Thursday, December 01, 2016

on lumpiness

Saw a post on Facebook shared by Malcolm Park. It referred to an article at Quanta Magazine entitled The Case Against Dark Matter, which documents how Erik Verlinde, a theoretical physicist at the University of Amsterdam, is proposing that gravity is a byproduct of quantum interactions. He says that extra gravity, that many attribute to dark matter, maybe be an effect of dark energy.

Perhaps dark matter doesn't exist at all. Certainly we have not directly observed or detected it.

Very interesting.

Jamie Flinn commented on Malcolm's post. He said, "Y'all thinking about it wrong way - you don't need dark matter or anything exotic... my theory is that lumpiness or large scale shape out side of our universe warp our spacetime time [like] a bedsheet covering a body, producing climes and slides on which our spacetime flows..."

I tend to agree. We're stuck in a rut.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

a light revolution

Watched the video entitled Light Pollution - The disappearing darkness at Deutsche Welle (DW). The 43 minute documentary is a good treatment of the infiltration of light at night. It features speakers and researchers in China, Germany, and France. Let's bring back the stars.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

garage supported

Heard from Tony while he and Grace were at the CAO. He told me he moved the garage circuit over to the generator. Fantastic news. I thanked him.

Friday, November 25, 2016

in the can

Completed my new Journal article. With help from Ian W and Phil.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

missed the election

I could not attend, due to weird shift work, the Toronto Centre annual general meeting. I understand it went well with the first election in a long time (or ever?) and that Professor Delaney's talk was fascinating (as always). I learned that national executive director Randy Attwood was present.

Seems I was elected to council again!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

winter is coming

Ian and I arrived the Carr Astronomical Observatory. A mini work party, we wanted to take care of critical things before the arrival of the cold weather.

First order of business, after our Friday lunch, was to take inventory of parts and supplies needed for our weekend work. Happily, we had everything we needed, from the existing items, and the handful of things Ian had purchased. I made a note to update the small motor inventory in advance of the spring work party.

We performed the generator maintenance. We found the battery heater circuit already energised. Huh. Had I turned it on at the October work party? I couldn't remember. The generator conducted its self-test on time.

Happily we found the generator SLA battery in very good condition. We cleaned and lubricated (with my new tube of MG Chemicals carbon conductive grease) the battery terminals. We wondered if the status warning was due to poor connections.

We lubricated all the outer door locks with Liquid Wrench.

We inspected, adjusted, and tested all the security system switches.

On Saturday, despite the rainy conditions, we worked on all the mowers (except for "Red Dwarf," the old red push mower). Oil and oil filter changes for all. Stabiliser into all fuel. Fuel drained from Green Flash. Petcocks closed on Stargrazer and the Yard-Man and motors run until starved. Batteries removed, transferred to the house, and given a top-up recharge.

To the GBO south-east panel, we replaced the remaining bottom hinge screws.

I replaced the batteries in various critical systems, including smoke and CO alarms, the Davis weather station, and the furnace thermostat. Tested the hard wired smoke alarms. Verified the upper hall bedroom area CO alarm (with 10 year lithium non-removable battery) was functional. Checked the flashlight batteries at the fire-safety stations.

Ian and I helped Denis with his MODL install. In particular, after drilling the appropriate deck boards, we pulled the outer wall conduit up. Ready for electrical and networking ports.

Tested the new reflective tape on one of the snow sticks. Worked well!

Just as an intense winter blast arrived. Good timing.

Friday, November 18, 2016

super bright dog (Blue Mountains)

Noted a bright sun dog as we worked in the garage. It brightened to the point where it was difficult to look at! Amazing.

helped at star party (Collingwood)

Helped Ian W with a private school star party gig. While he delivered his astronomy presentation I set up the solar observing equipment. Roadie.

Atop an equatorial mount, I added an ED100 Sky-watcher 900 mm OTA with Nagler Type 5 eyepiece and Kendrick solar full-spectrum filter. Piggybacked a Coronado PST with Pentax 10.5mm.

In white light, sun spot group 2610 was visible (I had looked it up yesterday). I noticed another group. The big spot was at the 5 o'clock position; the small group was at 11. I tried to flip things in my brain given the mirror diagonal.

In the office, I checked the Spaceweather web site. The new group was not yet numbered.

The view in the PST was surprisingly dim. Partly due to the wispy clouds. Still, I could see filaments and proms! Nice.

Later, I spotted a ring! All right: parahelia! It was coloured too. Sweet.

A faint sun dog on the left briefly appeared.

Beautiful weather. Almost shirt-sleeve. 17°!

The students (and teachers) enjoyed the show.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Binary Universe: StarStaX

cover of the RASC Journal 2016 December
The December RASC Journal was released to members. Knew it was coming this time. I look forward to reading about Qu├ębec City's clocks and sundials! The Imager's Corner article on Resolution looks very interesting.

My software review column Binary Universe featured the StarStaX software.

I wanted members to know about the free and easy to use application for making star trail images or the data files for star trail movies. A nice app for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux users. Evaluation version reviewed: 0.70. Version 0.71 is available.

done the budget

Finished the CAO budget for the new fiscal year. Finalised my executive summary. They are in the can. A big thanks to Tony and Phil. Smart people.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Moon is an egg


small thumbnail image of Moon with bad aspect ratio

A super egg.

viewed excellent Moon talk

Professor Paul Delany's talk on CTV about the purported super Moon was amazing.

Our veep! An amazing speaker.

shot HD 57102 (Halifax)

The BGO robot imaged HD 57102 aka 19 Lyn for me. Struve labelled it 1062. A multi-star system.

multi-star system HD 57102 in luminance

Luminance only, 3 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; left is east.

On my View Again list to chase down the C companion. Easily spotted in this image although it is extremely faint. It is to the west-north-west of the bright and tight AB pair, almost inline.

SkyTools says the C star is magnitude 10 to 11 but it seems dimmer. The star beyond is GSC 03785-0554 which the software notes as 14 (but is poor quality). The bright pair north of D, with GSC 03785-0041 and GSC 03785-0653, are in the mag 13 range and the C star is similar to those.

I don't remember the telescope I was using on first viewing 19 Lyncis but perhaps C was below the light grasp.


According to the Washington Double Star catalogue, C is magnitude 12.8.


Discovered that in my SkyTools software, I had never recorded this in the Multiple Stars life list. And it never made it to the View Again. Up to date now!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

shot HD 41943 (Halifax)

With the stupor Moon about, I asked the BGO robot to image some stars for me.

First up was HD 41943 in Orion. It is the multi-star system also known as the 37 Cluster (or NGC 2169). Struve labelled the star systems 848 and 844. Double star observers BAZ and JRN had a go too.

There is a slight tracking problem in the image unfortunately. That's making all the stars not round.

multi-star system 37 Cluster in luminance

Luminance only, 4 seconds subexposures, 10 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; left is east.

On my View Again list. I had noted I thought I might sketch it. This was so to identify all the members. This image should help.

A and B are the brightest members. They are touching. On top of one another. Merged, in part, due to the low image quality. They appear to be equal brightnesses. They mark the top-right corner of the 3 digit.

C, north-west of AB, and inline with AB, has moved a bit. Drawn closer to A and B. It is dim.

D is opposite C, about twice the distance. It is brighter than C.

E is due south of AB. About the same brightness as D.

F is, once again, inline with AB, well beyond D, two and a half times the AD separation. Slightly dimmer than D.

G is nearly due south of D, and east-south-east of E. It is fairly dim.

H is below E, forming a triangle with E and G. It is brighter than G. This is the centre of the 3 digit.

I is well away, south-south-west of A. It is the bottom of the 3 digit, at the end of the arc. The same magnitude as D or E.

J is above or north of I. About the brightness of H.

West of J is the dim K star. This must be the faintest member.

One third the JK separation, further west, is L. L is equal in intensity to J.

M is far away. It is west the E star. E is in the top of the 3 digit; M is the bottom of the 7 digit. It is similar in brightness to H.

N is due west of AB and to the north-east of M. It is bright, perhaps slightly brighter than D. It is the kink in the middle of the 7 digit.

O is inline with M and N at twice the angular distance. O is north-west of AB and curiously inline with F, D, B, A, and C. It is somewhat faint, about the same as H. Maybe less. Closer to G? This is the top-left of the 7 digit.

Above or north of N are three stars almost in a straight line. P is the southern star. P is slightly brighter than O.

Back to the line of 3: Q is in the middle, the brightest. Q looks to be as bright as D.

R is north of Q. It too is inline with O and AB and all the rest. Slightly dimmer than Q. The top-right of the 7 digit. R is slightly closer to Q than P.

O, P, Q, and R are evocative of the pincer stars in Scorpius.

Wow. 18 stars! So the A and B stars were not split in this image but all the other members are obvious and easy.

SkyTools says that the distance between A and B is 2.3 seconds of arc. That's well below the 5 limit I generally consider for the BGO equipment.

So I still need to go back and look, visually, at A and B. I also need to note the colours.

super light pollution

What do you do when there's a super bright Moon up and about?!

Shoot double stars, of course!