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New Windsor, Maryland (USA)

Repaired Observatory
The observatory after undergoing repairs for aging and rodent abuse by groundhogs. The exterior walls were replaced and the floor reinforced.

Click on image to open larger image (7.75 MB) 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).

January 2019 Total Lunar Eclipse

2019 Total Lunar Eclipse
The only total lunar eclipse of 2019 happened on the night of Sunday, January 20-21. MTO observed the eclipse from the Blaine F. Roelke Memorial Observatory (BFRMO) at the Bear Branch Nature Center (BBNC) north of Westminster, Maryland, USA. It was a frijid and bitter sinter's night to be standing around outside. Fortunately, BBNC and members of the Westminster Astronomical Society, Inc. (WASI) were on hand serving hot beverages and snacks inside of the nature center.

This image is a collage of 13 separate images taken both before and during the eclipse, including its penumbral and umbral partial and total phases. Totality lasted for just over one hour. All images were taken using a Canon brand DSLR camera. It was mounted on a Sky Watcher™ brand German Equatorial mounting, in order to compensate for the rotation of the earth during the exposures.

Click on image to open larger image (525 KB) in a new window. (Photo credit: MTO)

Favorable 2018 Apparition of Comet 46P/Wirtanen

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 rotation of the earth during the exposure.

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

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)

MTO would like to thank everyone who donated their time and materials, or helped in the construction of the observatory..
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Clocks for good observing sites

Bear Branch Nature Center (Wesminter, MD)

Morgan County Observatory (Berkeley Springs, WV

Tuckahoe State Park (MD)

Mountain Meadows Observatory (WV)

Kile Knob (WV)

Cherry Springs State Park (PA)

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