with Paul Mortfield
The Backyard Astronomer
Inspired by my wife to photograph this local galaxy.
Bay Area Lightning Storm, Sept 8, 1999
Mortfield's Telescope buying tips.
On Oct 17, 2008, I chanced upon a previously undiscovered chunk of rock roaming
our solar system. I used my remote telescope to capture the images, and looking closely at the frames noticed an
object moving against the starry background. I re-acquired it the next night to get more data points and submitted
these to the Minor Planet Center at Harvard.
My backyard observatory is called the Betelgeuse Bar & Grill, built by the wonderful people at SkyShed and here are the current sky conditions for observers in my part of Ontario. This sky clock is produced by Canadian friend Attilla Danko
The biggest baddest flare ever on record..!!
Nov 4 - Well you'd think that we'd seen it all from AR10486, guess not. I just happened to be checking Xray flux counts from the GOES satellite and noticed an event was on the rise. Well it just kept going and going getting higher passing the X10 mark caught last week. It was so strong that it saturated the detector on the spacecraft for 11 minutes locked with a reading at X17.4. The flare was finally labelled as an X42, yes the biggest on record. The only good news is that the flare was pointed away from Earth. Info about my radio telescope that detected the flare.
David's Death Star
In 2005 10yr old David Bodirsky noticed a "moving star" on one of my images. I was looking at the expansion of this supernova remnant, when he discovered a faint star with proper motion which we'll soon catalog with the name he's chosen above. You can see the motion (click on the image for larger version), when we blink between the new image and onetaken over 50 years ago. Initial measurements show the motion for RA: +0.024 arcsec/yr and DEC: -0.067 arcsec/yr. This is slow compared to Barnard's star, but definitely noticeable over a much longer timeframe. Congrats David, well done..
(p.s. the very bright star in the upper right is a known star of high proper motion, David's star is much fainter)
Sunset Partial Eclipse July 30, 2000
Observing from the top of Mt. Hamilton above San Jose I was able to capture the sun setting with a bite out of its right side. The last time we had this opportunity was 10 years earlier on July 29, 1990. (click on the images for larger view) The first image (top left) was published in the November 2000 issue of Sky & Telescope Magazine.
All Photos unless otherwise stated Copyright 1996-2009 © Paul Mortfield. All rights reserved.