Wednesday, September 18, 2019

revisited 61 Oph (Halifax)

Asked BGO to aim at Tycho star 00419-1113 1 so to take in 61 Ophiuchi. I had last viewed the bright pair of headlights with the C8 on 26 Aug '19. But the C companion was not obvious.

multi-star system 61 Ophiuchi in luminance

Luminance only, 1 second subexposures, 12 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

C is visible. Dim. To the north-east.

Wikipedia link: 61 Ophiuchi.

Binary Universe: a digital astrolabe

The October 2019 RASC Journal is out.
cover of the October 2019 Journal
Interesting cover.

I look forward to reading Percy's article on the General Assembly. Curious his impressions.

I look forward to reading MacDonald's review of the CGX-L mount.

Ooh. Neat. A sketch by Mr McNair was featured.

In my column, Binary Universe, I shared my findings with the iOS app called Astrolabe Clock. I used the attractive tool a lot in the past but had another look after downloading version 1.11.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

RASC at DDO on Saturday

RASC Toronto Centre returns to the David Dunlap Observatory hosting the family night programme. The Saturday 21 September show is sold out once again. If you wanna get in, there are only two more events beyond this.

trapped in the queue

Changed the minimum altitude setting for 61 Oph from 40 to 30. Stuck in the BGO queue.

Monday, September 16, 2019

captured kappa Psc (Halifax)

Ordered BGO to image GSC 00578-1121 so to get photons for κ Piscium. I had not seen the C companion of this triple star system with my C8 on 4 Sep '19.

multi-star system kappa Psc in luminance

Luminance only, 1 second subexposures, 12 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

B is the obvious bright star to the north, the closest bright star.

Do you see it. Between, in the middle, is C. It is extremely faint. This matches the visual appearance in SkyTools where the point is rendered at magnitude 15.1! This is further supported by the mag 15 values of surrounding faint field stars.

What means the data in the WDS is wrong. I should submit a notice....

The page at Wikipedia describes it as a "solitary" star. I'll have to fix that...

Sunday, September 15, 2019

captured mu Aql (Halifax)

First viewed μ (mu) Aquilae in August last year, most recently on 31 Aug '18. Spotted most of the elements of the multi-star system but wasn't sure about the D partner.

With BGO, captured the target aka Burnham 653 by centring on the nearby star GSC 00490-3800.

multi-star system mu Aql in luminance

Luminance only, 1 second subexposures, 12 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

The B and C stars at the obvious tight faint pair to the north-east, vertically oriented. D is easy, inline with B and C, further north. Brighter than B and C. To the north-east, the rather bright star, that's E. And P is the faint star due north of A, on the diffraction spike, between C and E. P looks to be the same magnitude as B and C.

Busy field.


Wikipedia link: mu Aquilae.

helped at fall work party

Helped at the fall work party at the Carr Astronomical Observatory.

I coached our junior helpers on fire bottle inspections.

Received the new ASUS wifi router. It looks like an alien spaceship. Programmed and deployed it. I activated the 2.4 and 5 GHz wireless capabilities. External WAN config, internal LAN config, DHCP table, port forwarding, admin settings, etc. The whole process went swimmingly well, way easier and smoother than I was expecting (I had had trouble testing a different router in the summer). I look forward to exploiting it's advanced features in the future.

While preparing for the swap, while taking the network down, I decided to program for a new subnet. This to avoid crashes and interference issues of a bridge (er, a router in bridge mode) decides to go sideways in the future. So that meant reprogramming the bridge in the living room, library, supervisor closet, garage, and Geoff Brown Observatory, the radio in the garage, the machines with static addresses including the GBO computer, the Sue-Lora Observatory computer, and the SQM/weather server, and the two security appliances. Lots of mental effort. And lots of physical effort, as I had to carry around another router as a gateway to reprogram all the devices.

Discovered the SQM offline. Right, it too needs to be programmed. Deferred.

As I visited the routers, I covered the WAN ports to prevent humans from using them.

Covered the dead ethernet port in the GBO observing floor.

Noted the bad ethernet cables in the garage.

I PINGed the internal network for analyses.

I received and deployed the new webcam for monitoring. The D-Link unit was very frustrating to use. The setup instructions called for downloading an app to a mobile device. With Andromache, my little Android phone, I followed the instructions and scanned the QR code on the cheat sheet. This linked me to the mydlink app page (which looks a little funny if your squint). The download, while slow, completed successfully. I proceeded to the next step which had me scan, with the new app, the QR code on power supply. This didn't work. Tried a lot of tricks. Nothing worked. And NO OTHER options were provided by the vendor, such as entering a MAC address, or a serial number, or some other unique identifier. Stoopid. Near-sighted on the part of D-Link. Rhonda graciously offered her phone. So I downloaded the app again and scanned the power supply. This worked. And after more gyrations, I was able to view the camera video output. I discovered that the app on my phone worked, it showed the webcam output. Later I loaded up the D-Link web page. No viewing of the camera output. What? Today I tried to configure the camera to "talk" to all the wireless access points but after an hour of fiddling with the Bluetooth, I could not get it to work. Stoopid. The Great Dumbing Down of software prevents me from fully accessing the device. The advanced user cannot do what they need to do. So much time lost. Made a mount (copying Tony's design). Made a sign to tell people not to bonk it.

