Thursday, March 31, 2022

received Mitsky's missive

Received Dave Mitsky's Celestial Events update for April (via Cloudy Nights).

I do believe I forgot to apply this for March... 

set up Stellarium dates

Started setting up course dates in May and June for the Stellarium Training Series.

Now...

I need to pick a date for the Mobile!

made April almanac

Here's the almanac for April.

Made, once again, with the COELIX software.

almanac for April 2022

The planet weirdness continues. Effectively no planets to view in the middle of the evening. 

If you're a morning person... well... lots to see.

Have fun!

HST goes deeper again

Spotted a headline while quickly browsing Neatorama.

It said that while we're all salivating over JWST news items, ole' trusty Hubble just shattered a record.

See the full article at NASA.

The Hubble Space Telescope spotted the farthest star ever seen.

The newly detected star is 12.9 billion years away. It is from a time when the universe was only 7 percent of its current age. 

That's a redshift value of 6.2. 

Staggering.

sent summary to liaison

Per his request, wrote a summary for our board liaison.

Explained the immediate pending certificate matter and the bigger issue with members interested in EAA. 

§

Shared the letter with the team...

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

downloaded April Journal

Downloaded the April Journal of the RASC.

Noted lots of references to members of the Observing Committee. That was kinda cool.

cover of the April '22 Journal
Nice sketch by Eric K.

An interesting articles on the pros and cons of one-shot colour and monochrome cameras. I look forward to reading that.

And I will enjoying reading Gainor's article on when the Apollo 11 astronauts visited Canada.

My Binary Universe column features the Canadian-written COELIX software for Windows which I used to generate an almanac for the year (like that produced by Sky & Telescope). Now I can do it myself. Or generate one for any time and location!

Lots more great content and images, of course.

§

Fan mail section:

Randall sent a note.

Am I grateful I read your article in the April _JRASC_!  I too am addicted to those _Sky&Tel_ annual almanacs, and Jean's program is a way to cater to that addiction on demand (as it were)!

No, thank you.

the shadow behind the Earth

Funny. Eerie?

Back on 18 March, John D asked me about the antisolar point.

Curious...  do you know if one can place the antisolar point on Stellarium?  I know how to determine that as a one off, but it's a drag to repeat often.

I was a little fuzzy and couldn't jump into the application immediately. I asked him if I had seen the "Earth's shadow" option in Stellarium? Or was I thinking about a different app? Starry Night? SkyTools?

A few hours later, he updated me on Stellarium:

Perhaps you didn't Blake.  However, good news:  ASP is a selectable item under Sky and View Settings on the Markings tab. There is the Antisolar Point option in the 3rd column.

How about that!

John shared that he was searching for Gegenschein and wanted to plan for where it should be in a dark moonless sky.

And then a weird thing happened. 

On a whim I looked into the Markings tab for the new Stellarium version 0.22.0.

There's checkboxes for the Earth's penumbra and umbra. Ha! Recently added.

I encouraged John to try the new version.

He was happy to see this feature (features?) added.

I think it funny weird timing.

Were they listening to us?! :-D

Monday, March 28, 2022

updated Stellarium shortcuts (0.22.0)

It has been a long time since I updated my Stellarium shortcuts list but with version 0.22.0 released, I stumbled across a couple of new ones. Added about a dozen.

This is my keyboard and mouse shortcuts listing. This reference is for Windows and Macintosh computers. Linux users should be able to use the Windows options.

If you're on a laptop without a mouse, using a silly touchpad, you'll want to be comfortable with the supported gestures on the touchpad to simulate an external three-button mouse.

The "notes" column to the far right with numbers are keyed to the footnotes. For example, 1 is used to indicate newly added or recently changed items.

controlling the surroundings
Windows
Mac*
show Location window
F6
Fn F64
toggle cardinal compass points qq
toggle detailed compass marks Shift q⇧ q
toggle ground and buildings
g
g
toggle ground fog
f
f
toggle atmosphere or air
a
a
toggle sky glow/building lights
Shift g
⇧ g11
ground (mountain) labels
Ctrl Shift g
⌘ ⇧ g
return to "home" (start-up) view
Ctrl h
(none)2





controlling the sky - deep sky
Windows
Mac
toggle stars
s
s
toggle star labels
Alt s
⌥ s
toggle constellation lines
c
c
toggle constellation boundaries
b
b
toggle constellation labels
v
v
toggle constellation artwork
r
r
reload sky culture
Ctrl Alt i
⌘ ⌥ i1
toggle asterism lines
Alt a
⌥ a
toggle asterism labels
Alt v
⌥ v
toggle ray helpers
Alt r
⌥ r14
toggle DSO/nebula labelsn or d
n or d
nebula background images
i
i
reload DSO background images
Ctrl i
⌘ i1
toggle quasars
Ctrl Alt q
⌘ ⌥ q3,5
toggle pulsars
Ctrl Alt p
⌘ ⌥ p5
toggle zodiacal light
Ctrl Shift z
⌘ ⇧ z
toggle Milky Way
m
m
toggle digital sky survey
Ctrl Alt d
⌘ ⌥ d6
exoplanet labels, indicators
Ctrl Alt e
⌘ ⌥ e5
show Sky and Viewing Options
F4
Fn F4





