Tuesday, April 22, 2014

pico prototyping

Prototyped the 9 to 11k white LED. Found the forward voltage more than 1 and less than 3. As I suspected. Probably 2.5. Rob "linear1" Arnold recommended a 330 ohm resistor if driving from a 9v source; I found a 470 on the parts bin. Nice and bright!

Helping Hands hand-held a fiber. This might work.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

two main objectives met

The SpaceX Dragon capsule, loaded with supplies and equipment, was attached to the International Space Station this morning.

This is the organisation's third mission to the ISS. After resolving the helium leak, things went swimmingly. A new and interesting aspect to this mission is that they are attempting to recover the booster stage rocket. That's pretty neat. If they do this successfully, it will dramatically drive down costs.

on moonlight

Woke to the radio and the amazing Billie Holiday singing, a-fluttering through, What A Little Moonlight Can Do. It'll make you crazy, that's what.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kepler-186f discovered

The first confirmed Earth-sized planet (1.1 times larger) in the habitable zone has been discovered. Kepler-186f orbiting a fairly stable M dwarf star 500 light-years away.

This from the Ames Research Center podcast. ARC also released an article. Very exciting.

sent a note about Σ1327

Reported to Greg the weirdness spotted in ST3P with Σ1327. The D star does not show a name properly in the Context Viewer. When one hovers, the Status Bar shows the wrong magnitude. And it is not listed in the Object Information elements menu.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

responded to Michel

Michel had asked Dave and I for feedback on the Σ1327 star, back in February. I finally got 'round to replying!

Michel shared that this target was from "an issue of Star and Telescope [sic] as a yellow and blue double with magnitudes of 8 and 9 and a separation of 7." He intimated that it was copied as-is to the RASC list. Later they moved the entry to the supplemental list because it was suspected that its colours may be difficult to observe with small instruments at low magnifications. Then he relayed details from Sky catalog 2000. Actually a triple. Magnitudes 8.2, 9.4, and 9.3. The separations for AB: 8" in 1958 and 16.1" in 1831; AC: 26.3".

He asked me if I thought the yellow and blue colours should be applied to the wide AC pair. I agreed.

He asked Dave to change the separation value in the supplemental list. To lower the magnitude of the A star. And to list the blue star in the magnitude 9 range, if I didn't disagree.

Finally Michel asked for details of my observing equipment, which I shared.


As I was investigating this, I believe I stumbled across more SkyTools database issues...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Made tethers for the telescope. Used 1/16" wire rope with double-barrel aluminum sleeves. One cable, short, for the finder scope. One cable, long, for the camera. Drilled a small hole in the finder scope mount to receive a key ring. On the free ends of the tether I used a small carabiner. The risk of dropping something now is reduced.

Monday, April 14, 2014

oh my

All the way from Vulcan.

Or Pluto's Moon.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

received SJA training

Took the St. John Ambulance Emergency First Aid + AED training. Whew! Feel much better now. And I feel that I'm a little better equipped for when I'll be up at the Carr Astronomical Observatory where, even in the summer, we're a bit remote. Hope I never need to use it...

Friday, April 11, 2014

verified supernova location

Did some digging into supernova SN 2014a. Double-checked the position noted in SkyTools.

The ST3P Context Viewer chart is centred on the exploding star.

My photo from 5 April clearly shows a bright point in this location. To the right of the galaxy core. Forming a right-angle triangle with J091946.4+334529 and J091947.8+334605. Between J091946.4+334529 and J091939.9+334632.

And I checked the area with the Aladin previewer. No star in the Aladin image.

I think SN 2014ai is about the same brightness as J091946.4+334529 and brighter than J091947.8+334605 and J091939.9+334632.

Nicole used my clouds photo

Nicole did a story on increasing noctilucent clouds, as reported by NASA. She asked the Facebook crew if anyone had a "local" photograph. Bill remembered mine. I sent Nicole the link to my blog post of Jul 2011. She liked what she saw.

The Global News article—Rare, shimmering nighttime clouds on the rise, NASA says—is up now. Ha! My photo is front n' centre.

I thanked Nicole. And Bill!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

lost at Sky & Tel

Sky and Telescope changed their web site. As usual, it's gonna take a while to find stuff. They assure us it is still all there. That may be so but I'm struggling to find things.


The links I have to the double star lists still work. But they are mapping stuff...

a bit more detail

And again.

Much more aggressive wavelets. Touched the gamma a little. And I did some RGB shifting.

Too much?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

stacked Mars from last week

Tried stacking Mars again. Registax 6.

Manually selected the best frames.