Readers’ wildlife photos

August 29, 2019 • 7:45 am

We have some animals and some astronomy today. First, three photos from reader Tim Anderson of Australia, who appeared in “photos of readers” two days ago. His notes are indented:

Last night [August 26] was an extraordinarly clear and still night here at the Manor to Which I Have Become Accustomed. I managed to get decent images of four of the glories of the southern skies. I will send them as separate emails in case their size overwhelms your inbox.

This is an image of the Sculptor Galaxy (NGC253). Sometimes it is nice to see a view of a distant galaxy in the context of its starfield rather than close up.

This is a composite of one hundred 60-second images taken with a Skywatcher Esprit 100mm refractor, ASI071MCPro camera, UV/IR cut filter, and an EQ8 mount

This is an image of the Centaurus A Galaxy (NGC5128). It is actually two galaxies – a large elliptical in the background, and a spiral galaxy in the foreground that is in the process of being swallowed by its larger neighbour. This will happen to our galaxy when we encounter the Andromeda Galaxy in about five billion years. This involves sixty 30-second images captured with a Skywatcher Esprit 100mm refractor, ASI071MCPro, UV/IR cut filter, and an EQ8 mount.   

This image shows the brightest globular star cluster in the night sky – Omega Centauri. It contains about 5 million stars and is one of the oldest objects in our galaxy. It comprises sixty 10-second images taken with a Skywatcher Esprit 100mm refractor, ASI071MCPro, UV/IR cut filter, and an EQ8 mount.
JAC: note that the galaxy below contains ten million stars. 

From reader pyers, an insect and a flower: “A honey bee and my runner beans.” He adds:

This cannot be, under any circumstances, be described as wildlife but I hope that you like the photo 🙂

And from Jim Thompson, a scene of “urban wildlife”, elk (Cervus canadensis) resting around humans:

This was taken between the concession stand and the Ranger Station at Mammoth Terraces in Yellowstone National Park a couple weeks ago.

16 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Tim, if I lived anywhere near you, I would follow you around like a puppy dog, to learn how to take shots like these. I am simply awestruck by your photos.

  2. From reading around I gather the Omega Centauri Globular Cluster is not a typical Milky Way [MW] globular cluster – the MW has many clusters orbiting it. There is a theory that it’s the remaining heart of another galaxy stripped of its periphery stars by our MW!

    This got me excited because stellar separation is tiny in that cluster so if there’s sufficient ‘metals’ there it ought to be relatively easy compared to the MW to colonise the entire cluster if your alien tech civ evolved in the cluster. But star density is too high for planets to have stable orbits for long enough. Pity.

    The sky in that cluster must be spectacular

    1. here is a theory that it’s the remaining heart of another galaxy stripped of its periphery stars by our MW!

      That is an idea applied to a number of globular clusters.

      so if there’s sufficient ‘metals’ there

      (Weird though it sounds, to astrophysicists a “metal” is any element which was not formed in the Big Bang. Which is anything that is not hydrogen or helium. There was a trace of primordial lithium, but it’s parts per million, not percent.)
      Which is a big “if”. If the globular cluster were a galactic core then it’d be largely “first generation” stars and so of relatively low metallicity. The jury is still out on that one – it requires taking spectra of a lot of stars, and so there are obvious sampling biases. One set of results suggests there are two age populations in Omega Cen, which suggests a more complex history.

      1. That’s so cool. It’s only 4.5 hours from home. I’ll put that trip into the queue. The dating looks pretty good for a very early arrival. Thanks for pulling this up.

        1. My only concern, they use Bayes as part of the dating process…

          I was surprised how useless Google Maps was at getting me to Cooper’s Ferry. I hadn’t considered how poor their data is outside main routes & urban areas. All about the monies.

          Here’s a nice map of the time showing the route – walking at the south end of Vancouver Island, let’s see if it embeds:


          1. I don’t think Cooper’s Ferry exists as a town (anymore?). It’s just the designation of the dig site. Maybe there was a Ferry across the river nearby at one time.
            That’s an interesting map, and kind of an obvious route. I wonder what it was about the site that made them stop and set up camp? At the time, I’m sure salmon were so thick during breeding you could walk across on their backs. But that would be true in many locations. Today several very ignorant dams block easy access to the spawning grounds so salmon are running thin and sparsely. If you’re ever in the area stop by and we’ll visit the place. Oregon State U. gives tours.

    1. Thank you. Good plan. I should be fit in 2020.

      It must have all the mod cons.

      ** River bend is on average wider shallower water = access to both banks except Spring melt & easier fishing

      ** In a canyon that bends protecting from winter winds from W,N & E

      ** There’s two trails today climbing the canyon from the ferry to the north into the flat farmland [top right of map below]. Those are the gentlest available climbs locally although I doubt the rich soil was there back then

      ** I suppose Spring melt was spectacularly high & fast back then & winter absolutely horrible – I think only people who can preserve protein would have reached that spot. & they’d be interested in caves 50′ above the river, clear views, defensible position with good local schools

      ** Perhaps pointy thing making materials nearby?

      ** The missus inspected a cave & said “we’ll take it, now shift that bear out of here by the time I come back from berrying or I’ll be burying you!”. Throg grumbles, scratches his arse & plods off to find a few pals with sharp. pointy bear-grade spears.

      1. Good find. The place is looking more and more interesting. I’ll definitely have to launch a road trip. I can see “defensible position” but, “good local schools” might be too much to expect in rural Idaho.

Leave a Reply to Tim Harding Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *