Asteroid (7194) Susanrose

2017-05-16 (3)

Here is an image of one of the asteroids I measured while conducting my asteroid astrometry program on May 15th. The images used to derive the measurements, shown at the lower right in the photo, consisted of 40 images, 30 seconds each with the ccd binned at 3×3 to increase sensitivity. The images were captured in 4 groups of 10 with 8 minutes separating the groups. The groups were stacked in Astrometrica software which also did the measuring. Stacking the image groups was necessary to create enough signal for an accurate measurement. It was measured at magnitude 16.5. It is currently cruising through the constellation of Serpens Caput.

What’s significant about this asteroid is its name. It is named for the President of my club in NY, Sue Rose, for her decades of support to the astronomical community. Sue was surprised with the announcement, and presentation of a beautiful plaque at the 2009 ALCon convention hosted by the Amateur Observers’ Society at Hofstra University.

CON Transit Dreams Observatory
OBS D. Wilde
MEA D. Wilde
TEL 127mm F7.5 APO Refractor + CCD
ACK MPCReport file updated 2017.05.16 11:31:28
07194 KC2017 05 16.10882 15 49 00.31 -01 33 07.9 16.4 R W33
07194 KC2017 05 16.11851 15 48 59.78 -01 33 03.0 16.4 R W33
07194 KC2017 05 16.12817 15 48 59.25 -01 32 58.8 16.5 R W33
07194 KC2017 05 16.13787 15 48 58.74 -01 32 54.2 16.8 R W33
—– end —–

M42- First Light image inside Transit Dreams Observatory

M 42- First Light inside Transit Dreams Observatory

This image of the Great Orion Nebula was captured as a test of the pointing and tracking of the MX+ mount.  It’s a combined total of 15.5 minutes exposure in LRGB.

ES127 F7.5 APO refractor- 952mm f.l.

Atik One 6.0 ccd

Astronomik LRGB filters

(1ea)-2sec to 4 min subs of Luminance, 11 minutes total.

(3) 30 sec each RGB, 4.5 minutes total.




Transit Dreams Observatory awarded code W33 from the Minor Planet Center

This announcement is late, but I wanted to share it with our friends here who don’t follow us on Facebook.

I am proud to announce the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center has designated Transit Dreams Observatory as Minor Planet Center W33. This designation was earned by T.D.O. as a result of our submission to the MPC of precise reliable astrometric measurements of asteroid positions in our solar system. These measurements provide the professional and advanced amateur astronomers the data needed to help refine orbits and gain additional knowledge about our solar system neighbors. Observatory codes are not given out lightly, and the Transit Dreams Observatory will endeavor to continue contributing accurate data to this body of work.

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Website Update

Well I finally got around to updating some of this site. I’ve changed the color scheme to black and white to hopefully modernize it and make it easier to read. I am not a web programmer by any means, so I crawl my way around WordPress to get things close to how I want them to look.

Besides the color scheme change, I’ve changed the content and menu structure of the homepage. The new header consists of 3 images over the old header of the constellation of Orion. On the left is the new logo I designed for Transit Dreams observatory. The interior of the T has a NYC “Transit” subway map, and the D has a “Dream” scape sky scene. In the center is a screen shot from the Astrometrica software I use to make the asteroid astrometry measurements. On the right is a view of the telescope, mount, and camera setup inside the observatory.

I’ve also started on the Observatory page, adding some of my thoughts as I was building the observatory and assembling the dome, as well as numerous photos of the construction. As I get caught up, I’ll add more on the process.

Galaxy NGC 891

NGC 891-Andromeda

NGC 891-Andromeda

NGC 891 is an edge-on spiral galaxy 30 million light years away in the constellation of Andromeda. You can see its faint dust lane along the plane of the galaxy because of  its orientation to our line of site. This dark lane is dust and is very difficult to see visually. I can only make out the darkest portion with my 15” Newtonian reflector. When you look up at our own Milky Way galaxy and see the dark areas winding through the myriad of stars, this is the same kind of dust only seen from inside the galaxy. If you look, closely you can see many galaxies in the background of this image. NGC 891 was discovered by William Herschel on October 6, 1784


Object: NGC 891
Constellation: Andromeda
Telescope: ES127mm F7.5 APO Refractor
Mount: Paramount MX+
Camera: ATIK One 6.0
Filters: Astronomik LRGB
Guide Scope: Orion 50mm
Guide Camera: SBIG STi
Total Integration: Luminance 122 minutes(1×1), Red 80 minutes(2×2), Green 60 minutes(2×2), Blue 75 minutes(2×2). Total 5hr.47 minutes
Image Capture: SkyX camera addon
Guiding: PHD2
Stacking/calibration: Maximdl
Post Processing:Photoshop CS5

Reprocessed November 2015

Comet 88P/Howell


Comet 88P/Howell

I imaged Comet P88/Howell in September. It is located in the constellation of Aries. The comet was a bit fainter than the 11.2 magnitude estimated by my Skytools software. You can see the faint tail extending out past the edge of the field to the right of the coma toward the 4:00 position. The image above is 40 minutes total exposure with LRGB filters. The brighter galaxy at the upper right is IC267, a 13.9 magnitude barred spiral. You can just make out the extended arms in the image. To the right of the comet near the edge is 15.1 magnitude galaxy MCG 2-8-26 (PGC10917). You can also pick out almost a dozen fainter galaxies down to mag. 18 in the image. The faint galaxy in the tail of the comet is LEDA 1414124 at magnitude 17.8. The Skytools screen capture below shows the comet’s location with many of the galaxies in the field labeled. The number in parentheses in the galaxy magnitude with the decimal omitted.



