The video camera that provided updated images of the area surrounding Niteskys Observatory has failed. The camera model is no longer available and a replacement for it with similar functionality is cost prohibitive at this time.
Those images may be replaced by All Sky Camera images as I get time.
Posted on June 22, 2019 by Niteskys Photography
An image of M67 taken at the Niteskys Observatory was published in the June 2019 issue of Astronomy Magazine.
The image can be seen on page 45 in the article "The Outer Limits Universe".
Posted on May 6, 2019 by Niteskys Photography
As some of you may have noticed, the All Sky Camera page has been blank since October 2018. The old camera had died after many years of service and I could not find a direct replacement for it. This gave me the opportunity to build a better camera than before with more resolution and time exposure capabilities.
I settled on a ZWO-ASI120MC coupled to a Arecont Vision 1.55mm F2.0 lens. I reused the Arecont Vision dome hardware from the old camera and put it on a plastic electrical box just big enough to hold a Extreme USB Rex. AllSkEye software runs the data acquisition.
With the new All Sky Camera I am hopeful to capture better all sky images than before. The camera is online and producing images from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
Posted on April 18, 2019 by Niteskys Photography
The first meteor shower of 2019 came and went in the early hours of January 4, 2019. The Quandrantids were billed to be one of the two best opportunities to see a meteor shower in 2019. The other is the Eta Aquariids in early May. This is because the more well known Perseid, Leonid, and Geminid showers will be spoiled by bright moonlight in 2019.
A bright Quadrantid can be seen in this image posing between the Big and Little Dippers.
Posted on January 28, 2019 by Niteskys Photography
A total lunar eclipse was seen in the sky over Niteskys Observatory last evening.
The eclipse started with the moon entering the Earth's penumbra shadow at 7:35 PM and exiting the shadow at 12:50 AM. The event timings for the eclipse were: Partial Eclipse Begins - 8:34 PM, Total Eclipse Begins - 9:41 PM, Mid Eclipse - 10:12 PM, Total Eclipse Ends - 10:44 PM, and Partial Eclipse Ends - 11:51 PM. All times are in MST.
This eclipse occurred within 14 hours of lunar perigee. Because the moon is closer to the earth, it appears a bit larger than normal. This is sometimes called a "super moon."
Local weather for the eclipse started out cloudy, cleared towards mid eclipse, and then returned to overcast at the end of the eclipse. Temps were steady around 30 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity level of 75%.
Posted on January 21, 2019 by Niteskys Photography
An image of M35 taken at the Niteskys Observatory was published in the Febuary 2019 issue of Astronomy Magazine.
The image can be seen on page 64 in the article "Treats in Taurus".
Posted on January 14, 2019 by Niteskys Photography
A new year and a new look for Niteskys Photography. The fixed width pumpkin theme is being phased out and replaced with a modern fluid interface.
This will be the fourth update of the web site since it went online in 2004.
I expect it will take most of the year to update the approximately 250 pages on the site. Please be patient while the site is "under construction."
Posted on January 1, 2019 by Niteskys Photography
01/22/15 - The observatory is operational again. Interface ICs were replaced in the mount and focus controller and the main and secondary equipment cabinets were replaced with larger versions. The mount mechanicals were tuned and the new guider installed and calibrated. The external guider will facilitate narrow-band and DSLR imaging projects.
01/10/15 - Weather station transmitter replaced. Upon inspection, it was found that a capacitor on the old transmitter board had failed. The fan for the aspirated temperature shield was also replaced at this time.
12/30/14 - It has been noted that weather station transmitter stops transmitting temperature information when the outside temperature falls below -3 F. Suspect transmitter circuit board requires replacement.
12/12/14 - Weather station transmitter solar cell will no longer charge transmitter battery. After replacing 2 batteries in quick succession, the solar cell has been replaced. The new design rain cone was also installed.
10/28/14 - Disaster strikes! Plugging devices into the new hub takes out the mount and telescope focusing electronics. Sadly, the entire electronics package of observatory must be removed and hopefully repaired.
10/22/14 - Observatory software testing going well. Used T-Point Add On to dial in polar alignment. Ordering a USB hub and an external guider to aid with narrow band imaging as the neighborhood night sky has brightened considerably over the summer.