single constellation mode
Windows
Mac
remove previous constellations
w
w7
show all constellations
Alt w
⌥ w





the sky - solar system
Windows
Mac
toggle planets and Moon
p
p
toggle planet and Moon labels
Alt p
⌥ p
toggle planet markers
Ctrl p
⌘ p
toggle planet orbits
o
o
toggle star-lore planet names
Ctrl Shift n
⌘ ⇧ n
toggle planet trails
Shift t
⇧ t
toggle planet surface labels
Alt n
⌥ n9
toggle meteor radiants
Ctrl Shift m
⌘ ⇧ m
toggle meteor radiant labels
Shift m
⇧ m
import data from MPC
Ctrl Alt s
⌘ ⌥ s5,17





controlling lines
Windows
Mac
toggle altitude/azimuth grid
z
z
toggle equatorial grid
e
e
toggle ecliptic line
, (comma)
, (comma)
toggle celestial equator
. (period)
. (period)
toggle meridian line
;
;
toggle horizon line
h
h





changing image presentation
Windows
Mac
flip horizontally
Ctrl Shift h
⌘ ⇧ h
flip vertically
Ctrl Shift v
⌘ ⇧ v
equatorial or azimuthal mode
Ctrl m
⌘ m
look to the north
Shift n
⇧ n1
look to east
Shift e
⇧ e
look to west
Shift w
⇧ w1
look to south
Shift s
⇧ s1
look up to zenith
Shift z
⇧ z
look to north celestial pole
Alt Shift n
⌥ ⇧ n
look to SCP
Alt Shift s
⌥ ⇧  s





zooming
Windows
Mac
zoom in
PgUp or
Ctrl Up Arrow

Fn Up Arrow
zoom out
PgDn or
Ctrl Dn Arrow

Fn Down Arrow
zoom in or out slowly
Shift with keys
⇧ with keys
quickly zoom in/out w/ mouse
wheel
2 finger swipe
zoom close to selected object
/ (slash)
/ (slash)
zoom out fully
\ (backslash)
\ (backslash)
zoom very close to planet
/ twice
/ twice
set field of view (FOV) to 180°
Ctrl Alt 1
⌘ ⌥ 1
set FOV to 90°
Ctrl Alt 2
⌘ ⌥ 2
set FOV to 60° (naturalistic)
Ctrl Alt 3
⌘ ⌥ 3
set FOV to 45°
Ctrl Alt 4
⌘ ⌥ 4
set FOV to 20°
Ctrl Alt 5
⌘ ⌥ 5
set FOV to 10° (binoculars)
Ctrl Alt 6
⌘ ⌥ 6
set FOV to 5° (binoculars)
Ctrl Alt 7
⌘ ⌥ 7
set FOV to 2°
Ctrl Alt 8
⌘ ⌥ 8
set to 1° (lo-power telescopic)
Ctrl Alt 9
⌘ ⌥ 9
to ½° (med-power telescopic)
Ctrl Alt 0 (zero)
⌘ ⌥ 0 (zero)





panning
Windows
Mac
quickly pan celestial sphere
left-drag
drag
pan right
Right Arrow
Right Arrow
pan left
Left Arrow
Left Arrow
pan up
Up Arrow
Up Arrow
pan down
Down Arrow
Down Arrow
pan a small amount slowly
Shift Arrow-key 
⇧ Arrow key





controlling time flow
Windows
Mac
set date/time to now
8
8
set time rate to zero
7
7
increase time flow
l (lower case L)
l (i.e. L)
decrease time flow
j
j
run time at normal rate
k
k
increase time flow a little
Shift l (that's L)
⇧ l (i.e. L)
decrease time flow a little
Shift j
⇧ j
drag for time
Ctrl drag
Control drag10
flip or reverse time direction
0 (zero)
0 (zero)





time with mouse... 
Windows
Mac15
increase/decrease by minutes
Ctrl

increase/decrease by hours
Ctrl Shift
⌘ ⇧ 
increase/decrease by days
Ctrl Alt
⌘ ⌥ 
increase/decrease by years
Ctrl Alt Shift
(none)





controlling "regular" time
Windows
Mac
show date/time window
F5
Fn F5
forward 1 hour solar
Ctrl = (equal)
⌘ =
backward 1 hour
Ctrl - (hyphen)
⌘ -
forward 1 day solar
= (equal)
= (equal)
backward 1 day
- (hyphen)
- (hyphen)
forward 1 week solar
]
]
backward 1 week
[
[





controlling sidereal time
Windows
Mac
forward 1 day sidereal
Alt = (equal)
⌥ = (equal)
backward 1 day
Alt - (hyphen)
⌥ - (hyphen)
forward 1 year sidereal
Ctrl Alt Shift ]
⌘ ⌥ ⇧ ]
backward 1 year
Ctrl Alt Shift [
⌘ ⌥ ⇧ [





working with objects
Windows
Mac
select an object
left-click
click
centre on selected object
spacebar
spacebar
toggle tracking of object
t
t
deselect object
right-click or
Ctrl Spacebar

