Saturday, July 26, 2014

3D prom (Blue Mountains)

Enjoyed the views of the Sun. In the C14 in white light, one sunspot was visible, with tiny flecks nearby. But in hydrogen alpha, in the Tele Vue, there was a fantastic flare, at the edge of the disc, curving in-line with us. It gave a very strong sense of the third dimension.

astronomy before allergies (Blue Mountains)

Did some observing before my allergies whipped me out.

Conditions were better than we had expected. Transparency poor, seeing good, as the CSC predicted.

Initially took in Saturn in good seeing conditions in the Celestron 14" SCT. Lots of details: C ring, Cassini Division, turbulence in the northern temperate zone, shadow on the rings, a hint of the south pole.

Then, near the Observing Pad with Risa and Ian, with Ian's big 20" Dobsonian, we looked at some double stars, faint galaxies, etc. I used his netbook and SkyTools to chase down some targets.

I spotted a very bright, very fast westbound meteor at one point.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

watch Orb 2 take off

Watched the Orbital Sciences Antares-Cygnus launch from the Wallops Flight Facility.

On it's way to the International Space Station.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

directed cars

Volunteered at the David Dunlap Observatory. Help Knox and Joe with parking lot duties. First "star talk" for the season. Two sold-out shows. It was a little crazy between 9:15 and 10:15 as people late for the 9-show arrived, parents dropping off kids exited, early people arrived for the 10-show. Risa joined us and helped. Four people in the parking areas made it go smoothly. But more reflective vests and flashlights would have helped. And radios. Turns out they have a small fleet of radios there. Next time.

a little TMT

Eric had a small collection of tokens. He presented some to Ralph and I at the entrance to the DDO parking lot. Ah ha! I picked mine. I recognised it: the Thirty Meter Telescope.



Later if the evening a bunch of us talked about 3D printing. Melanie and Emma were very interested. Tanya knew a bit. Risa and Eric chimed in. We talked briefly about the Toronto Tool Library. And later still I shared with Gilles that I had a real, useful application. He liked my idea.

met Seager

Met MIT professor Seager. What a treat. Charming, interesting, vibrant, and a fast-talker. She has great stories of the DDO.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

delivered disjoint TSTM

Delivered The Sky This Month presentation to the RASC Toronto Centre at the Ontario Science Centre. For the balance of July and the first week of August. Used the Horvatin laptop, which worked—overall—very well. It would have worked even better when plugged into AC power.

The first failure I encountered was the result of plugging into a power bar which I assumed was in turn plugged into a receptacle. The second issue encountered was Windows 7 deciding to apply several updates. Kricky. So much for my consideration preparation, transferring my speakers notes into the slide deck, and using Presenter View. I scrambled near the end of my presentation trying to remember the last few slides. Gah. I had to practice what I preach.

Provided approx. 60 handouts. I'm not sure it was enough.


Article page now live on the RASC TC web site.

Monday, July 07, 2014

stacked Eye

Stacked the Cat's Eye images from Thursday night in Deep Sky Stacker.

Canon 40D, Celestron 14" SCT, f/11, manually focused, Paramount ME unguided, twenty 20-second subs with 11 darks stacked. Minor processing in Photoshop.

Not real happy with this. Will have to process again but with pre-cropped images.


Hello, Risa! I see your Imaging Saturn blog post. Your blog about my blog. Hi.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

spotted Mars above Moon (Blue Mountains)

Spotted an orange dot over the bright Moon. Less than half a degree. Shot different exposures for possible combining. But this is a single shot.

Canon 40D, Tele Vue 101, 1/400 seconds, ISO 1600, manually focused, Paramount ME unguided, daylight white balance shot, self-timer. Doctored in DPP: brightness dropped, 4200 K, contrast dropped, colour tone bumped, saturation bumped, sharpness bumped.

tried Series 1 (Blue Mountains)

Shot NGC 6946 (a galaxy) piggyback with the old zoom lens for fun! Also caught NGC 6939 (an open cluster). Used Ian W's Losmandy bracket on the Tele Vue 101 dovetail.

Canon 40D, Vivitar Series 1 at 200mm, ISO 1000, 60 seconds, f/4.0, RAW. Stacked in DSS. Minor processing in Photoshop.

Coma at the edges. Intense colours. The processing result is a little blue for my liking.

caught a flare (Blue Mountains)

Caught the Iridium flare over the CAO while trying Risa's SkyTracker.

Canon 40D, IS 18-55 lens, 120 seconds, f/4, ISO 1000, daylight white balance, manually focused, iOptron SkyTracker, RAW, no processing.

could not spot the comet (Blue Mountains)

Tried to capture the comet wide-field with Risa's SkyTracker. No luck.

Canon 40D, IS 18-55 lens, 120 seconds, f/4, ISO 1000, manually focused, RAW, minor processing in DPP.

I like the lumpy bits on the top edge, the Milky Way.

imaged 59 Ser (Blue Mountains)

Captured 59 Serpentis. Something weird going on.

Canon 40D, C14, f/11, 1000 ISO, 25 second subs stacked with a dozen darks, minor processing in Photoshop.

Friday, July 04, 2014

captured the Eye (Blue Mountains)

For fun, tried to image the Cat's Eye planetary nebula.

Canon 40D, Celestron 14", f/11, 20 seconds, 1000 ISO, daylight white balance, raw format. No processing (yet).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chris welcomed me

Chris Beckett released his Observing Committee report on video. Eric spotted it. Chris said he was stepping back. Wow, he does a lot. Welcomed me to the committee. Mentioned my double star project. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

down to 18

Blinked the stacked image with SkyTools.

Stars down to magnitude 18 and change.

J185334.1+325949: 16.90
J185330.2+325925: 17.15
J185329.2+325901: 17.64
J185324.8+330005: 17.20
J185324.3+330046: 18.22
J185336.7+325956: 18.05
J185348.6+330253: 18.16


Monday, June 23, 2014

caught 'cast 200

Listened to the 200th episode of York Universe on Fun. Good show. Great topics. Congratulations to the whole team.

first cut

Did a quick stack with the lights (20) and darks (8) (captured on Saturday) in DSS. Quick, mild, fast processing in Ps.

I'm encouraged.