Saturday, November 30, 2013

happy 145

Wished the RASC Toronto Centre a happy birthday!

TS6 on netbook v2

Installed TheSky 6 onto the netbook John Phil. Now able to control the Toronto Centre Paramount again (from SkyTools)...

Too lazy though to go out to the GBO to test-drive it.

doubled security coverage

Configured the Swann DVR, via local monitor and mouse. Jacked into our LAN. Tested it via the iPad. Everything worked. Updated our IP plan, after finding a back-up copy (yeh!) of the document.

It's doubleplusgood.

finished camera wire drops

Finished the wiring of the new Swann cameras. Took a quick break. Grace and Tony were on their way back from the Collingwood marine hospital.

the install

Began the Swann security system install.

I think we have everything...

tried debugging the wind

Still no wind data. The Davis Instruments console was not reporting speed or direction despite the anemometer spinning. I tried resetting the console. Finally, I gracefully shut it down then disconnected it from the USB cable. If I had time after the security install, if it wasn't too windy, I'd climb up and check the cables...

Friday, November 29, 2013

windy observing (Blue Mountains)

Around 11:00 PM. In the Geoff Brown Observatory. The Paramount was up and running.

Opened the roof. Jammed half-way! Huh? Probably I let go of the button... Damn. Looked for some tools. Found a small counterweight. That shocked the motor. Noticed it was very windy.

11:14. Realised I had not set the Sony voice recorder back to Standard time.

Turned the dew heaters on!

Headed to Jupiter. Pointing was off. Dramatically off. Nowhere near. Incredible. Why?

11:20. Used the UO finder scope to manually slew to the gas giant. At least it was well-aligned.

Moons equally spaced. The seeing looked really good. Thought I saw a shadow...

Really windy. And gusting. It made my eyes water. Not enjoyable.

Went to the house to check SkyTools. Also coaxed Grace and Tony out for a quick look at Jupiter.

Slewed to the Great Orion Nebula (Messier 42 or M42). It was fantastic.

Grace came into the Warm Room. She was really cold.

We wanted to close the roof a bit to block some wind. Ha! Roof drive didn't work. Finally, Tony was nearby. We did some diagnostics. In the dark we checked for sparks: none. We confirmed the contractor was working and supplying power to the motor. Tony used a flashlight and viewed through the vents at the bottom of the motor casing and located the switch. He was able to spot the switch. He let me have a look. I too saw the switch.

11:50. We completely closed the roof. Done. Grace headed to the house. Parked the Paramount.

11:53. Took some SQM readings. I operated the sensor and Tony recorded the numbers. Around 20.30. Not great. Temp was -3.

We talked about cold movies, like The Thing, and Apollo 13. Grace checked the temperature in Thornbury: -14.

It was time for snow beer!

Finally plugged in the USB hard warmers... A little late!

packing light?

Loaded up the van for the northbound trip. Logistically challenge: stuff from the work week not needed; extra calendars; tools and warm clothes required. Snow beer. Gah. Lots of stuff. But I had arranged for a large hiking back pack. We hit the road...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

managed some more calendars

Sold and reserved some RASC calendars privately.

Was stood-up again but agreed to leave them behind for pick-up with the assurance that payment would be sent in advance.

shared old collimation article

Phil sent a note to the membership relaying the Canadian Tire 66% off sale of the Celestron 15x70 binoculars. 50 bucks! Wow! He also reminded people how I had taught many how to correct the collimation problems. Chris M., in turn, scoured the Yahoo!Group and found a reference to my article on the web site. The old web site... And of course that didn't go anywhere. I provided the correct link, into the super-secret archived site.

Old, dead:


Chris was happy. I wished there was a more graceful solution for our members...

tested iPad client

Put a VNC client on Grace's iPad. It worked really well. That was easy.

ISON is gone

ISON is gone, ripped apart as it grazed the Sun. C/2012 S1 is an ex-comet. Quiet all of a sudden. Nobody know's what to do... it seems.

