Wednesday, April 29, 2015

attended council meeting

Participated in the RASC Toronto Centre council meeting at the DDO. Presented my findings on researching meeting spaces. Showed the comparison spreadsheet.

looked at rooms

Looking for a temporary home for RASC Toronto Centre meetings. Inspected lecture halls and meeting spaces at the University of Toronto with Bob. Took some photos.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

rebuilt mount

Reassembled the Vixen.

Tried the GoToStar. Ran it through it's paces.

Couldn't find the F-F jack coupler so to make the extension cable...

oiled the clamps

Oiled the tripod cam clamp thingees. The centre pin of the Lee Valley is some sort of metal that is getting rusty in dewy and damp conditions. The handles are painted. They're fine. Cleaned the pins and then oiled them. Hopefully they'll resist water a bit better in the future.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

installed aurora app

Installed an aurora app to the Android tablet, Solaris. In particular, displayed the KP widget on the "home" screen. It shows the Bz value!


I like the simple infographics. Finally found one that I like...

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Didn't publish this post immediately, which made for some confusion.

Friday, April 24, 2015

position vacated?

Hey. Just noticed that the volunteer coordinator is no longer listed in the RASC Toronto Centre SCOPE newsletter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

quick processing

Pushed all the lights and darks through DSS. And then some minor (quick) processing in Ps. About 30 light and dark frames.


Interesting. Down to mag 9-10. North is up; east is left.

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Ha ha. I caught Messier 67 (M67) as well!

Lovely orange X Cancri below-right of Jupiter. Not a hot pixel!

And then FZ Cnc. Hot fuzz.

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Wikipedia links: Beehive Cluster, Messier 67, and chi Cancri.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

fun at the Forks (Caledon)

Real quick processing of shots from tonight. All shot with Canon 40D, kit 18-55 lens at 35, daylight white balance, raw format, custom barn door tracker on tripod. Focused with EOS Utility and Y-mask.

Slight editing in DPP.

First, Orion setting. ISO 1600, f/4.5, 30 seconds.


Then Cancer with Jupiter near the Beehive (Messier 44, M44). ISO 800, f/5.6, 45 seconds.


Shot 20 subs and 20 darks for the latter so will have a go at stacking.

imaging together (Caledon)

7:55 PM, Saturday 18 April 2015. Nicole pinged me at  "Be there in 2." I started hauling my gear outside.

We wanted some snacks. I forgot to make a pit stop on the way so we rolled up to Caledon.

Overshot the road to the park—I actually saw the non-reflective sign out of the corner of my eye. We doubled back. And, despite using Nicole's iPhone with GPS, overshot MacLaren Road again! OK. Finally on track.

The dirt road in was in terrible shape! Wow. Just horrible. Even at 1 or 2 km/h, we were getting tossed around.

Spotted someone in the parking lot with a 'scope. Huh. How about that.

Never did chat with them.

Helped Nicole set up. She was going to image through the OTA.

I wanted to image with my barn door tracker.

9:23 PM. Nicole spotted the "ISSpresso!" Dang! I wanted to image it! I was still not set up.

Didn't hear an alarm from the Android. But then it was still in the car.

Used focusing mask and the computer.

10:19. Viewed Io on limb of Jupiter. Neat, super bright, over the darkened limb. Never seen that before.

SkyTools seemed really slow.

Met Frank a few minutes back. New member of the Mississauga RASC. Hi.

10:48. Did detailed polar alignment with SkyTools.

10:54. Tried imaging Cancer. Manually plate-solved. Head of Hydra.

Jupiter at the top of the frame. Ah! Just caught the Beehive. Re-aimed.

Nicole set up for the Messier 51 (M51).

11:11. I tried Cancer again.

Parking lot got busy...

Tried some of my astro apps in the field. SkySafari Plus worked really good. The magnets in the keyboard freaked out the magneto-sensor.

