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.


Oct 4 - ASLI Elections for Officers and Board. Time to make your selections for the officers and board members up for election.

Oct 11 - Planetary Science, and Impact Craters - by Dr. Steven Jaret .  Dr. Jaret is a planetary scientist and geochemist at Stony Brook University with a research focus on meteorites and meteorite craters. His overall goal is to use Earth as a laboratory to understand other planetary bodies in the solar system such as Mars or the moon. Impacts are a bigger part of the geology of these planets than on Earth, but we have the luxury of being able to go to Earth’s craters and study them up close and in detail. What we learn from them can be applied to other planets. His focus is on trying to understand what happens to rocks and minerals when asteroids impact Earth. Dr. Jaret received a B.S. in geology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; a Masters in Geology from Harvard University in 2011; and recently received his Ph.D. in geosciences from Stony Brook.

Oct 18 - 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  October 19th. Please Do Not park on the Lawn

Oct 25 - The RussianSpace Program - by Chris Costanza.  Chris has done other presentations on the history of various space programs, and he never fails to entertain and illuminate.  He is a dogged researcher, and his presentations are always enlightening.

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.