I keep thinking about all the "comet of the century" headlines. I hope those posters learned something. But probably not.

When have magazines and newspapers not sensationalised things? To sell a few more copies.

The only good news out of all this is that we (the serious scientists and astronomers) learned a little bit more about these fickle harbingers.

to protect the new gear

Picked up from The Source a good surge protector for the new Swann DVR system. Tony'd like it: it had jacks for ethernet cords.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

what about the plate covers?

I was a little disappointed that the AGM discussion did not mention the new RASC vehicle licence plate covers. A lot of work went into this project. It was made possible by Mr Guerrero. It was making some money for the centre. And creating a new way of getting our name out there. Something that should make all the strategic planning fanatics happy.

RASC misc

Tied up a bunch of other loose ends at the RASC meeting...

Collected some overdue CAO overnight fees. Finally. Ha! I know where you live...

Swapped CAO keys with Tim H.

Distributed the projector remote 2025 batteries to the DDO and Education teams.

Chatted briefly with Chris V about the new owners telescope clinic.

Talked briefly with Denis about the address handling with SkyNews.

Gave Phil my tools to affect a tire repair; he forgot to give me his software disc...

Tony and I continued our discussion of tools and bits needed for the coming weekend. 

sold more calendars

While not nearly as many as the previous gathering, 16 this time, I sold more RASC calendars. Before and after the meeting(s), that is, around the talk on quasars and around the annual general meeting.

Also reserved calendars for future speakers, First Light, and NOVA.


Neat: Leslie had some of the new $5 bills.

learned about quasars

Dr. Paola Rodriguez Hidalgo was great. Really enjoyed her talk on quasars.

Learned a lot.

received ball

Grace gave me a Christmas tree decoration, a small gold-coloured ball.

It would serve as my false star for my focusing mask presentation...

dropped Swann

No, I didn't drop the DVR (someone else did). Packed up the Swann gear and dropped it off at Tony's. For transfer to the CAO on the weekend.

visited Electronics Alley

Found some cheap dial light timers at Sayal. The digital ones currently at the CAO seem to be confounding people.

Snagged an extra LS-18 for the Panasonic at the CAO.

Checked out long focal length CCTV cameras at AA Electronics. Perhaps for a future install.

Picked up some BNC female-to-female connectors. And some coin batteries. For the Centre projector remotes. And the Canon 40D.

Also picked up some weekend supplies... lubrication... as it were.

thanks anyway

He had found it "in a box from the move." Mr Mortfield offered his Photoshop Astronomy DVD. I'm good.

calendar herding

I had dropped the calendars to Charles's shop. When I started to get nervous the impending weather. Reminded him what I needed at the Wednesday meeting.


Thought about it later. Flawed logic on my part. I had not reduced risk or solved anything; I had moved all the eggs from one basket to another basket. Should have kept one box back... Oh well.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

look where the Sun shines

Humans probably can't seen C/2012 S1 (ISON) any more. But the various solar telescopes can! Be sure to check out the JAXA and NASA web sites associated with the noted telescopes over the next few days...
  • Nov 21-28: STEREO-A
  • Nov 26-29: STEREO-B; the only craft positioned to watch ISON transit the face of the Sun
  • Nov 27-30: SOHO
  • Nov 28-29: STEREO-A
  • Nov 28: SDO; for about 3 hours around perihelion
  • Nov 28: Japan's Hinode; for about 1 hour around perihelion
Now, that said, the data from these satellites has to be sent "down" and then processed. So we might still not see things immediately.

stale data at CIOC

The world is waiting with baited breath and the Comet ISON Observing Campaign web site is over a day old. Come on!

The light curve is stale too. Sheesh.

tripled the budget

Asked for more budget for the next clinic. Triple!

Monday, November 25, 2013

considered clinic

Sent a message on the Operations group. Asked if we want to do the new owners telescopic clinic again. Provided links to my formal report. I didn't say it in this message but I wanted to see what kind of support I'd get. And if they read the report, they'd see that I didn't want to do it all by myself again...


