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Student Projects

Sunspot groups 2034 & 2032
Our sun is currently active with daily displays of sun spots and solar flares. This image, taken in the observatory on 04-18-14, shows sunspot groups 2034 (lower left) and 2032 (upper right). We used an 8" SCT telescope @ f/6.3 and Philips SPC900 webcam to gather images, and Registax software to stack 100 individual video frames. Good seeing conditions reveal the umbra and penumbra in the sunspots.

 Sunspot groups 2034 (lower left) and 2032 (upper right)       -Dean Drumheller, CSM Observatory

Lunar Eclipse
This first image of the 04-14-14 lunar eclipse was taken by student Daniel Agustinus with a Canon EOS T2i, and EF 70-300mm lens at F/4-5.6. As a bonus, the famous Spica in Virgo, appears to the lower right of the eclipsed moon.

"Since it was foggy i had the shutter speed at 3"2, F4.5 and iso at 200 using a tripod. I also had to use the timer to take a picture, or else my finger would make the picture blurry because of me pressing the camera."

Lunar Eclipse Agustinus
              Total lunar eclipse and Spica   -Student Daniel Agustinus

Lunar Eclipse
This 04-14-14 lunar eclipse image was taken by CSM Astronomy professor Darryl Stanford, just after totality during a moment of clear skies.
Camera: Sony DSC-HX300, ISO 1000, f 6.3 at 3 seconds. Image was taken on campus.

Learn about upcoming lunar eclipses.

04-14-14 Eclipse
  4-14-14 total lunar eclipse, just after totality.   CSM campus.     Image: Professor Darryl Stanford

SN2014J Spectra
Here we are posting low resolution spectra, beginning 01-24-14UT, of Type 1a supernova SN2014J in M82.  Data from Alex Chassy, Jackelin Amorin, Ali Emami, Dmitry Ryashchentsev, and Dean Drumheller show changes in SN2014J expansion rate, measured from the Si II (Silicon) line. (rest wavelength 6355A)

Data is dark subtracted.  ~ 8 five minute exposures are median combined. Spectra is taken thru our 140mm TEC refractor, and ST-10 CCD camera, with 200 RO diffraction grating filter. Dispersion ~16 Ang/Pixel.  All processing with RSpec.

We observed the following expansion rates:  (observed wavelength - standard wavelength) / standard wavelength * c 

-13,700 km/s on 012414 UT
  -9,900 km/s on 020514 UT
  -8,600 km/s on 022014 UT
  -8,054 km/s on 022114 UT
  -7,100 km/s on 030814 UT  (distinct change noticed in Si II region)
  -6,700 km/s on 031214 UT
  -6,085 km/s on 031414 UT  (distinct "fill" of Si II region, expansion rate is slowing)
  -6,200 km/s on 031914 UT 
  -7,800 km/s on 032514 UT  (expansion rate increase observed, Si II region may be disappearing)

"We observe distinct changes in the Si II region of SN2014J spectra in the form of a possible shock wave, beginning 03-08-14 UT. This shock wave is slowing down due to expansion of the supernova ejecta, which in turn results in lower density, and a temperature drop. CSM students will continue monitoring this exciting event. Watch for further posts!"      -CSM Astronomy Department

SN2014J Emami

2014j drumheller

Chassy 2014j

Amorin 2014j

SN2014J Drumheller

Dima 2014j

Emami 2014J

J Amorin 2014J

SN2014J Chassy

This image shows host galaxy M82 and SN2014J spectra (between yellow bars).

2014J  M82
    RSpec Screen shot of SN2014J spectra.

Supernova 2014J Photo
The astronomy world is observing Supernova 2014J in galaxy M82, about 12mly away. Discovered by Steve J. Fossey, SN2014J is brightening at this posting, and is currently ~ mag. 10. This image was taken by Special Projects student Alex Chassy on 1-22-14 with our AP130 refractor. CSM imaging students will do follow up observations and imaging….stay tuned.

M82 SN
   SN2014J in M82    Alex Chassy, CSM Observatory

M42 Orion Nebula
Student Ali Emami took this image of M42, a diffuse nebula located in Orion's belt. Ali joined twelve, 300 second exposures taken thru a 130mm refractor and ST2000 CCD camera.  Processing done with CCDStack.

Emami M42
   M42  Ali Emami, CSM Observatory

BU Vul
Type G0 10th magnitude star BU Vul, is an Algol type (detached) eclipsing binary in the constellation Vulpecula. Using Maxim DL photometry tool, student Ali Emami created this light curve (Excel) using 60 data points from images taken 11-08-13 UT. The ephemeris generators at Rolling Hills Observatory and Mt. Suhora Astronomical Observatory were used for target selection.

bu vul
   BU Vul eclipsing binary   -Ali Emami, CSM Observatory

M16 Eagle Nebula
M16 lies 7,000 ly away in the constellation Serpens, and is most famous for its Pillars of Creation region. Student Steve Byers created this image from 10, 300 second exposures taken 10-17-13 through our 20" RC telescope.

   M16 Eagle Nebula   Steve Byers, CSM Observatory

Veil Nebula
This small section (15.6 x 23.4 arcmin) of the Eastern Veil Nebula was imaged on 11-5-13 by Special Projects student Alex Chassy. The Veil lies ~1,400 ly away in the constellation Cygnus. Fifteen, 300 second exposures taken with our 20" RC and SBIG ST6303 camera, were combined to create this detailed image.

Veil Nebula
  Veil Nebula   Student Alex Chassy, CSM Observatory

Quasar 3C 273 Red Shift

Using the program RSpec, CSM Observatory recently measured the redshift of distant quasar  3C 273 ~2.5 bly away in Virgo. (3C 273 is also a blazar) Data was taken thru our 140mm TEC f/7 refractor with ST-10 CCD camera the local night of 7-9-13. We used a low resolution Star Analyzer SA-100 diffraction grating and 4x300 second images were median combined, for analysis in RSpec.

H-alpha emission line was observed at 7589A (standard H-alpha = 6563A) to yield a redshift, z of .1563. (observed wavelength - standard wavelength / standard wavelength). 3C 273's redshift, z is listed as .1583. Thanks to RSpec developer Tom Field for help in establishing this procedure, to be used by students during Fall semester.

3C 273
 Quasar 3C 273, Rspec graph       Dean Drumheller, CSM Observatory

NGC 4565
This image of edge on galaxy NGC 4565 in Coma Berenices was taken by Alex Chassy with our 20" telescope. 4565 lies 42 mly away, is magnitude 10.4, and contains more than 200 globular clusters. Larger image

ngc 4565
  NGC 4565   Alex Chassy, CSM Observatory  

M3 RR Lyrae variables
This 2 image video of globular cluster M3 by student Peter Roomian, reveals about a dozen RR Lyrae type variable stars. Their pulsation periods range from ~5 to 15 hours. These short period variables make excellent standard candles for measuring distances out to 2.5 million light years. Peter imaged M3 with our AP130 refractor and ST2000 camera on loan from Dr. Ken Lum of San Mateo County Astronomical Society.

M51 Whirlpool Galaxy
Just a faint smudge in the eyepiece, M51 reveals great detail in long exposure CCD images. Special Projects student Ali Emami combined 24, five minute exposures of M51 taken with our 20" telescope, to create this image. The Whirlpool lies ~ 23 mly away in the constellation Canes Venatici.  Larger Image

   M51    Ali Emami, CSM Observatory

Comments welcome

Student Resources

NASA Julian Date converter
CSM telescope/camera information here.
RSpec real time spectroscopy here