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16'' handmade telescope project

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The 16'' handmade telescope project has been completed successfully. Yesterday night, it has been used for the first time in a conventional workshop at astroGC.

This time it worked perfectly. A highlight of the telescope is it's rigidity and precision. We checked the collimation right after mounting it in Cruz de San Antonio (Gran Canaria). The mirrors remained perfectly aligned despite of the route from Maspalomas. And they remained perfectly aligned while moving the telescope from zenith position to the horizon. This does not happen with this kind of telescope available on the market.

The rigidity of the structure, along with excellent quality of mirrors and focuser provided fantastic images of planets and deep sky objects. The Hercules globular cluster (M13) appeared very bright, clear and sharp. Most of our guests expressed a "Wow!" exclamation observing this massive cluster of stars.

For us this is the completion of a 2 years long project. We will try to use th…
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Bennu is a 60 million tons asteroid orbiting around the sun in the nearby of the Earth orbit. It is a potentially hazardous object.

Size of Benny compared to Playa del Inglés.
OSIRIS-REx is a spacecraft launched in 2016 to analyze Bennu asteroid and return sample to Earth. Bennu may contain important information about the origin of life on Earth. Moreover, knowing the physical and chemical properties of Bennu may come in help in the future if we want to intend a mission to mitigate an impact with the Earth. 

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft
After about 2 years travelling, OSIRIS-REx recently took a first photography of the asteroid and began the final approach to it. This will be in December.

Photography of Bennu, by OSIRIS-REx



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This picture has been taken yesterday, 29 September 2018 at Cruz de San Antonio. The bright planet on the left is Mars, Saturn is in the pine trees. Enjoy.



Equipment:

Camera: Nikon D5500Lens: Tokina SD 11-16 F2.8 (IF) DXII
Adjustments:

Diaphragm: f/2.8ISO 640 (only)Zoom 11mm (wide angle)Exposure: 25s


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The moon light faints the stars. If you want a good observation of the mikly way, or take a picture of it, the best is a no moon night. Nevertheless, the moon light when the sky is very clear can also help to take very nice night pictures.

This one has been taken the day before yesterday with an almost full moon (90%).

Equipment:

Camera: Nikon D5500Lens: Tokina SD 11-16 F2.8 (IF) DXII
Adjustments:

Diaphragm: f/2.8ISO 250 (yes, only 250)Zoom 11mm (wide angle)Exposure: 25s
The ISO is very low for a night picture. In my experience a high ISO produces noise that cannot be corrected later. The picture has been taken in RAW format. The JPG file has been extracted using RawTherapee.

The Milky Way is visible on the picture, up to the left pine tree. The light pollution from Mogan and Puerto Rico does not affect much. The picture has been take at Cruz de San Antonio (Gran Canaria). The telescope is a 16'' reflector dobsonian (handmade base).





Gaia space observatory shows the Milky Way's stars dancing

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Gaia is spacecraft sent by the European Space Agency (ESA) lauched in December 2013 in order to study star motions in our galaxy, the Milky Way.


Gaia spacecraft
In April, 2018 an important data release has been performed, including data of thousand of million of  stars detected by Gaia observatory. This data show not only positions but also velocities of 1.7 billion of stars.


Photo of the Milky Way taken from Mulato, Gran Canaria (astroGC)
Teresa Antoja, researcher at Barcelona university recently discovered an unexpected pattern within this stars. They are moving as the waves on the surface of water after a stone has been thrown.

According to this data, our galaxy suffered a near collision with a smaller galaxy in the last 300 or 1000 million of years. This could have been a close encounter with the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy, currently at 65 000 light years away from us. Sagittarius dwarf galaxy contains a few tens of million of stars and it is in the process of slowly being absorbed into …
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During last week, the Starlight monitor training took place in Gran Canaria island. This was aimed to give some basic knowledge about astronomy to whoever would like to show the Gran Canaria night sky being recognized as Starlight monitor. The Starlight organization is a foundation in which are participating some prestigious organizations such as UNESCO, World Organization of Tourism, International Astronomical Union and IAC (Canarian Institute of Astrophysics).


In February 2018, UNESCO declared part of Gran Canaria as a Starlight Destination in recognition of the high quality of its skies for star gazing.

The astroGC astronomy workshops always take place in the darkest places of the island, included in the Starlight recognition.

astroGC was represented in the monitor training and a temporary certificated has been issued.






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Here we go. First post on astroGC blog. Welcome to all of you. Here is a picture of a recent full moon, rising up from East. It has been taken from Cruz de San Antonio in South West of Gran Canaria island. The pine trees on the picture are 10 km away at Cruz Grande. The picture has been done using one of our 16'' x 1800mm telescopes with Ethos 8mm x 100º eyepiece and a Samsung mobile phone. Enjoy.