The set-up of the webcam required the use of a new small CyberPower power bar/UPS. That was simple to deploy. However, the requested cooler/insulated box was not provided. We will need to get this soon. Woke in the middle of the night realising I did not note the plug used. Glad I checked—I had used a suppression outlet, not a battery-backed one.

Assisted a member in operating the Stargrazer ride-on mower. He could not start it. I handed him the quick reference guide. He had forgotten the fuel petcock value. He killed the battery in his repeated lengthy attempts at cranking the motor. He flooded the cylinder in his restart attempts.

Reviewed the mods to the SLO roof panel reinforcements. As I had envisioned.

Did the inspection of our backup power source. All's well.

Did some SLA battery load testing with our new donated unit. Worked well. Confirmed it works for 6 as well as 12 volts.

Noted the changes/additions from the recent site visit by the technician. The oil filter heater was warm to the touch. But then, the motor had run (at full speed) a short time before.

Attempted to deploy our battery blanket but found it damaged. Will need to get a replacement. Deferred.

Did not deploy the new inkbird; instead, brought it how to learn it. They say it is plug and play. Ha. Ha ha. That's funny. Deferred.

Installed a makeshift rubber sheet (from a bicycle tyre tube) over a padlock.

Used the new Linux workstation for the bulk of my work. That was a little challenging at times but overall very good. Still don't know exactly how to release a DHCP lease. Was very happy to find VNC capabilities built-in.

Installed Chrome on Ubuntu.

Loaded the bookmarks bar with our favourite weather pages.

After sorting a completely illogical COM port issue, uploaded the new iButton FOB CUBLOC file, created by Phil. Assisted by Steve during testing. Tested with a known good.

Verified recording on motion detection by our security devices.

Received a 19-inch flat-screen. Deployed in the GBO.

Took inventory of our small motors supplies and parts. Oh. No oil filters...

Programmed a router as a bridge to place downstream in our LAN.

Delivered RCA connectors and a rotary inline switch for the RC16 fan. Deferred.

Recorded the serial numbers of all new devices. In advance to sending to the property team.

Weather was OK. Lots of rain Friday. Saturday clear. Sunday morning rain but eased off. No snow! But that would be a little unusual given the early date.

Food was great. Our first-time cook and sous-chef did an awesome job.

Lots of familiar faces. A good crew. But I was not terribly sociable as I struggled with the IT troubles.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

painted with light

It was a full Moon. As people watched it climb over the eastern hills, I readied the DSLR camera in the Geoff Brown Observatory.

star light paint

This one came out good. Love the colours.

Steve, Rhonda, and Thomas shared some nice words.

viewed the GRS (Blue Mountains)

We had a good look at Jupiter. The Great Red Spot was nearing the meridian. When the seeing calmed down, it was a very good view in the 16-inch RC. We thought of the huge crowds at the Dunlap Institute event.

imaged kappa And (Halifax)

Imaged triple star κ Andromedae (aka HR 8976) with the BGO in search of the B partner. Easily spotted in the digital rendering.

kappa And, A, B, and C in luminance

Luminance only, 1 second subexposures, 12 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

Aimed at GSC 03244-1100.

B is to the south-south-west, about half or one-third the distance to C. They seem equal brightness (once again, SkyTools and the WDS said both were 11.3). I wonder now why I hadn't spotted the element on 4 Sep '19.


Wikipedia link: kappa Andromedae.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

spotted the fish's mouth (Bradford)

Rhonda dragged me out to the back porch to see the Moon. Eww.

Gibbous. Intense. Behind wispy clouds.

I wondered where the planets were. Too late for Saturn and Jupiter.

She asked about the bright point below Jupiter, in the V of the trees. Fomalhaut, I surmised.

collected photons on omega And (Halifax)

BGO imaged ω (omega) Andromedae aka BU 999 using the star GSC 03265-2190. I was hoping to split the C and D elements? First viewed this target on 30 Aug '19.

multi-star system omega And in luminance

Luminance only, ½ second subexposures, 12 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

Ha. Look at that. C and D, at a north-west through south-east angle are easily resolved, despite the poor image quality. Curiously, SkyTools draws the stars in a east-west orientation but the CD data in the Object Information panel shows a PA of 140°. A and B are merged.


