Solar Imaging.. once again!

by Umair Asim

After a long time, i have started solar imaging again. This image was taken today with Lunt 152 Hydrogen Alpha Solar Telescope and Imaging Source DMK21 Mono CCD Camera.

Got 6000 frames and selected 2000 of them and stacked and processed with Avistack and Registax. Final details were enhanced in photoshop.

Coronado PST at observatory

by Umair Asim
Roshaan Bukhari with Akbar Sahib

Roshaan Bukhari with Akbar Sahib

Today Akbar Sahib brought his newly purchased Coronado PST Hydrogen Alpha Solar Telescope to the observatory and Roshaan and i was happy to see the details this "small" telescope was showing us.

Its a very light weight telescope but the optics are truly amazing. Sun was very sharp in the view and the typical red halpha color is always so pleasing for me.

I also tried negler 9mm eyepiece and loved the solar details. Roshaan did what he does best, when he took images from his mobile camera. I still have to see those images.

Akbar Sahib came all the way from Rawalpindi and before he left, he told me that he wants me to keep his scope for a sometime so i can further explore its capabilities. Now that is generous! 

First thing i will be doing is to attach a ccd camera and aqcuire some AVIs. Let's see what it can show us in images!

Major (R) Akbar observing the sun

Major (R) Akbar observing the sun

Hamari Kainaat (Urdu) - Episode 9

by Umair Asim

From this episode, we are starting a new segment of "Nai Baat at Hamari Kainaat". Here we discuss the latest news of "water on Mars" and its implications.

Let's listen to our Astronomer, Dr Salman Hameed.

Hamari Kainaat (Urdu) - Episode 8

by Umair Asim

In this episode, we discuss how astronomers learn about different types of stars on H-R Diagram, why is it so important and how easy it becomes to know the life cycle of any star by looking at its place on H-R Diagram. Let's see how Dr Salman Hameed explains it so simply.

Hamari Kainaat (Urdu) - Episode 7

by Umair Asim

In this episode, we talk about stars.. how did we first know the nature of stars in the night sky? what amazing knowledge spectroscopy of starlight has given us? what different colors of stars can tell us about their physical properties? Let's begin our journey by asking these question to Dr Salman Hameed.

Pluto, the lo(a)st planet

by Umair Asim

In March, i imaged Pluto with Celestron C14 telescope and SBIG ST9XE camera. Where is Pluto in this image? I have attached a chart here (click the image) and you can find it in this crowded star field.

This chart is from TheSkyX Pro which is a premium software used for planning and controlling all modern observatory equipment but i noticed the position of Pluto is a bit different than marked in this chart. Have no clue why it is so.

Dr Hoodbhoy's Lecture on Blackhole

by Umair Asim

Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, honored us all by coming to Zeds Astronomical Observatory to deliver a lecture on Blackhole and Information problem, on Lahore Astronomical Society's monthly meeting of April 2015.

I am truly grateful Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, for coming here and enlightening us about the amazing physics of Blackholes. Every participant learnt a lot from you and enjoyed your pleasant company.

Here is the recording of the whole event.

Sunset at my Observatory

by Umair Asim

Yesterday evening was beautiful at the observatory. I opened Canon 6D and took around 10 images of western sky. Moon in Hyades, Venus, Orion, Taurus, some Auriga and even Pleiades in the lower horizon.

I could spot, barely, a 5.8 magnitude of star in Pleiades.

Astronomy Outreach at LGS, Johar Town.

by Umair Asim

Ali Khan and i visited Lahore Grammar School even when it rained that day and was cloudy. Their Science teacher Shaista Irfan had arranged a star gazing session there and had brought a Meade 90mm ETX telescope.

We observed Jupiter and M42, also some bright stars as well. Constellations were identified and some of the history of Astronomy and telescope was discussed. Star maps were distributed and used by the students. Good job boys!