CON Dennis G. Wilde, TDO
OBS D. Wilde
MEA D. Wilde
TEL 127mm F7.5 APO Refractor + CCD
0088P C2015 09 15.15028 02 54 58.48 +12 42 20.5 15.9 N XXX
0088P C2015 09 15.16174 02 54 58.21 +12 42 20.2 15.8 N XXX
0088P C2015 09 15.17433 02 54 57.91 +12 42 19.4 15.7 N XXX

Constellation: Aries
Telescope: ES127mm F7.5 APO Refractor
Mount: Paramount MX+
Camera: ATIK One 6.0
Filters: Astronomik LRGB
Guide Scope: None
Guide Camera: None
Total Integration: 40 minutes LRGB





Asteroid (1284) Latvia

Asteroid (1284) Latvia is a main belt asteroid about 37 km in diameter with an orbit around the Sun of 1572 Earth days.  It was discovered by German astronomer Karl  Reinmuth in July 1933.  It was named after the Republic of Latvia.  Reinmuth discovered a total of 395 asteroids, between the years of 1914-1956, and 2 comets, 30P/Reinmuth and 44P/Reinmuth.  He named Asteroid (1111) Reinmuth for himself, a practice that is no longer permitted by the IAU.  The video below shows about 1 hour of asteroid motion among the stars of Pegasus.

This is the third and last asteroid I imaged to capture data for the MPC.  The purpose is to obtain an observatory code I can use when submitting astrometrical data for asteroids and comets to the Minor Planet Center.  This data can be used to refine the orbits of these asteroids so it can be determined they pose no risk to the Earth.  The primary interest is for data on the NEO’s (Near Earth Objects).  These objects sometimes pass much closer to the earth than our own Moon.  If one was to strike the Earth it would have devastating consequences for much of the Earth’s population.   Main belt asteroids, like the three I have imaged pose much less of a threat, but should still be periodically measured. Collisions with other asteroids and gravitational perturbations with large mass objects can alter their orbits and increase the threat level.  Studying asteroids long term can also provide data on their rotation period, albedo, mass and size.  This is critical data for objects that might pass close to earth.

The requirements for providing data to the MPC, in order to obtain an observatory code, are strict and demanding.  It is important for the data to be accurate, so it can be used reliably in scientific research. There are many requirements, or criteria to be met before a code is issued.  I’m only going to go over the basics here, but if you want the detailed information, you can find it at the Minor Planet Center website:

The basic process to obtain a code is to collect data for 3 asteroids over 2 different nights of measurements.  You must make 3 measurements for each asteroid on each date.  On each date the data should be collected with a separation of at least a half hour between measurements.  Some asteroids move slowly and you want to detect the motion across the sky between measurements. So for the 3 asteroids, that’s nine measurements on each date.  The positions of the asteroids must be calculated to an accuracy of 1 arc second.  That’s why main belt asteroids are mainly used to collect the initial data.  Their orbits a pretty well-known making it easier to check your reported positions against where the asteroid should be in its orbit.

For those not familiar with just how small 1 arc second error is, just think about the Earth as a whole.  Looking from one horizon to the opposite horizon, encompasses 180 degrees.  Each one of those degrees has 60 arc minutes.  Each one of those arc minutes has 60 arc seconds. That’s 64,800 arc seconds horizon to horizon.

The easiest way to collect the data and measure accurate positions is by imaging the object, doing an astrometrical plate solve which measures the exact position of reference stars in the image matched against star catalogs like the UCAC4, and then measure the position of the object your checking, using that plate solution.

I use a program called Astrometrica, which was designed for this exact use.  You load the images into the program after doing a calibration reduction on them (darks and Flats).  The program will do the astrometrical plate solve and blink the images so you can find the object as it jumps from frame to frame while the stars hold their position.  In theory this works beautifully.  I’m still having some issues with the setup and parameters of the program to get consistently automated plate solving. Many times I’ll have to do a manual plate solve which involves overlaying the catalog positions of the stars over the stars on the images to match them up.  This can be tedious.  Another advantage of the software is it will put the data into the format required by the MPC.  The data sets  are sent by email and are read by computer, so they must be formatted correctly to be accepted by the database.  I’ve already had to correct the formatting and resend the data.