Chris thought it a great idea and offered to help again.

Allard thought it a great event. He "ran the numbers" and found that 12 people of the 33 were members. He said it was a "pretty good conversion." Not exactly. 11 of those were already members. As far as I know, we only converted one. Then he suggested a different type of clinic only for members, with higher level items.

Leslie said it would be good to do after Christmas.

Phil said he was willing to help.

Ralph offered to help.

Katrina said she was willing to volunteer.

Eric said that it should be noted in SCOPE, if we proceed.

Ed said, "I'm in again."

Jason thought it a great idea and something that we do every year.

I started to reach out to those first respondents so to build an organisational team...

running out of ideas

Tried to help Karsten with Stellarium issues with Windows 8.x on a laptop. He was getting the error: "Stellarium has stopped working, a problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available." I had him download again (with the correct bitness), reinstall again (after deleting all the old files).

sent IT report

Submitted the (brief) information technology report to the RASC Toronto Centre secretary.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

again, a better price

Allard surfed into the RASC eStore and noted the price of the calendar. He asked if the Toronto Centre was "price matching." No. Bettering! Guess he missed my message on the general Yahoo!Group on November 1 wherein I pointing the $8 savings a member would realise. Not to mention my response to Eric's similar question in the Ops group of late October.


Reminded some of the exec to be ready with the inclement weather policy...


Lots of snow at the observatory. 9 inches? Maybe 12? Wow.

Damn. Looks like we'll need the Snow Cat!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

reviewed the Moon

Entered, from the new Observer's Handbook, all the 2014 new Moon dates into the Psion. Four of them are on weekends and five of them are near weekends.

Also, using the RASC Handbook, I calculated the Lunar X opportunities. I only see one: February 6. And it's a good one, started at 9:32 PM, 3 hours after sunset, peaking at 11:52 PM when the Moon is 41° up, and finishing at 2:12 AM.

updated Rainmeter

Updated Rainmeter on John Charles. Finally, I have dynamic Clear Sky Charts.

The code came from Kevdog on Cloudy Nights

Friday, November 22, 2013

some private sales

Sold a few RASC calendars privately.

Tried to set-up another meeting with my no-show.

Some strange missives. An early message said that a pick-up in Mississauga would be far better than in Don Mills. A later message said that 905-land was too far. Huh?

pulled the cover

Did more DVR testing. Pulled the cover. Shot more photos. Sent a message via the Facebook page... Looks like it's been pranged!

relayed double star date info

Sent out a clarifying note to Malcolm Park (and David Cotterell) of NYAA to explain the date (year and sometimes month) shown in SkyTools. When asked, during my presentation, what it meant, I had conjectured it was the update date; no, it was simply the reference date for the PA and Sep based on the binary orbital elements calculations.


No reply as of 15 May 2014.

found old mistakes

Installed the SkyTools update. Then reviewed the list of past typographical errors I have found in planning software. Noted that Greg had corrected a misspelling in the Observing List printout but not other typos in dialogs...

OLT canceled

Funny from xkcd today...

The End.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

learned Swann product

Did more testing of the Swann system. After a chat-remote access session with a tech support rep, I sorted a few issues. Dropped the bit rate on each channel. This should reduce flashing and quality issues. Stopped streaming the channels with no camera attached. Which dramatically sped up performance. Learned that the custom camera locations in the 4x or 9x grid cannot be saved. But the tech offered to make a note. Good. Learned where the new versions are uploaded. Handy! And, finally, was given the senior tech contact info in Aussieland for getting the humidity and temp specs.

ride the comet

Encouraged RASC members to jump into Stellarium, go to comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), turn around and look at the Sun, as the comet snapped through perihelion.

Hell of a ride...

screwy dates

Peter pointed out the reversal of the format in the original dates Allard had proposed.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

mesmerising comets

Love this image of comets Encke and ISON being shoved around by the Sun.