A visit to Punjab University, Space Science Dept

by Umair Asim

Punjab University is a big institute for educating thousands, here in my city. They have a Space Science Department and recently have showed great interest in Astronomy and observing with telescopes.

I got a call from the observer of their department and on 27th February, 2015, i went there to help them with the two big scopes they have in their department. One is from Meade with 14 inch mirror and the other is of Celestron having 8 inch aperture. Both have Alt-Az mounts.

There were some issues with initiating the power so we used it manually. Needless to say, the optics are amazing.. 14 inch mirror always is a treat to use. It was quite hazzy and partly cloudy, but still we were able to see moon and jupiter.

These images were taken by the students of the department and you can see how enthusiastically they were using the scopes. I am sure we will see a lot more coming from Space Science Department in the near future. I wish them all the Astronomical success!

LAST March Monthly Meeting

by Umair Asim

Yesterday, we had a great time at LAST monthly meeting at the observatory. As usual i started of by introducing Zeds Astronomical Observatory and what we did last month here. Our photometric submissions were 42 in total, although it was quite a cloudy and rainy month.

Rabeea Rasheed, who is a second year student of Lahore College for Women University, gave a talk on Astrobiology which was wonderfully explained. She had definitely done her homework there!

Good to see new faces in the meeting! Here are some of the pictures i took.

Solar outreach - LGS Astronomy Society

by Umair Asim

Students of Lahore Grammar School, Johar Town Branch, visited the observatory a few days ago. First i gave them an introductory presentation about the observatory which was followed by a tour of the building, the main telescope it has, Celestron C14 with all its extra gear and the adjacent 'Human Room'.

Fortunately the sky was clear and we first setup Celestron CGEM DX mount, mounted Lunt 152mm Halpha telescope on it, adjusted the pressure tuner, focuser and looked into the eyepiece. There it were.. a few but beautiful Solar Prominences. Lunt152 is an amazing instrument to see the Sun's lower atmosphere. With its big aperture, the details in the view are unforgetable indeed!  

Nothing comes close to a white light telescope setup to see the surface of the Sun, where Sunspots and Granulation can be seen at their best. CBSAP 127mm refractor with Herschel Wedge is such an out of this world combination for observing solar surface... Unfortunately, there were very few and small Sunspots at that day; Nonetheless, these young minds were intrigued by looking 'directly' at the Sun and asked many many interesting questions.

I am thankful to their Science teacher Shaista Irfan, who planned and organized it all. I am sure many more students of this school will be coming here after their exams.

Hamari Kainaat (Urdu) - Episode 3

by Umair Asim

Last month, in January 2015, a triple transit occurred on Jupiter. A transit can happen on Jupiter once in a week or so but the next triple transit will be not before 2032!

What is it? How and why it happens? What is the importance of Planet Jupiter in our Solar System? These are some of the questions we try to answer in this episode of Hamari Kainaat. So let's listen to it!

Lecture by Dr Salman Hameed

by Umair Asim

This lecture was given in at the end of December 2014 here at Zeds Astronomical Observatory. We had a good gathering in the cold evening. The lecture (in Urdu) was about the efforts we humans have done to know about the Universe and how it has shaped our understanding of who we are. I am sure you would all enjoy it.

Asteroid 139 Juewa video

by Umair Asim

This is from last night. This asteroid is from main belt and was first discovered in China by an American Astronomer in 19th century.

These images were taken from 12:18 - 12:58 yesterday night. There are total of 40 frames, here running at 10 frames per second. Each frame is of 30 seconds exposure in Astrodon V filter.

My back on the hand calculation says, it is moving at about 400 km/sec..Thats fast! Is that right?

Equipment: Celestron C14 Telescope

Mount: Losmandy Titan

Camera: SBIG ST9XE CCD Camera, internally guided

Software: FocusMax, MaximDL, Pinpoint, SkyX Pro

Here is a stacked image of all these ~ 40 frames. The streak is the path it took while imaging.