Asteroid (617)Patroclus Occultation

Asteroid (617)Patroclus occulted a 9.6-magnitude star in Aries (TYC-0646-00730-1) on the morning of Oct 21, 2013 as seen from Makemie Woods. Although the early ephemerides showed the occultation path would stay to the south of the Makemie Woods observatory, the northern boundary of the shadow swath was very close to the position of the observatory. In spite of the 17-day old Moon shining only 11 degrees away and the early morning hour, Bird and Mark decided to monitor the star for occultation events since the weather forecast was excellent and the target elevation was very favorable (65 deg elevation).
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Comet ISON (C/2012 S1)

Mark took this early morning picture of Comet ISON on 9/29/2013 at the relatively dark skies of Makemie Woods using the 12" f/10 ACF and his Canon 5D. This is a stack of 14 30-second exposures and the "bright" star at the bottom of the picture is 9.06 magnitude. Currently it is about the same distance away from the Sun as Mars as it heads inward to its rendezvous with the Sun on 11/28/2013 when it will pass only twice the Earth-Moon distance from the Sun's surface.
 

Mission LADEE takes off from Wallops for the Moon

The bright and broken arc in the lower center is LADEE on its way to the Moon, streaking behind the facility where the Apollo astronauts learned how to land on its surface. The Lunar Lander at Langley has since been a place where landing loads and airplane crashes are analyzed, and lately the addition of a large pool (just outside of the picture) allows splash-down studies of new capsule designs.
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Messier Gallery

Mark has completed capturing all of the Messier objects for our first extensive photo gallery!
Click here to explore the Messier Gallery
 

Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4) 3/12/2013

After many months of looking at images taken by observers in the Southern Hemisphere, our chance has come to witness this comet. After a couple of evenings with clouds hanging on the western horizon we finally got to see it for ourselves. Visit our Comet PanSTARRS (C2011/L4) gallery often to see the latest views we've captured.
 

Star Trails 2/9/2013

The dark skies of Makemie Woods is the subject of this startrail photo created from 185 1-minute exposures
spanning 197 minutes. Follow this link to learn more.
 

Jupiter-Moon Appulse 1/21/2013

22:55 EST on 7/25/2012 with Canon 60D, 127mm f/7.5 APO refractor, 1/100th sec at ISO 100