Official Inauguration of Zeds 2.0

by Roshaan Bukhari
"On this date; the 6th day of April, the year 2016 A.D"
To celebrate the official inauguration of Zeds 2.0, Aamna Saleem brought this cosmic version of a cheesecake. Thank you, Aamna!

To celebrate the official inauguration of Zeds 2.0, Aamna Saleem brought this cosmic version of a cheesecake. Thank you, Aamna!

It is finally ready! The extension to the original Zeds Astronomical Observatory, after 12 years of the initial observatory construction, is finally here! Enter: Zeds 2.0 ! An observatory that can house 3 telescopes at any given time, ready for use.

Cutting the celebratory cake for Zeds 2.0

Cutting the celebratory cake for Zeds 2.0


The inauguration day was celebrated by setting up Sameer Rashid Shami's Celestron 8SE telescope on top of the Celestron AVX mount. Sameer had waited a really long time (almost a year) before the appropriate testing could be done (water proofing, electrical wiring and gauging weathering effects) to allow moving in the equipment. 

The Celestron 8SE on top of the Celestron AVX mount; looking rather ominous!

The Celestron 8SE on top of the Celestron AVX mount; looking rather ominous!

The observatory has a roll-off roof that is more than twice the size of the original telescope room for, what can now safely be assumed to be Zeds 1.0! Currently it houses 2 telescopes. One being Sameer's 8" SCT on a Celestron AVX mount, the other being CBSAP 127mm Apochromatic refractor on a Celestron CGEM mount.

First light image from the new observatory. This image shows the galaxy pair M51 also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, named after its conspicuous display of beautiful spiral arms. What is also evident is a smaller companion galaxy seen up top that is in a cosmic ballet with the bigger, more massive partner below.  Image credits: Sameer Rashid Shami Telescope and Camera: Celestron 8SE, SBIG STF8300 monochrome CCD Autoguider: SBIG STI monochrome CCD

First light image from the new observatory. This image shows the galaxy pair M51 also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, named after its conspicuous display of beautiful spiral arms. What is also evident is a smaller companion galaxy seen up top that is in a cosmic ballet with the bigger, more massive partner below. 
Image credits: Sameer Rashid Shami
Telescope and Camera: Celestron 8SE, SBIG STF8300 monochrome CCD
Autoguider: SBIG STI monochrome CCD

In the coming days, in addition to imaging galaxies, star clusters and planets, the new observatory is planned to be used for gathering photometric as well as spectroscopic data for stars and star clusters as well as astrometric data for Asteroids and Comets.

Bright days (or rather, dark nights) await us in the future!

LET THE OBSERVATIONS, BEGIN!

M13, Globular Cluster

by Umair Asim
 
 

M13 Globular Cluster (NGC 6205), also known as Great Hercules Cluster, is a globular star cluster about 25,000 light years ( 2.36*10^17 km) away from us. It is first discovered by the famous Edmund Halley in 1714, who wrote:

"it shows itself to the naked eye when the sky is serene and the Moon absent"

William Herschel mentioned it in these words:

.. most beautiful cluster of stars, exceedingly compressed in the middle and very rich"

A distance of 25k light years and with the angular diameter of 23 arcminutes, the actual size of this cluster comes out about 150 light years. Towards the center, the star density is about 500 times more than our own solar neighbourhood. If there is a planet in the center of the cluster, the night sky would be blazing with literally thousands of stars much brighter than Sirius and Venus. 

M13 Cluster is also famous because, once we have sent a radio signal to supposed Aliens in this cluster!

Omega Centauri is the largest Globular Cluster in our Milyway Galaxy.. here is the comparison of M13 with Omega Centauri:

This image is a work in progress and I would be collecting more data of this cluster in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Equipment:

  1. Celestron C14
  2. SBIG ST9XE
  3. SBIG AO8
  4. Astrodon Luminance Filter
  5. Maxim DL
  6. Photoshop

2 hours of exposure, subs: 120 sec

Pervez Hoodbhoy lecture on 'Gravitational Waves'

by Umair Asim

As soon as LIGO team announced the detection of Gravitational Waves, the world of Science was taken by a storm of.. well.. waves and waves of excitement!

Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy is a highly esteemed and prominent scientist in Pakistan. We requested him to enlighten us about his monumental success of Science and Mathematics.

Hoodbhoy so kindly accepted our request and on 23rd February, 2016, he gave us a great presentation on 'Gravitational Waves, Discovery and Detection'.

Here is a complete recording of his lecture and Q&A session with members of Lahore Astronomical Society. The lecture is available both on Youtube and Vimeo.

Our Boiling Sun

by Umair Asim

Just like our earth, our sun's internal structure has different zones. Underneath the solar surface, which is called the Photospehere, is a 'Convection Zone'. This is where the internal material comes up, cools down and then falls back. Hence we see a boiling effect on the surface.

Here is the super magnified version of the same image.. every bright round dot is called a granule which is about 700-1000 km in size, having a life of about 10 minutes.

Click the image to see in full resolution

Triple Sunspots

by Umair Asim

So white light can show amazing details on the solar surface. Granulation, which is the 'boiling effect' due to convections zones on the surface, is clearly seen. But the most amazing sight is the sunspot.. and how about one not two but three of them together!

Took this image today, with CBSAP APO 127 mm refractor telescope attached with Imaging Source DMK21 CCD camera including a 2.5 powermate in between.

New equipment at Zeds

by Umair Asim

So i have been doing photometry with Astrodon V filter for sometime now. But i wanted to do more science at my observatory. 

For Photometry, next step was to invest in more filters. Recently ordered Astrodon Blue and Infrared Photometric filters and they arrived yesterday.

 

Parcel from UPS

Parcel from UPS

Astrodon Photometric Blue and Infrared Filters

Astrodon Photometric Blue and Infrared Filters

image.jpg

With these filters, i also got Bahtinov Mask from Farpoint which will be used for CBSAP 127mm APO refractor. 

Farpoint Bahtinov Mask

Farpoint Bahtinov Mask

These filters are now in place with their other cousins in SBIG CFW10 filter wheel. 

 

image.jpg

Now where is the clear sky? 

Hamari Kainaat - Episode 10

by Umair Asim

 "Hamarai Kainaat" episode 10:

In this episode, we talk about the new findings of exoplanets' possibility in globular clusters and what impact it can make on any possible alien life in the system.

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.