11:55. Took SQM readings with Nicole's iPhone. 18.08, 19.80, and 19.81.

12:05 AM, Sunday 19 April 2015. I spotted Saturn rising.

Nicole kept remarking that the sky was "so bright." I explained that she was fully dark adapted.

No meteors, sadly.

And, suddenly, we were done.

Packed up.

I shot darks. At first I didn't want to touch the lens so I "black-hatted" it. But my winter toque then fell off.

When Nicole started packing up, I put the lens cap on .

Still didn't have enough. So I initiated another run and put the tethered-camera in the car.

12:42 AM. Noted some landmarks... 2125 after it, McLaren Rd. 1240 on Forks Rd.

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Had made a note to follow-up on my packing list: ensure the USB kit is included or tagged when planning astro-photography.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

reviewed weather

Looked at the weather for tonight. Overall, good.


Clear Sky Chart for The Forks showed good transparency and average seeing.


The ADDS was looking very good. Dark orange in our region.


Clear Outside summary said green. Ooh. Flyover around 9:00 PM...


And Weather Underground looked good. Nowhere near the dew point.

Monday, April 13, 2015

already booked

Malcolm asked if I'd participate in the 2015 Starfest as Telescope Repair Man, once again. Checked my calendar. Dang. I have another (astronomy) commitment.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

repaired Nicole's old booster

Repaired Nicole's old booster pack. Picked up a new SLA from A1 in Etobicoke (near Sherway Gardens). 

The barnacle there actually cracked a joke... Wow. 

Found some big power connectors too! Cheap.


Now Nicole has two power tanks!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

received new radio

Received package from Midland. Replacement emergency weather radio.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sagan sampled

One of my favourite online music streaming sites is The Buzzoutroom. Very nice chill, downtempo, triphop, etc. I've heard a few times now the song Sun Moon and Stars by Audiokern.


Then it hit me one time: I know that voice! They sampled Sagan from the original Cosmos series. Episode 3, I believe, the Harmony of the Worlds show.

"These people paid a lot of attention to the sun, and the moon, and the stars. Why?"

what star is that?

Tried SkySafari aimed at the sky. It was Spica near the Moon. So there you go. Neat!

Friday, April 03, 2015

a star is born

It's about time!

When we look around ourselves, in our galaxy, we see stars and stuff. For a long time, we have refined our understand of stellar lifecycles.

A good number of interesting objects are planetary nebulae, i.e. the remnants of dead stars. And, of course, we regularly see old stars popping off, as novae or supernovae. I don't know if we've caught one of these events in action but we're close. One day, all is normal; the next day, something exploded. And lots of telescopes get aimed at the event to gather lots of data. New detectors might helped us aim before the explosions begin.

My impression has been that of late is that we have had a great deal of success finding what appear to be new systems, solar systems beginning to form, discs of spinning dust and gas. The structures within the Eagle Nebula and the Carina Nebula are fascinating and harbour evaporating gaseous globules.

Still, I don't think we've seen any ignition events. It would be very exciting to see a swirling proto-solar-system, with a very dense hot object at the centre, suddenly turn on, light up, trigger.

I stumbled across the BBC article Star's birth glimpsed 'in real time' which reports on before and after radio telescope data showing a massive star being born. The magnetic signature is also rather telling. Hopefully object W75N(B)-VLA2 will surrender more secrets.

torn down Earth and Moon

I removed the Earth and Moon element from the blog. It appeared to create a weakness on the Android platform. I will elevate the alternate Moon phase widget...

Thursday, April 02, 2015

designed new case

Look my first 3D printing lesson at the Toronto Public Library.

We started with Sculptris. Quickly we moved into 123D. James gave a demo of OpenSCAD. Fun!


I worked on the new case...

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

found an old doodle

Stumbled across this today. It's old but cool.


The 1 April 2012 Google doodle celebrated the 13th anniversary of the four-unit VLT telescope: Antu, Kueyen, Melipal and Yepun.