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New Windsor, Maryland (USA)

Comet 46P/Wirtanen
Comet 46P/Wirtanen was photographed from Marstown on the night of Tuesday, December 18, 2018. The comet was closest to earth on the morning of December 16. At closest approach the comet was 7.2 million miles from earth, making it one of the closest comets in recent history.

Discovered in 1948, subsequent encounters with gas giant planet Jupiter has decreased the orbital period of this short term periodic comet from 6.7 to 5.5 years.

Image is a 30 second exposure at f5.6 and ISO 3200 through a 300mm telephoto lens with a Canon brand DSLR. Camera was mounted on a Sky Watcher™ brand German Equatorial mount, in order to compensate for the roation of the earth during the exposure.

Click on images to open larger image (546 KB) in a new window. (Photo credit: MTO)

Marstown Observatory is located in Carroll County, Maryland one mile from the unincorporated hamlet of Marston. The nearest town is historic New Windsor (established in 1797) located four miles northwest of the observatory. The closest major cities are Baltimore (30 miles ESE) and Washington, DC (50 miles S).

The Barmecide Feast

The Barmecide Feast
MTO attended a special exhibit preview at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC exclusively for members of the National Air & Space Society. To commemorate the golden anniversary of the landmark movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, written and produced by Arthur C. Clark and Stanley Kubrick, the institute commissioned the recreation of a set from the film's dramatic ending. The name of the exhibit is The Barmecide Feast.

A frame grab from a DVD copy of the movie was used for creating the framing mask showing the view from inside one of the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) "pods" -- small single passenger shuttle craft from the science fiction story's spaceship Discovery 1. This imitates a scene from the movie depicting astronaut David Bowman standing in a simulated room in which the pod has become parked.

Click on images to open larger image (247 KB) in a new window. (Photo credit: Cindy Chillward)

Bailey's Beades during 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Bailey's Beads
Image of "Bailey's Beads" just prior to 2nd Contact (start of totality) during the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. MTO viewed the eclipse 3.7 miles southwest of Dorchester, Nebraska and experienced 2m 33s of totality. Bailey's Beads are caused when the last sliver of sunlight is broken up by the mountains and valleys along the outer edge of the lunar disc.

The insert at right is the Kaguya/LRO limb profile chart showing the predicted orientations of mountains and valleys around the moon's edge, and taking into account its librations, at the time of eclipse as viewed from a specified location on the earth's surface. It also models the expected location of Bailey's Beads just prior to 2nd contact. The chart is from an interactive Google map of the central path of the eclipse prepared by Xavier M. Jubier.

Image taken with a Canon DSLR camera through an unfiltered Astro-Physics 5" F/8 Starfire refractor (1/250 sec. ISO 100).

Click on image to open full resolution image in a new window. (Photo credit: MTO)

Transit of Mercury Across the Face of the Sun

Transit of Mercury
The May 9, 2016 transit of Mercury as photographed by Nicholas Lara with a Smartphone held up to the eyepiece of his 8-inch Orion Dobsonian reflector telescope. Image was taken at the Eldersburg branch of the Carroll County library, one of several locations where members of the Westminster Astronomical Society had set up telescopes for public observing of the event.

Click on images to open larger image (247 KB) in a new window. (Photo credit: Nicolas Lara)

MTO would like to thank everyone who donated their time and materials, or helped in the construction of the observatory..
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Bear Branch Nature Center (Wesminter, MD)

Morgan County Observatory (Berkeley Springs, WV

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