Ring Nebula Imaging Session and a Meteor! / by Jeff Tropeano

I spent early Tuesday evening attempting to image M57, The Ring Nebula.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a great imaging session.  M57 is a tough object to image - it's got a very small angular distance, and my 10" scope's field of view is probably too wide to image this object well.  I also had some issues auto guiding, and some gremlins with my mount reinitializing randomly while slewing.

There was a silver lining to my dud imaging session, though.  A fantastic meteor that I caught for about 15 seconds. It was a very slow moving object in the sky, flickering in brightness, with a very apparent bright tail.  It had obviously been traversing the sky for a while, and I saw it about 15 degrees south of Zenith.  It traveled through zenith along a South-North trajectory, and maintained brightness until it passed to the Northern horizon.  Observation ended about 20 degrees north of horizon, until my dumb house got in the way.  There was also a "chunkier" section of tail, almost like a comet tail, about 3-4 angular degrees long (crude arms-length finger measurement).  I stood quiet for a few minutes after the sighting, but heard nothing.

The meteor made the local newspaper, likely because of so many sightings of it from Red Rocks (during The Big Lebowski!).

M57, captured on September 2nd, 2014 from Lakewood, CO.  Stack of 30 lights, 10 darks, and 10 bias frames.  Stacked image, with no post-processing.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
— Thomas Edison