Thursday, November 26, 2015

new council acclaimed

The new council slate was acclaimed at the RASC Toronto Centre meeting. I'm on-board for another year. Er, more than that.

It was very challenging at times, more difficult than I expected it to be. Part of that is just operations. Running a large volunteer organisation is getting more difficult. Another part is the people involved. Some are strong willed, which is a good thing overall. Some of us are stubborn.

Still, I have committed to another 3 years—for the members. I believe it important that I represent and serve the membership and ensure they are being treated fairly.

no go

A couple of clear back-to-back nights this week... Of course, the Moon was out. And I had a mountain of work to do. So, no, no time to play.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

hairy dark matter

Read an interesting article found on Astronomy magazine's web site. Recent astronomer simulations suggest that dark matter, as it passes through a planet or star, might form into fine, very dense filaments or hairs. Gary Pr├ęzeau of JPL describes these hairs having roots and tips with the roots starting relatively close to the surface of a planet. Looks like a spiky urchin.

And here I thought dark matter was lumpy.

stuck the landing

Blue Origin made history yesterday. They successfully landed their New Shepard rocket, after reaching the planned altitude of 100 kilometres, back on Earth. They touched it down at 4.4 miles per hour.

That is not a CGI image! See the promotional video on YouTube. While a very different system compared to the SpaceX, it clearly shows that booster rockets can be reused.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I have a shadow

The Moon followed me home again. Wished it wouldn't do that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

next meeting set

Next RASC Toronto Centre council meeting is set for January 6.



attended council meeting

Attended the RASC Toronto Centre council meeting. It was held at St Joan of Arc church. I connected from home by Skype.

Binary Universe: Virtual Moon Atlas

cover of the RASC Journal 2015 December
The December issue of the RASC Journal was made available today.

My sixth installment in the Binary Universe column was included.

Wow. It's been one year!

This edition features a review of Virtual Moon Atlas version 6.1, specifically the AtLun component.

Monday, November 16, 2015

13 hours later (Bradford)

Half a day later. Dark sky again, walking home. Crescent Moon starting to yellow. Cygnus up high in the west. Albireo. To the right, bright blue-white Vega. Aquila, flying west. Behind me, where the Big Dipper was in the morning, now stood Cassiopeia. Perseus, well up. The Pleiades.

Venus, Mars, Jupiter (Bradford)

I finally saw them!

Beautiful dark blue sky as I left home for the train station. Venus, Mars, Jupiter in a straight line. Venus was over 30 degrees up!

Could see a star beside brilliant Venus: Porrima. And a faint one between red Mars and bright Jupiter: Zavijava. Then beyond Jupiter a bright star: Regulus. All in a perfect line.

Below, a bright star: Spica. Flickering.

Big Dipper up high. Ruddy Arcturus down and right. Also flickering.

I block later I spotted a faint satellite moving eastbound. Dimmer than Zavijava.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

delivered NOVA talk

Delivered a NOVA presentation at York University. Stars, constellations, coordinate systems, etc. Small-ish crowd. Waited to 5 minutes after to begin. Lots of good questions, there seemed to be good general interest. But I ran late, unfortunately, and that meant I had to skip the Stellarium demo. More seriously, we had to cancel the observatory tour. I felt bad. Just not on my game today...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

ring ring

Caught the new cute video from the European Space Agency. Once Upon a Time... Living with a Comet.

It recapped the Philae touch-down on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the analyses of the gases and particles. Tugged at the heartstrings too: poor Philae.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

found widget name

Sorted the aurora app matter with Android... That is, determined which app/widget it is that's on my ASUS Android's main screen. The widget with the little dynamic Sun and Earth icons, which shows the Kp and Bz. It is called Solaris. Figured this out, at last, when responding to Mike on Facebook. I've been using it for a while but I couldn't remember the official name. Download it from the Google Play store.


Part of the confusion was due to that I had never published the blog post, from April, immediately after trying the app...

Monday, November 09, 2015

updated CSAC profile

Recently reprogrammed my Clear Sky Alarm Clock profile for the new digs. Today, I received my first clear sky alert for Bradford.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

watched exoplanet video

Watched The Search for Another Earth, a very neat exoplanet video at JPL. Features Butler, Fischer, Tarter, Gaudi, Queloz, Mayor, Boss, Batalha, Seager, Borucki, Fanson, Siegler, Kalirai, and Barclay. Neat graphics. I like the transition pieces that look like chalk on a blackboard. Exciting times. It was cool to see Sara's star mask too.

Friday, November 06, 2015

for the reading list

While travelling TTC Line 2 from Yorkdale, I saw a guy reading The Science of Interstellar. Big hard cover. One time, as I glanced over, I noted an illustration of a singularity.

Interesting. Forgot about that book. Kip Thorne? I wonder if I should read it. I enjoyed the movie. One of the best presentations of time, excuse me, space-time, I think I've encountered.


w00t! Available at TPL, physical, virtual.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

multi-star system

Lots of suns on the wall! Ha ha!

The tiny holes in the Venetian blinds made a super-duper pinhole camera.

Monday, November 02, 2015


Happy birthday, Space Station!