George Observatory Picture Gallery

Below are some samples of images taken with the 36" telescope at George Observatory using a CCD as the detector.

Object Date & Observers Description
Asteroid 7077 Shermanschultz 8/20/99 UT Hartigan This 18th magnitude asteroid, named after Macalester College astronomer Sherman Schultz, was captured in the pre-dawn hours as it moved slowly through the constellation Aries. Motion of the asteroid can be seen against the background star field during the 20 minute interval between these exposures. Asteroid 7077 was about 2.7 AU from the Sun and 2.4 AU from the Earth when this image was obtained.
Comet Forbes 8/20/99 UT Hartigan This image of comet Forbes, a comet with a period of 6.1 years, was taken when the object was about 14th magnitude in the early morning sky in the constellation Pisces. Forbes was just beyond the orbit of Mars at about 1.8AU from the Sun (0.98AU away from the Earth) at this time. A faint tail extends to the upper right of the comet.
Jupiter 11/4/98 UT Hartigan This image of Jupiter was combined from a red and a green image taken a few minutes apart. The Great Red Spot appears near the upper center of the image (doesn't look too red here!). The exposures were each 0.2 seconds, and were taken through clouds. The image was later enhanced using `unsharp masking'.
Comet Giacobini-Zinner 11/5/98 UT Hartigan Comet Giacobini-Zinner, responsible for the Draconid meteor shower sometimes visible in October, was about 1 astronomical unit from both the Earth and the Sun, and about magnitude 9 when this image was taken. The comet moved noticably with respect to the stellar background during the 20 minutes or so it took to obtain the three images of 15 seconds exposure apiece. The final image was made by shifting the cometary images to align, and then placing this cometary image on the stellar background.
Giacobini-Zinner Movie 11/5/98 UT Hartigan A short movie constructed from 3 images of Comet Giacobini-Zinner. The motion of the comet with respect to the stars is evident between the frames of the movie, which were taken about 10 minutes apart.
Spectrum of Jupiter 11/5/98 UT Hartigan This spectrum of Jupiter was taken using the spectrograph on loan from Sam Houston State University with a 15 second guided exposure. The dark horizontal bands across the spectrum are absorption lines that arise in the solar spectrum and from gases within Jupiter's atmosphere and the Earth's atmosphere. The hash marks to either side of the spectrum are from a neon lamp used as a comparison. The slit of the spectrograph crossed both bright zones and dark belts on Jupiter, as seen by the vertical bright and dark lines in the spectrum. A similar spectrum of Jupiter's inner moon Io, exposure 2 minutes, was also taken on the same night.
Globular Cluster M15 11/5/98 UT Hartigan Globular clusters surround the center of our galaxy, and were one of the first ways astronomers discovered that the Sun was not near the galactic center. This is an unfiltered image of one of these clusters, and shows a dense core of stars.
The Orion Nebula 11/11/98 UT Hartigan These two representations of a single image of the Orion Nebula was taken through a red filter with a 20 second exposure. The bright blob at the center is the Trapezium, a group of four massive, young stars that heats the surrounding gas and dust in this region of star formation. The dark bay at the top of the image and the fainter extensions of the nebula are best seen when the contrast is adjusted accordingly, as in the image at right.
The Crab Nebula 11/11/98 UT Hartigan This is a true color image of the Crab Nebula, a remnant of a supernova that exploded in 1054 AD. An extremely dense object only a few tens of km in size called a neutron star visible near the center of the nebula is all that remains of the massive star that exploded. The neutron star emits a series of pulses as it rotates, and is called a pulsar.