It clearly shows that the solar wind and coronal mass ejections dramatically affect the tails of comets.

final date set

Allard said, "looks like December 14 is the most convenient date for everyone, starting at 1 pm at the DDO so that is the day we are going to get together." I blocked off the day.

up to two

This year's blog posts pushed past year 2011, with new posts added today, moving into the number 2 spot.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

tested with white LED

Quickly made a false star. Focusing presentation in December...

Canon 40D, 18-55 lens at 55, f/5.6, ISO 800, 2 seconds.

southern shots shared

Manuel shared some photos from the southern hemisphere. Fantastic!


I watched the CubeSat launch on the computer. Katrina thinks she saw the rocket from her house! A glow low in the sky. Cool. I wish I had known about the visibility map before hand... Never thought about that: rockets from Wallops might be spotted up here in the Great White North.

helped George

Helped George get onto the RASC Yahoo!Group. On reviewing the notes on the old web site, I found that they needed a slight revamp for the recent Yahoo changes...

Ken says it's lumpy

Ken Hewitt-White spoke of a lumpy sky, in the Nov/Dec SkyNews, when searching for subtle dim galaxies in Abell 347. Exactly!

Monday, November 18, 2013

what about others?

I asked Allard if others, not on the Ops group, had been invited. More should be on the web site writing team. Lots more!

watched MAVEN launch

Watched the launch of the NASA MAVEN orbiter. On to Mars!


Sunday, November 17, 2013


Hit 1000 entries today. Firmly established in third place, for the number of blog entries per year. Only 31 to go to make second place...

CAO movie up

Helped Dietmar get the CAO promotional video onto Vimeo. It is fantastic!

The new text overlays look great. Ralph's narration is really good. Dietmar's filming and production is wonderful. Well done all.

procured calendars

I put aside a couple of RASC calendars for the CAO.

mini course proposed

Allard sent out a note on the Ops Yahoo!Group. The webteam was ready to deliver a hands-on course at the DDO for authors and editors of the web site. At last! They proposed two dates: "Saturday 7/12 1-4pm and Saturday 12/14 at 10am-1pm."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

books are back

U of T sent their books back to the DDO. Library looks normally again.


sold calendars at DDO

Found the sealed box and cart that Charles had left for me at the DDO. Sold a few RASC calendars. Kevin wanted a couple. The first sale of the evening. Steve wanted one but didn't have any cash. I could not convince Al, the budding imager, to buy despite pointing out that the photos might be very inspirational... Chris was very happy to learn, after the talks, that I had some left—he took one.

not a great talk

Delivered my talk on comet hunting at the David Dunlap Observatory during the first Members Night evening for the winter season. I was not really happy with the presentation. Gosh, darn it. Provided a very detailed handout with emphasis on using planetarium or planning software.

Maybe I used too many acronyms...


Handout available in the presentations section of the lumpy companion.

noted Karen's nudge

Karen said it would be "great" to do new owners telescope clinic again. Ugh. We're already behind the eight ball...

could proceed with learning

After putting out an appeal on the RASC Toronto Centre Yahoo!Group, and then a few gyrations, I received the Photoshop Astronomy sample files. Thanks to Mr Markov and Mr McNair. Woo hoo! Now I can proceed with my lessons, from chapter 5 (of Phil's book).

all OK

Ostap sent down a report. All's well at the Carr.

stood up

Was asked if I could sell some RASC calendars privately to a member. Booked a morning meet-up as they headed out of town.

A no-show without a follow-up phone call. Mucked up my plans.

Lovejoy fainter (Mississauga)

Viewed comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) in the Questar 3½ at 40x atop the large camera tripod.
Instrument: Questar 3½-inch Mak
Mount: tripod
Method: star hopping
As expected I knew it would take me a little while to find the comet.

First focused the telescope using Jupiter. Three moons visible. North and south belts visible.

Tried Alula Borealis and Australis as my star hop launching point. I think. At one point I realised I was looking at 46 Leo Minor and its little grouping of 3 bright and 1 faint star. Headed up and left! Spotted 27, 28, and 30. From there moved down a bit and to the right. Got it!

