Friday, January 30, 2009

NGC 5457: By Haileyesus Workneh

Messier 101 (M101, NGC 5457) was discovered by Pierre Méchain on March 27, 1781. The distance of M101 has been determined by the measurement of Cepheid variables with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994/95 to be about 24 +/- 2 million light years, by the HST H0 Key Project Team. Three supernovae have been discovered in M101: The first one, SN 1909A, appeared on January 26, 1909. The second supernova 1951H was of type II, occurred in September 1951 amd the third, SN 1970G, also type II, was discovered on July 30, 1970.<READ MORE>

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Crab Nebula: Abiy Getachew

The crab Nebula is one of the most observed remnant of a supernova explosion.It is located in the constellation Taurus which is at a distance where light takes 6500 years to travel from the nebula to here in the earth(or 6500 light years away from the earth) and it is 11 light years across.The picture is taken with the AP 180 Scheduler telescope at Tzec Maun Observatory, New Mexico on the night of Jan 24,2009.

M42: Orion Nebula by Abiy Getachew

The orion nebula (M42) is one of the brightest nebula that can be observed in with unaided eye because of the bright light coming out as a result of strong star formation in the system.It is located at a distance 1270 light years from Earth and 24 light years across and found with other nebulae in the orion complex. The picture is taken using Tzec Maun Observatory in New Mexico on the night of January 21,2009.

M79: Globular Cluster by Abiy Getachew

Messier 79(M79) is a globular cluster,a group of stars that are born relatively at the same time.It is located at a distance of 41,000 light years from the earth.The picture is taken on the night of January 28,2009.The straight line in the picture is the interception of the telescope's field of view by a satellite.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rossette Neubla (NGC 2237): Adadu, Leila, Lauryn, Laieke and Abebe

The Rosette Nebula is a large emission nebula located in the constellation of Monoceros. The cluster of stars at the center of the Rosette, collectively known as NGC 2244, are super-hot O-type stars which provide the ultraviolet radiation which causes the gas of the nebula to glow. <<READ MORE>>

NGC3115: By Lauryn, Leila, Laieke, Adadu, Abebe (NC-USA)

NGC 3115 is also known as the "Spindle Galaxy." It is a lenticular, a "spiral galaxy without spiral structure", i.e. a smooth disk galaxy, where stellar formation has stopped because the interstellar matter was used up. <<READ MORE>>

Saturday, January 24, 2009

M47: First Light From Ethiopia

Maheder Hailesillasie(Yekolotemari): A second year engineering student at Adama University took this picture using AU-E180 Refractor, located at Tzec Maun Observatories, Western Australia. The picture picts the Open cluster Messier 47 (M47, NGC 2422). It is a a coarse, bright cluster which can be glimpsed with the naked eye under good conditions as a dim nebulosity. <<READ MORE>>

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

NGC3372 by Caesar Lockhart

The Great Nebula in Carina, the Eta Carinae Nebula, or NGC 3372) is a large bright nebula that surrounds several open clusters of stars. Eta Carinae and HD 93129A, two of the most massive and luminous stars in our Milky Way galaxy, are among them. The nebula lies at an estimated distance between 6,500 and 10,000 light years from Earth. It is located in the constellation of Carina. The nebula contains multiple O-type stars. This nebula is one of the largest H II regions in the Milky Way. It has a visual magnitude of 1.0. <READ WIKI HERE>

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Horse Head Nebula (Hail to the Chief): Abebe Kebede

This picture was take using Tzec Maun Robotic Telescope Located in Western Australia. The nebula is a dark globule of dust and non-luminous gas, obscuring the light coming from behind. It belongs to a huge cloud of gas and dust situated 1,600 light years away in the direction of constellation Orion. <READ MORE>

Important information for Students by Glen Reagan

Since telescope observing time is limited it might be best for students to pair up for accounts.  I also think that you will get the best initial results for images if you use the one shot color telescopes with DDP (digital processing done at the time of observing) and download your color jpg files.  No further processing at your end will need to be done.  A detailed movie that shows how this is done can be downloaded from:

The Student Portal  ( ) is the main entry into accessing telescopes, scheduling telescopes, noting current telescope activity, and checking the weather.

New Mexico telescopes are described here:

Australian telescopes are described here:

The FSQ-106 is also a great telescope to try out tri-color imaging for composing images because the raw images are fairly clean and the tracking is auto guiding needed.  Attached is a composed color jpg of the Rosette nebula taken with the FSQ-106 using 15 min exposure times in R,G, and B which I took last night.  A larger image is possible if you use the zoom feature during image taking.

The web site for downloading SalsaJ and Align RGB planes plugin is:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to Use Tzec Telescopes (Video)

This is the best video for you to learn how to use the telescopes (LINK HERE)

News#2 NCAT-Tzec Teams

You will be in one of these categories. Please collaborate. Particularly those in Ethiopia should put their resources together to get something done.

Astronomy requires a lot of patience. Once you begin learning it and undestand it, you will never be the same person again.

NCAT-Tzec-Ethiopia (NTE)

1) NCAT-Tzec-AAU (NTA)
2) NCAT-Tzec-MU: Mekele University
3) NCAT-Tzec-Au: Adama University
4) NCAT-Tzec-AMU: Arbaminch University
5) NCAT-Tzec-BDU (NTD): Bahir Dar University
6) NCAT-Tzec-AAHS (NTAS): Addis Ababa Area High Schools
7) NCAT-Tzec-BDHS (NTBS): Bahir Dar Area High Schools
8) NCAT-Tzec-MUS (NTMUS): Mekele Area High Schools
9) NCAT-Tzec-Gojjam (NTG): Gojjam area High Schools
10)NCAT-Tzec-Arsi (NTAI): Arsi Area high schools and colleges


11) NCAT-Tzec-Guilford (NTG): Guilford County Schools
12)NCAT-Tzec-HBCU (NTH): Historically Black Colleges and Universities
13)NCAT-Tzec-Australia (NTAU): Ethiopian/African Users in Australia


14)NCAT-Tzec-Europe (NTF): Ethiopia/African Users in Europe
15)NCAT-Tzec-Canada (NTC): Ethiopian/African Users in Canada
16)NCAT-Tzec-USA (NTU): Ethiopian/African Users in the USA
17)NCAT-Tzec-Africa (NTAF): Ethiopian/African Users in Africa

Abebe Kebede
NCAT-Tzec Team Leader

Autoguiding: By Glen Regan

After you have selected your object and slewed the telescope to it, I would do an "autofocus function" (usually defaults to the Clear filter). Also do a Center function to make sure you have the right target.

Then I would start the Tzec Maun autoguiding. First click on the "inactive autoguide" to start the function. Select an exposure time of 8 or 10 sec, then an aggressive setting of 6 with 0 sec delay. Make sure the "Clear" filter is selected. Start exposure. When the guide window opens after exposure, select a bright star for guiding with your cursor. When that star has been centered for guiding, close the window. The telescope is now being guided.

You can now take images individually or with the series function. Determine what filters you will use and select for each exposure. ALL image exposures will also switch the filter for guiding to the selected filter as well. Therefore what star appeared bright in the Clear filter usually appears bright in the RGB or RGB-Bissell filters. On the other hand the narrow band filters (Ha, OIII, SII) can make the guide star appear faint and the guider may not be as accurate in its function. This is the reason I choose a longer initial exposure time (say 8-10 sec) for the guider.

Attached is a quickly-processed H alpha image of IC 443 (Jellyfish nebula) taken tonight which had a 10 min exposure time using the BigMak Tzec Maun telescope.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

News#1: Technical issues using robotic telescopes

Australia was cloudy today. The Observatories were closed early. Several students were online today. So far only pictures from Brian Shuft (NCAT), Abebe (NCAT) were submitted. Several people were online. Students from Africa, please take pictures and let's see how the sky looks from your perspectives. the NCAT-Txec Team is now 33 strong. The team can only be strong when we use the allocated times. Some problems were reported

1. One student was confused about time: Please remember that when you schedule you will know that the time is indicated in two ways. In Universal Stime and Your local time. Also reminder is sent to your team leader (me) and yourself.

2. There were errors reported: These are not your faults. These errors are computer errors when that happens go back to your sky chart and try again. Also when you are trying to take a picture of an object that is too low, or near the horizon, you will be told you can not take the picture because the object is too low. What will be very helpful is simply to use the search target feature. In this case the computer will display only objects that can statisfy the technical conditions of the telescope. Then you select from the list and command the telescope to slew to the location. Then the rest is history.

The following links may help you understand time (These are not mine)

Systems of time
Time Zones and Universal Time


2 Pallas Asteroid: Abebe Kebede

Pallas is one of the largest asteroids and is located in the main asteroid belt. It was discovered, by astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers on March 28, 1802. Pallas was at first considered a planet, as were the other early asteroids 1 Ceres, 3 Juno, and 4 Vesta, until the discovery of many additional asteroids led to their re-classification. Lots of writing on WiKi (Read Here)

Friday, January 16, 2009

NGC2141: by Avery

NGC 2141 (Cr 79) Open Cluster in Orion
Located at: RA 06 hours 02 minutes 56 seconds; Dec +10 degrees 26 minutes 48 seconds Size: 10'; Magnitude: 9.4; Class: I 2 r
Lots of images are located here (Read)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Locations of visitors to this page


Comment on this picture: NGC3521
It looks like light is coming in from the side. This is a classic example of what that does. Even though the light source is off to the side, and not in the image, it still creates an illuminated area As you can see, the shape of the illuminated area is like a conic section. That supports the idea that the source of the light is outside the field of view. Baffles inside the telescope are intended to stop this. They do reduce it. But do not eliminate it. There is usually a strategy about being so many degrees AWAY from the source of illumination. That can help when the moon is out, or when the sun is coming up.

P.S. -Also there is a question of getting more exposure for NGC3521. This is typically done by taking 5, 10 or 20 images, and stacking them together. This improves the signal to noise. And it gives more information of the dim object to work with.
Then POST-PROCESSING is essential. A deep space object is NEVER done, when the images are complete.
That is less than have the time and skill involved. Specialized software is mandatory. This increases the visibility of dim objects. However, this only applies to "pretty pictures". Scientific images are data. And the data is not manipulated to make it look prettier.