South African Skies                   

These images were obtained from Prince Albert, a village in South Africa (33S, 22E) within the Karoo. The skies
there are awe inspiring with a typical limiting naked-eye magnitude of 6.5 and are so dark that the zodiacal light
is considered a source of light pollution! Unlike in the U.K., the majority of nights are totally cloud free and the
humidity is low, reducing dewing of optics to an absolute minimum. Prince Albert is a deep sky paradise and has
good facilities for visitors. Click the link to: Prince Albert (South Africa) site.

For selected  images below, clicking on the image or title will take you to a larger version.




Scorpius setting in Prince Albert, South Africa


 Scorpius in the Milky-Way



 
Zodiacal light behind Karoo wind pump
with Mars and meteor or Iridium flash above




CCD imaging with SXV-H9 camera


25cm Meade LX200 SCT images ...



 
Centaurus A
HHGB stack of 31 x 4min H-alpha, 9 x 4min G and 7 x 4min B; SXV-H9 CCD
2x2 binned, 25cm Meade LX200 SCT @ F6.3



 
Eta Carinae
40min exposure on Elite Chrome 200 film through 25cm Meade LX200 SCT @ F6.3





NGC 2736 'The Pencil'
HHGB stack of 27 x 4min H-alpha, 6 x 4min G and 5 x 4min B; SXV-H9 CCD
2x2 binned, 25cm Meade LX200 SCT @ F6.3




90mm Orion Short Tube Refractor images ...


NGC 7293 'The Helix'
HRGB stack of 16 x 4min H-alpha 1x1 binned, RGB 2 x 4min 2x2 binned; SXV-H9 CCD
90mm Orion Short Tube refractor @ F5.6




M16 'The Eagle'
HHGB stack of 16 x 4min H-alpha 1x1 binned, GB 2 x 4min 2x2 binned SXV-H9 CCD
90mm Orion Short Tube refractor @ F5.6




M8 'The Lagoon'
HHGB stack of 9 x 4min H-alpha 1x1 binned and 5 x 4min 2x2 binned, GB 2 x 4min
2x2 binned;  SXV-H9 CCD 90mm Orion Short Tube refractor @ F5.6



M17 'The Omega'
HRGB stack of 9 x 4min H-alpha 1 x 1  binned, RGB 1 x 4min 2x2 binned SXV-H9 CCD
90mm Orion Short Tube refractor @ F5.6




M83
HRGB stack of 25 x 4min H-alpha 1 x 1  binned, RGB 3 x 4min 2x2 binned SXV-H9 CCD
90mm Orion Short Tube refractor @ F5.6



 NGC1300      NGC1365




Omega Centauri
RGB stack of 25 x 10s R, 22 x 10s G, 24 x 10s B 1 x 1 binned SXV-H9 CCD
90mm Orion Short Tube refractor @ F5.6



Gem Cluster
LRGB stack of 17 x 10s L, 14 x 10s R, 15 x 10s G, 12 x 10s B 1 x 1 binned SXV-H9 CCD
90mm Orion Short Tube refractor @ F5.6




Conventional 35mm SLR photography with Elitechrome 200 reversal film

25cm Meade LX200 SCT @ F6.3



The Gem Cluster





Omega Centauri




135mm lens @ F3.5



  Scutum Star Cloud                 Eta Carinae               




 Pipe Nebula                           Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae


 Lagoon to Eagle                    The Sting of the Scorpion




 The False Cross                       The Southern Cross



 The Norma Arm of our Milky-Way Galaxy



Antares region    



  Large Magellanic Cloud




 Small Magellanic Cloud and 47 Tuc





 
Sagittarius




Sting of Scorpius

50mm Lens @ F2.8



The Southern Cross and its surroundings


  Scorpius               Eta Carinae and Gum


                                   

The above three images are exposures of approximately 90 secs, 5 mins and 15 mins of the region from alpha
and beta Centauri through Crux to the Eta Carinae nebula. All three are clickable to larger versions. Which is
your favourite version?


Orion



 Eta Carinae, Gum nebula, Canopus



 Alpha/Beta Centauri, Crux, Carina



 Crux and 'Pointers'



28mm Lens

Milky Way to Canopus



Orion and Sirius rising



19mm Lens

 Our Milky-Way Galaxy


  Mars atop the Zodiacal Light  







 Albert Jansen in his observatory

In 2002 and 2003 I enjoyed the magnificent glittering southern skies from Prince Albert, South Africa.
This was made possible by Albert Jansen and his wife Ellie who provided wonderful support and friendship.
Very sadly, Albert died on 13th June 2004. He leaves me and other visiting astronomers from around the world
with the gift of wonderful memories.


Homemade Hertzsprung-Russell Diagrams!

'The Jewel Box' Open Cluster

Microsoft Excel Chart
Notice the 'Main Sequence' band and the isolated red giant star over to the upper right.
'The Jewel Box' is a young cluster and so contains just one evolved giant star.


The Globular Cluster M4


Microsoft Excel Chart
Notice the Asymptotic Giant Branch extending diagonally towards upper right and the Horizontal Branch
stretching to the left around a G magnitude of 13.

The above crude H-R diagrams were obtained with nonstandard filters!

H-R diagrams traditionally plot some measure of the Luminosity of the star up the y-axis and some measure
of the surface temperature of the star along the x-axis. In my attempt, I plotted the approximate magnitude
of the star through a Green filter as a measure of the star's Luminosity. The surface temperature of a star is
related to its colour (or more precisely its spectrum). The redder the star, the cooler its surface. By subtracting
the magnitude of each star measured through Blue and Green filters for The Jewel Box (Blue and Red for M4),
I got a rough measure of the 'colour index' or surface temperature of the star. For example, a star that shines
at magnitude 12 through a blue filter and 13 through green must be more blue than green. So, blue hot stars
have negative B-G values on the graph and are found towards the left.