||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.
||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
||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 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 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
||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.
||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
||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.