Faint! Seemed much fainter than the view yesterday in binoculars. I wondered if the sky was brighter with the clouds and damn full Moon and impending Sun. Could not detect the tail.

Stray light was bothersome. Should have worn a hoodie. Or brought out the Cloak of Doom.

Wondered about ISON. Grabbed the binoculars and tried to find Spica. From the deck, it was low, behind the trees.

Viewed ruddy orange Mars beside a white-blue star, σ (sigma) Leo, at 7x.

Noted Cor Caroli. Briefly considered some double star viewing. Nope. My bed was calling.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Holy. At some point recently the page views went over 100 000. Crazy. Probably 99% are from stupid bots.

first notice received

Received a 2014 membership renewal notice from RASC national office robot. The first reminder email.

grabbed third box

Swung by Charles's shop. Need some RASC calendars for some pre-arranged sales on Friday and Saturday morning. It would mean cracking a third box... I told him not to worry.

spotted Lovejoy (Mississauga)

Something fell off the bed. The noise woke me. It was 5:12 AM. I had fallen asleep reading The Grim Grotto...

I could see out the window. And it was dark. Suggested no clouds. It had been fairly clear last night. I laid for a while thinking about comets. I should get up? Try to see something?

Wondered where the binoculars were. In the car, I recalled. I wondered where the big camera tripod was. Wasn't sure.

Ugh. It was early. Almost didn't get up. But I considered there probably would not be a lot of opportunities... Headed to the back yard after grabbing the cheapo Bushnells...

Noted Jupiter off to the south-west.

Almost directly overhead. Started scanning between the Sickle and the Big Dipper.

Spotted comet C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy).

It was west of 27, 28, and 30 Leo Minoris and east of 20 and HR 3979. I could see 22 LMi below.

The comet's faint tail went up and to the right.

Not visible naked eye...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

received OH 2014

Found the RASC Observer's Handbook 2014 in the super mailbox.

Yeh! Whew! I won't have to chase this down. Like I did my SkyNews magazine.

That cover? That's not a photo...

Looking forward to reviewing... when I have a chance. Over the holidays, probably.

helped Knox

Helped Knox with the RASC Toronto Centre Yahoo!Group email. I think he's feeling a little disconnected. It is partly that the Daily Digest message is sent the morning after...

I suggested that switching back to immediate mode but have a target folder with a rule might be the way to go.

sent thanks and apology

Sent a note to the RASC members via Yahoo. Thanked all for supporting our calendar sales the night before. And apologised to those who were left empty-handed. But assured those without that we had many in stock. And that there would be many opportunities over the next couple of weeks to get some.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

received Swann

I received the Swann camera and DVR kit from Tony. To shake down.

found the original

Found the Nov/Dec SkyNews at my old place. Damn.

will help us out

Spotted Tony chatting with our new neighbour Michael after the meeting. I mosied over. Michael was offering to keep an eye on things up at the CAO. It was a hop-skip-and-a-jump for him. Wow. I, for one, felt relief. We gave him a key set.

sold 50 just like that

Sold the RASC calendars (for 2014) after the meeting. And in about 15 minutes we had sold all from the box, all 50! Unfortunately, I still had a line up. I had to turn people away!

Unfortunately, I didn't learn until later that Charles had another box in his truck! I could have sold more...

he left with it

Mr Markov forgot to give me his Photoshop Astronomy DVD.

he got 'em!

Charles reported the RASC calendars had been delivered to his office. Finally!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

still wayward

Asked Eric when the next SCOPE deadline was, given that the "current" one, yesterday actually, we seemed to not be following. I tried to say that the deadlines were very helpful to me. But now I was a bit lost.

He replied fairly promptly. Admitted the current schedule didn't make sense. Also said he never really understood a deadline close to the AGM where published information, like the current council, would immediately go stale. For this reason, he'd be releasing the next issue in early December. And, lastly, something about grooming the "next editor."

readied keys

Prepared some SkyTools Starter Edition keys for Leslie for the NOVA course.

ready to track

Made up a cash tracking spreadsheet for the calendar sales.

weeks prior

It occurred to me last night, suddenly, well into November, that I had not received the Nov/Dec issue of SkyNews. Which is rather odd, given that on September 13, I informed the magazine—directly—of my address change (which they acknowledged) while at the same time I updated my online data at the RASC National web site (not acknowledged).

