We’ve got a special challenge for you this week: observe a supermassive black hole from your backyard! And don’t worry if the weather is bad tonight, you have until July 18 to complete this quest!
Messier 87, or M87 for short, is one of the most well-known galaxies in the universe thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope’s image of the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center, which was released in 2019. The galaxy was discovered in 1781 by astronomer Charles Messier, and is part of his famed Messier catalog.
M87 is easily visible for Unistellar observers. You may even catch a glimpse of the relativistic jets that spew thousands of light years into space from the center of the black hole!
As part of this project, eVscope users will have their observations of M87 combined into a super image. Super images combine photos from dozens of citizen astronomers to produce a more detailed image. Last year, we had great success collecting observations for a super image of the Comet ATLAS as it disintegrated. The final super image can be seen here.
Observation Tips and Directions:
Observing M87 is easy with your eVscope and Unistellar app.
- Start by collimating and focusing your eVscope. For tips on how to do this, check out our collimation and focus tutorials on YouTube.
- Go to the User tab and take a dark frame.
- In the Explore tab, search for “M87.”
- Leave the Enhanced Vision mode on for at least 2 minutes — the longer the better.
- Don’t forget to save your observations on your smartphone or tablet!
- On the User tab, be sure to upload your data.
- Finally, please fill out this form to let us know you observed!
If you’d like to take part in this special challenge, we’ll be looking for your data and submissions to the form above until July 18.
We encourage you to share your observations and join the conversation through our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages using the hashtags #ImpossibleChallenge and #Unistellar!
Clear skies! 🔭