Wikipedia link: omega Andromedae.

BGO back up

Whoa. Look at that. Responses from the Burke-Gaffney Observatory robot in Halifax. Found 3 messages from BGO in my inbox. I guess things have been restored after the hurricane...

shot HR 9074 (Halifax)

I wanted to revisit HR 9074 or Struve 3050, a triple in the constellation Andromeda. The C companion was not visually seen in my 8-inch. The Burke-Gaffney Observatory BGO robot imaged the multi-star system for me.

multi-star system HR 9074 in luminance

Luminance only, 1 second subexposures, 12 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

First viewed on 2 Sep '19. While A and B are merged in this image, the C comrade is obvious, to the north-west, a good distance away. It appears to be in the magnitude 13 range.

gathered data on IK Peg (Halifax)

When I learned of IK Pegasi as a potential outburst star, I thought of having a few looks every year. Or perhaps imaging it a few times when in season.

So I ordered the Burke-Gaffney Observatory to aim there. To be precise, I aimed at Tycho 01671-0804 1. IK Peg is also known as HR 8210.

IK Pegasi in luminance

Luminance only, 2 seconds subexposures, 12 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

First viewed this target on 2 Sep '19. Well, there we go. Captured officially.

Neat faint tight double in the middle of the image, in that big flying V.


Wikipedia link: IK Pegasi.

imaged epsilon Sge (Halifax)

I asked the BGO Robotic Telescope to image ε (epsilon) Sagittae aka H VI 26.

When I viewed this multi-star system, I didn't see the third element. C was not obvious to me visually in the C8. SkyTools had told me it was magnitude 13, which is doable with that instrument, but maybe lost in my local skyglow.

BGO refused my initial request so I aimed at the star Tycho 01602-0987 1, about a 1/4 of the field away.

multi-star system epsilon Sge in luminance

Luminance only, 1 second subexposures, 12 stacked shots. FITS Liberator, Paint.NET. North is up; east is left.

First viewed on 2 Sep '19. The 3rd component of ε Sge is obvious in the image, opposite B, a little bit further away, a titch to the north. But dim. It is in the magnitude 12 to 13 range.


Wikipedia link: epsilon Sagittae.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

attended the RASC meeting

Attended the RASC TC Recreational Astronomy Night meeting.

Traveled to and fro with Ron B.

Good to see familiar faces. Saw Tom L, Peter, George, Clay, Mary Ann, Kersti, Joel P, Joel D, Alan, Louis. Betty and Andrew, as usual, were on audio-visual duty for the evening (thanks for making me look good). Paul M was the M.C. once again. Talked with Shawn about IT matters. Received my finicky green laser pointer from Ed. Caught up with Adrian on observing certificate matters. Chatted with Richard as he shared his new CCD camera woes. Congratulated Millie and Dietmar on their award (SLO Team). Answered a question on the DI event for Dan. Acknowledged Ennio's DDO help offer. Spoke briefly with Marc about the popular Telescope Loan Programme needed another helper. Peter R introduced me to a new member who is keen to volunteer.

I delivered my The Sky This Month presentation. Did not feel really settled, again. I don't know why I get so riled up. The unedited raw video is available for review. My talk starts at the 9:29 mark and concludes at 51:32. Chris offered a comment at the end on dual shadow transits on Jupiter. Indeed, a cool thing to see. In my presentation (and associated article on the RASC web site) I have noted many "Jupiter events."

[ed: Saw Eric was online in the chat channel.]

Denis gave an interesting talk on the Pegasus portable power distribution device with clever software interface.

Steve delivered a great presentation on the new Sue-Lora Observatory (SLO) up at the Carr Astronomical Observatory. Exciting stuff. An amazing new benefit of membership. Open for business!

Ralph, during his general announcements, noted my new activity in volunteer coordination. The word's gettin' out...

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

on deck

I'm on deck for tomorrow, to deliver another The Sky This Month presentation for to RASC Toronto Centre at the Ontario Science Centre. See you there. Or see you online.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

helped in decision to measure

A comment on my measuring double stars talk showed up from Mark Harris, from across the pond.
Hi.  Great vid mate.  I've been observing doubles for pleasure for a few years now and been thinking of getting an astrometric eyepiece for a while now.  After watching your excellent vid, the choice has been made.  Thanks.  Mark.  Southampton.  England.
Wow. That's pretty cool.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

watch Last Man

With Rhonda watched The Last Man on the Moon documentary featuring Gene Cernan. It was well done. She enjoyed it and I learned a few things.

from the lunar surface during Apollo 17

I noted that Sir Jackie Stewart was one of the producers. The Jackie Stewart? Interesting.