Friday, January 02, 2015

reviewed 2014

Decided to do a year-end review. It's difficult to think positively given the poor conditions the last few months... But as I scanned the 2014 blog entries, I was pleasantly surprised:
  • viewed and imaged the supernova SN 2014J in M82
  • had a really good session at Mom's observatory although no one joined me
  • imaged Mars with DSLR shooting and stacking multiple frames
  • did some solo winter observing at the CAO
  • imaged supernova SN 2014ai in galaxy group ACO 779
    • which is the most distant supernova I've observed 
  • viewed and imaged some comets 
    • did a motion capture of comet Catalina C/2013 UQ4
  • caught a Camelopardalid meteor (just one)
  • saw the lowest horizon at CAO in May
  • saw magnitude 6.4 naked eye, at the CAO no less!
  • tried an ISS trail flyover wide-field image
  • tried an ISS tracking high-power image
  • viewed three quasars
  • did lots of solar observing
    • possibly saw the most sunspots at once, career, in one session
  • borrowed and enjoyed Ian's 8" wonderful custom Dob
  • imaged a few planetary nebulae 
    • produced a surprisingly satisfying Ring Nebula
    • reached mag 18 with C14 and DSLR
  • did wide field imaging with sky trackers, pro and custom
  • tried my old Vivitar Series 1 piggybacked
  • imaged Moon and Mars together
  • viewed all the planets
    • spotted Triton
  • made my first acceptable star trails image
  • still-imaged aurora
    • did a motion capture of aurora
  • picked up a used O-III filter
  • immensely enjoyed seeing Stephan's Quintet and the neighbours
  • immensely enjoyed the brief trip to Katrina's amazing cabin
  • had lots of fun observing and imaging with dos Santos
A little surprised at the amount of imaging I did.

Dramatically increased activities with double stars:
  • viewed many coloured doubles
  • viewed more doubles from the RASC Observer's Handbook
  • obtained the new edition of the Observing and Measuring Double Stars
  • made a candidate list for analysis
    • recruited local candidates
    • recruited national candidates
  • imaged a few systems
  • split ΞΆ (zeta) Herculis for the first time
    • made other sub-1" splits
  • surpassed 400 observed double stars
  • read more JDSO articles
Observing locations included:
  • Toronto
  • Richmond Hill
  • Mississauga
  • Blue Mountains
  • Union
  • Forks of the Credit Provincial Park
  • Glen Major Forest
  • Sundridge
  • Algonquin Province Park - Lake Travers
  • River Place Park
Neat. A couple of new ones. And I hadn't been to The Forks in years.

Other fun things:
  • ran the new owners telescope clinic for the second year
  • saw Chris Hadfield live, from the front row!
  • obtained an intervalometer for the DSLR
  • helped build a bigger igloo
    • assembled my first time lapse (of the igloo build) with music
  • repaired a number of 'scopes and mounts
    • ran the repair man booth at Starfest
  • attended the first aid training, with AED
  • rebuilt my Vixen SP mount, once, twice, three times
  • ran a walking tour of the David Dunlap Observatory for the members picnic
  • grew more comfortable with the DSLR camera
  • had my noctilucent clouds photo featured in Global News science piece
  • enjoyed the AstroCATS show
  • learned BYEOS, a little
  • accepted invitation to the RASC national observing committee
  • met Dr Sara Seager
  • helped at the CAO 
    • trained new supervisors  
    • helped organise and run work parties
    • helped with the locker project
    • helped with the roofing project 
  • finished named star list, with 662 entries
  • visited a meteor crater
  • visited and toured and imaged the Algonquin Radio Observatory
  • accepted invitation to write a RASC Journal column
  • accepted nomination for Toronto Centre councilor
  • started construction of custom barn door tracker
    • procured a good ball head
  • printed some astroimages, first time in a long time
    • printed some astroimages onto canvas, for gifts
Made some mistakes. Had some disappointments.
  • not making more progress in my Photoshop education
  • not staying late at work for the solar occultation
  • not sketching, at all
  • not shooting flats
  • didn't try the 100mm Vivitar lens
  • didn't plan sessions as effectively
So, despite not observing for last 3 months of last year, upon reflection, it was a pretty amazing.

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