We had a nice AAA crowd at the UACNJ facility in Jenny Jump State Park on Saturday night, June 30th. I counted nine members: Ed Rojas, Samir Patel, Gowrishankar L, Will Field, Bhaswan Kurra, Jeff Williams, Tony Hoffman, Julian Parks and myself. Just after 8pm, I presented the evening public talk about night sky photography. At 9pm, a small crew of AAA photographers were busy at work. We witnessed (and photographed) an Iridium flare about 9:25pm. Venus, Jupiter and Saturn were up as it got dark. The gibbous moon made a dramatic entrance as an orange disk rising on the eastern horizon. Mars followed not far behind. Samir has some dramatic shots of Saturn and Mars with his C11 set up and ZWO 224MC camera. Gowri and Tony managed to get the Iridum flare in the northeast. Gowri also tried out his new mount, a iOptron CEM60, purchased at NEAF, which is the same mount Samir uses. Here is the work this group produced from that night.
Comet 46P/Wirtanen is making a swing through the inner solar system and AAA Astrophotographers were out trying their best to photograph the faint orb. It began to show up in photos as more than a green dot in mid-November to those with large telescopes. While advertised as about magnitude 5 or less, the diffuse comet wasn’t really visible to the naked eye.
For most of its 25 years in space, the Hubble Space Telescope has been astounding people all around the world with its beautiful images. Its scientific instruments have revolutionized our understanding of the universe and its history. But this is not an article about the Hubble Space Telescope; rather someone we have to thank for clearing the pathway for its success, and many other contributions she has made to NASA and understanding of astronomy.