Below is the data presented in the format required by the MPC.  This (correctly formatted) data has already been sent to the MPC, and I am awaiting acceptance and the issuing of my observatory code.  The issuance of the Observatory Code signifies my data has the required accuracy, and they can expect due diligence on my part, in regards to future data submitted.

OBS D.Wilde
MEA D.Wilde

TEL 127mm F7.5 APO Refractor + CCD
ACK MPCReport file updated 2015.09.16 14:04:22
[object] [date and time UT]   [ R.A.]          [Dec.]      [Mag] [code]
00426 C2015 09 14.90177 23 14 51.95 +16 40 05.4 10.7 R  XXX
00426 C2015 09 14.92634 23 14 50.57 +16 40 04.1 11.0 R  XXX
00426 C2015 09 14.95090 23 14 49.13 +16 40 02.7 11.5 R  XXX
00426 C2015 09 15.89872 23 13 41.41 +16 39 59.8 12.5 R  XXX
00426 C2015 09 15.93424 23 13 39.43 +16 39 56.4 11.0 R  XXX
00426 C2015 09 15.95882 23 13 38.11 +16 39 53.7 11.0 R  XXX
01146 C2015 09 14.90890 23 33 46.81 +14 57 06.3 11.2 R  XXX
01146 C2015 09 14.93347 23 33 45.10 +14 57 10.2 11.3 R  XXX
01146 C2015 09 14.95802 23 33 44.34 +14 57 30.0 11.2 R  XXX
01146 C2015 09 15.91679 23 33 14.76 +14 57 43.5 12.4 R  XXX
01146 C2015 09 15.94138 23 33 13.71 +14 57 29.6 11.6 R  XXX
01146 C2015 09 15.96596 23 33 12.59 +14 57 15.3 11.7 R  XXX
01284 C2015 09 14.90420 00 10 20.60 +18 04 37.6   9.8 R  XXX
01284 C2015 09 14.92876 00 10 19.33 +18 04 31.2 10.0 R  XXX
01284 C2015 09 14.95333 00 10 18.02 +18 04 26.1 10.4 R  XXX
01284 C2015 09 15.90228 00 07 27.20 +18 18 02.3 13.1 R  XXX
01284 C2015 09 15.91324 00 07 26.62 +18 18 02.5 13.0 R  XXX
01284 C2015 09 15.93782 00 07 25.26 +18 18 02.9 13.1 R  XXX
—– end —–

The red headings were added to clarify each column. The xxx code is used until you are awarded your own three character observatory code.


Asteroid (1146) Biarmia

Asteroid (1146) Biarmia is a main belt asteroid approximately 31 km diameter at its widest point.  It orbits the Sun every 5 years. This asteroid was discovered by Russian astronomer Grigory Neujmin in 1929.  It is currently passing through the constellation of Pegasus.

The 3 images used to create the video were 90 second captures during 70 minutes of the asteroids motion. The faintest stars visible were mag 18.2  This is the second asteroid in the set of three used to record astrometric data for submission to the Minor Planet Center in consideration for issuing a Minor Planet observatory code to the Transit Dreams Observatory.

SkyTools screenshot of 1146 Biarmia

SkyTools screenshot of 1146 Biarmia- Faintest stars mag 18.2

Asteroid (426) Hippo

The Asteroid (426) Hippo is a main belt asteroid approximately 127km in diameter at its widest point.  It is one of 99 asteroids discovered by French Auguste Honoré Charlois, from Nice, France.

"Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech."

“Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.”



This asteroid is one of three I’ve chosen to image and perform an astrometric solution on, in order to complete the requirements of the Minor Planet Center, in order to  be assigned an observatory code. When accepted by the MPC, this data will signify the accuracy and dependability of my measurements, making it usable to the professional scientific community.

The motion of the asteroid in the video took place over 86 minutes time.

426 Hippo chart

426 Hippo chart created in SkyTools 3

The SkyTools3 chart above shows its position in the constellation of Pegasus at the time of my imaging run.  The imaging took place over two days September 15th and 16th UT.  The chart and video shows its approximate position on the 16th at 2:26 UT.


The Cumulative Process

Learning to process Astro images, for me, is a cumulative process. When I learn a new technique, I’m anxious to test it out and practice it until I fell I’ve mastered it for my style of processing.  I offer 2 images here. The data for these images was captured about 2 years ago.  The first image shows my level of knowledge at the time in collecting data and creating an image.

Galaxy M31 in Andromeda

Galaxy M31 in Andromeda

The following image is using the same data, but applying additional skills of masking and filtering the data to draw out more detail and better contrast.  I do tend to over sharpen a bit, but that’s part of my style.

Galaxy M31

Galaxy M31

Now in looking at these images, it’s obvious to me that I need more data to clean up the noise and reveal the true beauty of this object.  In comparing these images of M31 with others, they’re obviously not going to be a “Picture of the Day” on anyone’s website but my own.

My message is to keep working with the data as you learn more to improve your skills.  It also helps you understand better, how much data you really need to create a top quality image.  I know personally the excitement of producing any image as the novice I consider myself to be, leads me to publish my work sooner than it should be.