Celestial Observations: Astrophysics Students at Aardvark Observatory

Over the weekend of May 30, fifteen Astrophysics students, four parents, one UC Berkeley post-doc and one Bay teacher had a fantastic weekend full of celestial observations at the Aardvark Observatory in Groveland, CA.  Observatory designer, master astronomer and gracious host Gary Bengier explained the intricacies of the main telescope’s operations. Students, staying up way past their usual 10 p.m. bedtimes, captured multiple images of a number of “deep-sky” objects – mainly galaxies – as well as the requisite background images needed to cancel out visual distortion and noise.  The results are the set of color-composite images seen above. Students also looked through excellent direct-viewing scopes. Clear skies and moonless nights made for outstanding visual and scientific experiences.

Many thanks to Gary and Cynthia Bengier, Eric Olson, Chris Boettcher and Melissa Graham, PhD.

– Richard Piccioni, Science Faculty

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