Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium

Holcomb Observatory Images

Also see AS102 Intro Astronomy Images taken by students.
Assorted Messier Images.

Head The coma structure of Comet Hale-Bopp. The spiral pattern is the result of jets and the rotation of the comet nucleus. This image is taken with the 6-inch refractor riding piggyback on the 38-inch Cassegrain. The image is a combination of six, 1 second exposures taken with the SBIG ST-6 CCD camera between 8:30 and 9:00 PM EST, March 23, 1997 at Holcomb Observatory. The image has been enhanced to bring out the structure.
Cometyel Comet Hale-Bopp as seen from Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium. This image was taken through a 3-inch "spotting" telescope riding piggyback on the primary 38-inch Cassegrain. The image is a 5 second exposure taken with a SBIG ST-6 CCD camera at 5:48 AM EST on March 16, 1997. This comet was rather dusty which gave it its yelowish-white tail that was easily visible from large cities.
Inside Comet Hyakutake as seen from Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium on March 26, 1996. This is a 30 second exposure taken at 10:00 EST. The 38-inch Cassegrain telescope is in the foreground. Polaris (the North Star) can be seen to the lower right of the comet. This comet had a high gas to dust ratio that gave it its blue ion tail seen in the image. Comets are the left over debris from the formation of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago. Most of this comets reside in the Oort Cloud. The Oort cloud is nearly ten thousand times further from the Sun that the Earth is. Periodically one of the comets from the Oort cloud will venture into the inner solar system. Comet Hyakutake was such a comet.
Mars Large Mars as seen through the 38-inch Cassegrain telescope at Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium. The 0.05 second exposure was taken at 10:12 PM EST on March 23, 1997. The large dark marking at the center is Syrtis Major. The brighter area at the bottom of the disk is water-ice clouds lying above the giant impact basin Hellas. At the time of the exposure Mars subtended an angle of 14 arcseconds. The smallest details seen in the image are about the size of the state of Indiana.
M13 Large M13 as imaged through the 6-inch refractor. This image is a 30 second exposure using the SBIG ST-6 CCD camera. The cluster contains more than five hundred thousand stars. The faintest stars seen are 16th magnitude. M13 is 25,000 light years from the Sun. In the dense center of these clusters stars are so closely packed that they can occasionally collide with one another. There are about 150 globular clusters in our Milky Way galaxy. They are among the oldest objects in the Galaxy with ages in excess of 10 billion years.
M421 Sec The Orion nebula (M42) as seen through the 6-inch refractor. This image is a 5 second exposure using the SBIG ST-6 CCD camera. The Orion nebula is a large star forming region roughly 1500 light years from the Sun. The nebula is illuminated by four hot, bright stars at its center. These four stars are known as the trapezium and can easily be seen in a small telescope.
Ring The famous ring nebula M57 is often regarded as the prototype of a planetary nebula, and a showpiece in the northern hemisphere summer sky. The nebula is between 1000 and 3000 light years from the Sun. Recent research has confirmed that it is most probably,actually a ring (torus) of bright light-emitting material surrounding its central star. At the very center of the nebula the dying star, a white dwarf, can be seen. The nebula is the expanding outer layers of this dying star and the remaining core is the white dwarf. These nebula are called "planetary" nebula because early astronomers thought they resembled planets when viewed through a telescope.
Saturn nebula The Saturn Nebula using a SGIG ST-6 CCD on the 38-inch Cassegrain. This is also a planetary nebula. Once again the white dwarf can be seen at the center of the nebula. It is roughly 3000 light years from the Sun.