Tuesday, June 30, 2015

updated limits

Updated the life list magnitude limits page. Didn't realise I was in the mag 15 range with the Celestron 14-inch... Cool.

telescope mag limits

Created a quick (crude) lookup table for telescope apertures noting the limiting magnitude. It's over on the tips and tricks page in the lumpy companion...

another 90!?

Fired up John Repeat Dance and added the three new quasars to my list.

Then, on a whim, I used the Pro edition power search. Objects brighter than mag 15.

Holy smokes: over 90 quasars appeared!

That'll keep us busy...

three more quasars

Considered Ian's query again, about an unknown quasar.

Typed "visible quasars" into Google and it returned a bunch of hits. Dove into the article "Far, Far Away—Getting Started in Quasar Observing" by Christopher Sarnecki on the University Lowbrow Astronomers web site.

Three new candidates!
  • PHL 1811 at magnitude 13.8 in Capricornus
  • MSH 04-12, 14.9, Eridanus
  • Markarian 205, 14.5, Draco
Made a note to add them to my SkyTools list.

Monday, June 29, 2015

updated address

Updated my mailing address with the RASC national using the e-store. Oops. Forgot to do this a while ago...

another quasar

Ian W asked me about a quasar in Draco, if I had ever heard of it. PG 1634+706, at magnitude 14.7, near HD 150141. No... Simultaneously fired up SkyTools 3 Pro and wikipedia. The web page appeared first:
Q1634+706 is a quasar that holds the distinction of being the most distant object usually visible in an amateur telescope.  At magnitude 14.4, it appears star-like, though it is at a distance of 12.9 billion light-years.  The light of Q1634+706 has taken 8.6 billion years to reach Earth, a discrepancy attributable to the expansion of the universe.
Ian thought it "awfully bright for such a distant object." I said, not necessarily. Quasar 3C 273 is between mag 12 and 13.

In ST3P, I checked my visible quasars list. Nothing in Dra. I turned on the constellation borders, showed more star labels, and star hopped. Found it. The app too reported it a quasar. Mag 14.6. But! It was not on my list... Huh! Added.

picked up SN Jul/Aug

Picked up, at last, the July/August issue of SkyNews... Cool, Jim and Stu have photos within! Lynn too!

I look forward to reading the article on the Thirty Meter Telescope. I like how they showed the equivalent measurement in inches... 1200! My "big gun" 8-inch is a tiny spec compared to that... Wow.

Enjoyed the end article on the Perseids. Hopefully we'll get good weather...

This reminded me that I had forgotten to change my address. Will need to inform RASC national...

Just in time!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

made sequence charts

Uploaded camera-intervalometer notes and timing sequence charts to the lumpy companion tips and tricks page. In particular, one for locking up the DSLR mirror.


The Falcon 9 exploded!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

hacked the GB30

Rainy day stuff. Finally built the "adapter" cables for the NOCO GB30 battery. Can still boost a car; can now easily drive 12 volt direct current telescope accessories...

Used UCHEN goof-proof power connectors from Digi-Key and big gauge speaker wire from Active Surplus. Can't remember where the female CLA came from...

Friday, June 26, 2015

reviewed camera controls

Reviewed some Canon camera settings. Mirror lock up in particular. Tested controlling the lock up with the intervalometer—it worked! Just need to build that into the exposure (or LONG on the Neewer) time. For example, LONG equals required exposure time plus the camera self-timer value, be it 2 seconds or 10 seconds. The intervalometer triggers the camera, the self-timer starts, the mirror goes up, the self-timer period ends, then the shutter opens. I also reviewed the custom settings, C1, C2, etc. Reprogrammed C1, in fact, for bulb, as it was 0.4 seconds and kept resetting to that. Finally, I put an extra lanyard on it!


We were going to go to the observatory this week end. But, given the worsening forecast, Elaine and Tony decided to postpone.

This pushed repairs off—mower carb, Ian's mount, Elaine's laptop, Tony's mount—for a bit.

Monday, June 22, 2015

alert from Phil

Phil must have programmed alerts... He shared with Tony and me that B&H was selling the Rokinon fisheye for USD $70 off of their regular price of 259. That's a very good price! Particularly when Ken Rockwell, in his good review, said it was a "steal at 290."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

she enjoyed her visit

Risa posted her blog entry on her first visit to the CAO this season. She did another, inspiring, mini-marathon, this time using the spring list from Turn Left at Orion.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

cut new bottom board

Cut a new board from the baltic birch. Simple rectangle. Same width (6½") but longer (12"). This will be the new bottom plate for the barn door tracker (version 2) with protection for the motor and extra space to mount the finder scope.

Friday, June 19, 2015

received Ps book

Received a Photoshop book from Steve, shortly after he arrived the CAO. Adobe Photoshop CS2 for Photographers by Martin Evening. Awesome!

Some rainy day homework...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

heater repaired

Fixed the busted electronic hand warmer. Bad solder joint on one of the heater element junctions. Just in time for dew season...