on this site is Copyright ©2016 by Ken Spencer, The Astronomical Society of Long Island, and the respective photographers.  All Rights Reserved.  Reproduction is forbidden without express written permission.


Dec 6 - Gravitational Waves, Gamma-rays, & Gold - Dr. Douglas Swesty will talk about  ”Our First Views of Binary Neutron Star Mergers.” Professor Swesty is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy  at SUNY Stony Brook. His research is in the fields of nuclear astrophysics and computational physics. He is currently working on a number problems: highly parallel algorithms for radiation hydrodynamics, numerical models of binary neutron star system mergers, the explosion mechanism of core collapse supernovae, the neutrino signature & gravitational wave signature of supernovae, general relativistic radiation hydrodynamics, and the equation of state of hot, dense matter.

Dec 9 - Saturday - ASLI HOLIDAY PARTY  - Butterfields, 661 Old Willet’s Path, Hauppauge, NY, at 7 PM.  Dinner will be a buffet Including an  assortment of vegetables, oven roasted baby potatos, pasta, chicken, seafood, beef dishes, dessert, coffee, tea and soda. Cash bar available. Live band Rocking Hams playing 60’s, 70’s music, dance floor. Vegetarian options available.  Reservations are closed for this event.

Dec 13 - Winter Solstice Party.  This will be held in the lobby of the planetarium. Some more Eating. Bring your favorite chips and nibbles and guilty pleasures and even something healthy to eat, if you like. Or bring something to drink to share.

Dec 20 - Observing Night. We will observe only if the skies are clear. Bring your own telescope or binoculars, or come and observe through our instruments. New Moon is December 18th . Do not park on the lawn, please.

Dec 27 - Christmas week No Meeting.

Messier 27 - The Dumbbell Nebula

This is a magnificent image of The Dumbell Nebula done recently by ASLI member Jonathan Nelson.  This object was the first planetary nebula to be discovered; by Charles Messier in 1764. At its brightness of visual magnitude 7.5 and its diameter of about 8 arc minutes, it is easily visible in binoculars, and a popular observing target in amateur telescopes.  However, in amateur instruments it only appears as a black and white image because of the inability of the human eye to see color in very low brightness.  Doing long exposure astrophotography like this is a very demanding process.  The total time of all exposures exceeds one hour and thirty minutes!  Here are the technical details:

Scope: Explore Scientific 102ED Triplet Essentials Series

Mount: Celestron AVX

Guiding: Orion Magnificent Mini AutoGuider Package

Camera: Canon Rebel T5

Other: Explore Scientific Field Flattener and Orion SkyGlow Imaging Filter

Capturing Software: BackyardEOS (with dithering), PHD2

Processing: Entirely in Pixinsight 1.8

Light Frames: 19 x 180" (57 min total)

Dark Frames: 10 x 180"

NGC 4216 in the Virgo Cluster by Dave Barnett

Our intrepid astrophotographer Dave Barnett apparently needs no sleep at all, judging by his latest handiwork.  In the center of the frame is the galaxy NGC 4216 in the Virgo Cluster.  It is 40 million light-years distant, and is an edge-on spiral galaxy.  It is nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own Milky Way galaxy.  It is flanked by fellow Virgo cluster member NGC 4222.  If you are thinking of trying astrophotography, you should know this is not a simple trick.  He used an 8” f/4 Newtonian, and this final image is a stack of 4 minute long sub exposures with a total time of 92 minutes.