10/12/14 - The observatory computer is updated to Windows 7. CCDSoft has been replaced with TheSkyX Camera Add On. CCDAP has been updated to the professional edition to support this configuration. FocusMax 4.0 is under evaluation.
04/17/14 - After being taken down April 1st, the observatory camera and the all-sky-camera are now back in service.
02/17/14 - In preparation for the announced end of support for Windows XP, the weather server has been replaced. The new server has updated hardware and software running under Windows 7 Pro. The observatory computer is next.
11/27/13 - The internet camera has been replaced. The new camera has a wider view and better dynamic range. Like the camera it replaces, the new camera periodically uploads an image of the observatory and the surrounding area to the weather page during daylight hours.
10/21/13 - A phase II version of the All Sky Camera has been installed. The new camera housing contains a heater that should eliminate moisture from forming on the inside of the camera. Images can be see on the All Sky Camera page.
10/04/12 - An All Sky Camera has been installed. The camera periodically uploads an image of the overhead sky to the All Sky Camera page.
09/01/11 - A rare strong east wind caused the dome upper shutter to dislodge from its track causing the lower shutter to be forced open by the wind. Damage to the lower shutter appears to be minor, but I will have to fashion a device to prevent this from happening again in the future.
08/31/11 - Adding index pages in Terrestrial Images for easier navigation and future expansion.
07/08/11 - Since "monsoon" season has started early this year, I am taking advantage of the cloudy nights by upgrading the observatory computer.
08/26/08 - Added a Weather Radar page customized for Niteskys.
07/24/08 - Added a Site Map page. The site map does not list individual images, but it will make it easier to navigate to the correct gallery based on image subject. EDIT 04/12/20 - This page has been deprecated.
07/24/08 - Another slight design facelift that started with the weather page. In addition, I am updating the site to conform to XHTML 1.0 Transitional standards.
07/2008 - The Niteskys Weather Station joins the Weather Underground Data Exchange.
04/2008 - First printed publication of a Niteskys image. April 2008 Astronomy Magazine; Moon Nears Pleiades - 03/2007.
02/21/08 - Lunar eclipse image from the February 20, 2008 eclipse is shown on FOX 31 News evening broadcast.
02/21/08 - Boy Scout Troop 565 visits Niteskys Observatory as part of their quest for the Astronomy Merit Badge.
01/21/08 - Final equipment repairs from lightning damage completed.
08/18/07 - The observatory is brought back to operational status through a combination of new equipment, repaired equipment, and borrowed equipment.
08/03/07 - A lightning strike near the observatory destroys various electronic components within the observatory.
03/31/07 - A Latest Images page has been added. The page will contain links to the latest images posted to the web site.
02/25/07 - First attempt of image acquisition through automation.
02/18/07 - A internet camera has been installed. The camera periodically uploads an image of the observatory to the weather page.
12/14/06 - A second construction page has been added. This page documents the construction of the Niteskys Observatory interior.
09/11/06 - The Niteskys Weather Station joins the Citizen Weather Observer Program.
07/15/06 - A Links page has been added. EDIT 04/12/20 - This page has been deprecated.
04/30/06 - A construction page has been added. This page documents the construction of a permanent enclosure for the Niteskys Observatory.
02/14/06 - Design facelift complete!
01/18/06 - Niteskys.com undergoes design facelift starting with weather page. Other pages to follow as time permits.
01/16/06 - Niteskys Weather Station goes online.
11/15/05 - NGC281, the PacMan Nebula, is the first new image published to niteskys.com.
11/09/05 - niteskys.mesanetworks.net is migrated to niteskys.com.
11/05/05 - niteskys.com is registered as a domain.
10/02/05 - VDB-142, the Elephant Trunk Nebula, is the last image published to niteskys.mesanetworks.net.
07/30/05 - niteskys.mesanetworks.net runs out of space. Various space savings actions including removal of full resolution images takes place.
10/31/04 - Niteskys.mesanetworks.net is started. The purpose of the site is to provide a location where astroimages taken by myself can be displayed and shared with fellow astroimagers. The Horsehead Nebula is first image to be published to the site.