Enchanted Skies


The Big Dipper (imaged from 'Blue Mesa', NM)

The Big Dipper The Big Dipper


Object Information                                            Imaging Details

The Big Dipper is an asterism (not a constellation) located in the Northern Sky. It is easily one of the most recognizable star formations in the night sky as it slowly revolves around Polaris. The stars comprising the Big Dipper are bright and easy to see from even light polluted locations in the center of most cities. Mousing over the map shows the names of the stars in the asterism.

Of special interest: 1) a line drawn from Merak through Duhbe passes very close to the North Star (Polaris); 2) Mizar and Alcor are seperated by about 10 arc-minutes (roughly one third of the width of the full moon) and are a good test for your eyesight; 3) all of the stars, except Duhbe are blue-white main sequence stars - Duhbe is a red giant.

I imaged this object at ASLC's 'Blue Mesa' dark sky site. It was a very windy night, so I decided to do a little wide field imaging.

Clicking the above image will bring up an image with a higher resolution and somewhat wider field of view.



Canon 300D (type 1 modified) mounted to NexStar 11
Misc. Optics:
Canon 28-135mm f/3.5 lens (set at f/5)
26 x 3 minutes @ ISO 800
Through NexStar @ f/5 using GuideDog and a ToUCam.
Images converted to tifs using Photoshop CS3. Nebulosity used to stack the images. Additional processing (curves, sharpening) with PS CS3. Spikes added using Noel Carboni's Astronomy Tools.

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Enchanted Skies - Astrophotography by Rich Richins (all images copyright, Rich Richins)