'Round midnight, I sent out an email to a few friends, to see if they had received their copy.

The copy of the message to Katrina bounced. Her host, or an associated service provider, host, issued a 550 error: High probability of spam. I had blind-copied people. Ugh. Sent her the same message but directly, personally. Bounced again. Peas and rice!

A little after 9 in the morning, Charles replied, "Late possibly." Um...

Later, chatted with Katrina via the Book of Face. She said she had received her copy. Damn. Well, that's not bad. For her.

Visited the (new and improved) SkyNews web site. Checked the "current issue" page, which usually takes a while to get updated. There was the current cover. And it did not look familiar.

Denise at SkyNews responded promptly. Not surprisingly, it was a bit out of her hands. But generously and immediately put a copy in the mail for me. Fast!

Surfed into the RASC National web site and logged in... Crikey. They don't make it at all obvious how you change your contact info. Grumble, click, grumble, click, scan, scan, back up, scan, click, no, click, retreat, grumble, scan, no. No. I recalled this feeling of frustration from before... No apparent links from the "main" site. So I headed to the eStore, logged in again, and verified what I knew: the address was correct.

Let Phil and Ralph that I had updated my address with both parties but had not received the magazine. Posited that this was due to a long time delay between RASC providing the active membership list to magazine's people. Apparently about 4 weeks. And that that seemed strange. Should it not be ALAP?!

Messaged Melissa at National. At noon.

Phoned the office around 3:30 regarding another matter... Melissa picked up. Funny (odd): she didn't say a thing about the address issue.

Melissa replied to my email at 4:23 PM.
Thank you for contacting the Society office.  We pull the list weeks prior to publication and distribution dates.
I shot back, "Why?" I wondered if doing it as late as possible wouldn't solve some problems...
Sending a list that is weeks old will have expired (past the grace period) members, not embrace new members (who may have immediate gratification issues), and not reflect dynamic changes in data (which is what appears to have happened to me).
But I also considered it may be out of their hands:
I can imagine SkyNews needs some lead time of course to receive the data, do what they need to do to it, print labels, and submit the labels.  Do they need "weeks" of time for that?
In the Age of the Internet, this just seems peculiar to me. Slow. Old fashioned? Is this happening due to an old, established process, predating electronic communications?

Once again, to me, this speaks to something deeper. Should RASC be driving toward faster and more accurate response so to improve the customer experience? It would be better for members if these kinds of things didn't happen at all. Is that possible? No. But surely "weeks" is too big a gap. No matter. Again, maybe this is dictated by the magazine's requirements or demands.

Still—and here's the simple part—tell us! If it's gonna take 4 or 5 weeks for an address change to trickle down, say that! State it on the web site. State it in the address form. Add the sentence. Be transparent. Reduce surprise. Comfort the member. Simple!

calendars delivered


Called the National Office and chatted with Melissa. She said the RASC calendars Charles had ordered were delivered, hand delivered, to his office some time this afternoon. Thanked us for our patience. Apologised for not following up yesterday: something about the post office being closed. Ironically, Charles was on the road and was not planning to return to the office. But he offered to contact me first thing tomorrow morning.

Once I know he has them, then I can let the membership know... And then I'll need to drum up some float money.

Monday, November 11, 2013

back up bother

Having a heck of a time backing up the blog. httrack can do it but I don't know the right configuration so it won't follow all the search links... Probably gonna have to do a bit of coding and try to remember regex again...

CAO report in work

Grace offered to prepare the Carr Astronomical Observatory annual report. Thanks! She pulled visitor and volunteers names from the guest book. I referred her to past reports.

still no news

Charles called National about the calendars...

heated compass

I tried to fix my old compass. There was an air bubble in the chamber. I heard that gentle heating would possibly remove it. I tried heating it in the sunlight. Then I put it under the Tizio. And I could see the bubble reduce. But when the compass cooled off, it swelled again.

Added a new compass to my wish list...

no word

Told Charles I had not heard anything about the RASC calendars since the 30th. He said he hadn't either. The last report from Melissa was that they'd start shipping Nov 1 or 2...

Saturday, November 09, 2013


Nice. Grace sent down a nice photo. She was enjoying a beverage by the fire.

Friday, November 08, 2013

webteam report received

The webteam sent in their report to the secretary.

what goes 'round

Happy birthday, Carl.

It was Dr Sagan, in Cosmos, many years ago, who said: "We are made of star stuff." Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. And dust to stars. Stars to planets. And then life. Directly and indirectly. Around and around we go.

The beautiful whimsical video called Ruby by Emma Allen reminds us that as we slip the mortal coil, we just go back into the darkness, back into the Universe life-making machine.

I wonder what Nancy the domestic cat will come back as...

going anyway

Tony was heading up to the CAO for the weekend. He had taken over Dietmar's shift. He left the membership know that we'd be open despite the poor weather forecast.


He decided to take the Swann system to do some trials.


We had also booked a visit by a roofer.


I had Tony take some measurements for me as I updated the site diagrams.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

resumed learning

Worked on chapter 2 in Photoshop Astronomy. Caught up.

Dextre on fiver

Sharmin shared that the new Canadian 5 dollar bill would feature the Dextre robot, along with the Canadarm and an astronaut.

Cool! Very cool, actually.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

can you see me now?

Tony picked up the Swann system on spec. He tested a camera at home. Shot stills of the CCTV image on an old CRT TV. And also captured a movie. The IR performance was impressive.

shared expectations

I raised some concerns about security DVR systems. First, the limited environmental operational range. Cable runs if we wanted coverage from the south. Placement if we wanted high detail at the driveway or parking lot. I wanted better support for remote access, i.e. more devices. And I wanted a confirmation that recording would be at high resolution.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

observed from bus stop (Mississauga)

Jupiter up high and very bright. Mars a deep ruddy orange. Further from Regulus now.

I was surprised finding the Big Dipper opposite Bristol, over the 403. This neighbourhood must be canted at a 45° angle.

Increasing clouds...

Monday, November 04, 2013

members saw the eclipse

They proved me wrong. The gaggle of RASC members saw the solar eclipse. The tail end of it. Good for them.

I was not prepared to get up that early...

Sunday, November 03, 2013

not this year

I had to decline the invite. I would have centred my trip on this weekend. Work. Life. It was just not a good time. A little sad. Maybe next year I could visit the Arizona Sky Village.

I had even cleaned my shoes...

he wanted it

Tony spotted a good Swann security system on a rebate sale at TigerDirect. 960H, 9 channels, 4 cameras with 700 TV lines, and a 1TB hard drive. He was chomping the bit...

Frank captured it

Frank spotted the Moon in front of the Sun. Shot a pic. Posted on his blog.

we spotted Jupiter (Toronto)

Spotted the big Jovian planet. Just below the clouds. Tony saw it too.

Friday, November 01, 2013

inspired by the conference

Read the interesting article on communicating science and astronomy over at Sky and Telescope... Struck a cord or two. The RASC encounters many of the outreach and education challenges raised at the conference in Poland. Sounded like an amazing event. It would have been a thrill to be in the room...


There's also lots of great info at the CAP site.

built some buzz

Told our members, via the RASC TC Yahoo!Group, that we were expecting our calendar shipment very soon.

And that we'd begin selling them at the meeting night on the 13th... I also pointed out how much money they'd save!

not gonna open

I sent a note to the membership... As the designated CAO supervisor, I was not going to open the Carr Astronomical Observatory for the weekend. It was looking like lots of rain and very high, possibly 100 km/h, winds. And then a chance of snow on Sunday! On a new Moon weekend. Boo!