⌘-click16
display search dialogue box
Ctrl f or F3
⌘ f or Fn F3
go, i.e. travel, to a planet
Ctrl g
⌘ g
toggle angular measurement
Ctrl a
⌘ a5
copy object info to clipboard
Ctrl Shift c
⌘ ⇧ c
add custom marker
Shift click
⇧ click
remove custom marker
Shift right-click
Control ⇧ click
remove all custom markers
Alt Shift right-click
⌥ Control ⇧ click





working with satellites
Windows
Mac5
configure artificial satellites
Alt z
⌥ z
toggle satellite display or "hints"
Ctrl z
⌘ z
toggle satellite labels
Alt Shift z
⌥ ⇧ z





using oculars
Windows
Mac5
toggle ocular view
Ctrl o
⌘ o
toggle crosshairs
Alt c
⌥ c
show Telrad sight
Ctrl b
⌘ b
show oculars pop-up menu
Alt o
⌥ o1
rotate reticule clockwise
Alt m
⌥ m13
rotate reticule CCW
Alt Shift m
⌥ ⇧ m13





controlling the screen
Windows
Mac
toggle night (red light) mode
Ctrl n
⌘ n
toggle full-screen mode
F11
F118
toggle toolbars/menus, i.e. GUI
Ctrl t
⌘ t
save screenshot to disk
Ctrl s
⌘ s
toggle planet selection marker
Ctrl Shift p
⌘ ⇧ p
close a window/dialogue box
Esc
Esc





driving a mount
Windows
Mac5
slew to selected object
Ctrl + number
⌘ + number12
slew to middle of screen
Alt + number
Alt + number12
show move or slew
   telescope window

Ctrl 0 (zero)
⌘ 0 (zero)
abort slew
Ctrl Alt Shift + ...
⌘ ⌥ ⇧ + ...12
sync mount and software
Ctrl Shift + ...
⌘ ⇧ + ...1,12





scripting
Windows
Mac
show script console window
F12
Fn-F12
pause script
Ctrl d, p
⌘ d, p
resume script
Ctrl d, r
⌘ d, r
stop script
Ctrl d, s
⌘ d, s





controlling the application
Windows
Mac
show configuration window
F2
Fn F2
show help/about window
F1
Fn F1
keyboard shortcuts window
F7
Fn F7
show Astro. Calc. window
F10
Fn F10
update or calculate
Shift F10
⇧ Fn F101,18
show Bookmarks window
Alt b
⌥ b
show Exoplanets config window
Alt e
⌥ e5
show meteor settings window
Ctrl Alt Shift m
⌘ ⌥ ⇧ m5
show meteor search window
Ctrl Alt m
⌘ ⌥ m5
quit from Stellarium
Ctrl q
⌘ q


Notes:

  1. Recently added or changed shortcuts.
  2. On the Mac, the shortcut ⌘ h hides the app. This is an operating system shortcut.
  3. On the Mac, the shortcut ⌘ Shift q causes Stellarium to quit. 
  4. The operation of function keys on both Windows and Mac computers may require the use of a function or Fn key.
  5. Keyboard shortcuts associated with a plug-in. They may not function if the plug-in is not active.
  6. The digital sky survey layering feature refers to the display as a "hierarchical progressive" sky survey.
  7. The "remove" constellation shortcut applies when "single constellation mode" is active, as triggered in Configuration, Tools.
  8. The F11 does not work on iMac 21.5 and 2011 wireless keyboard.
  9. Referred to as surface "nomenclature" labels. This marks detailed surface features on planets, for example, Olympus Mons on Mars.
  10. On the Mac, only works when mouse is dragged horizontally. Only changes seconds.
  11. This is referred to as the "illumination" in a compatible landscape file.
  12. The number used to slew refers to the mount profile in the Telescopes window. If there's only one profile, it is simply Ctrl 1 or ⌘ 1. If a user has four telescope profiles and the fourth is to be used, then the user must press Ctrl 4 or ⌘ 4.
  13. This assumes one is showing the CMG or Meade astrometric eyepiece.
  14. Ray helpers example... "Arc to Arcturus."
  15. On Windows, roll middle mouse wheel up or down with overlay keys. On Macintosh, use overlay keys while performing two-finder swipe up or down on mouse.
  16. On click on nothing, if you can...
  17. Opens the Solar System Editor display at the Import Data window.
  18. Use Shift F10 to update positions or calculate values inside the Astronomical Calculations window.

Some shortcuts were omitted.

Finally, the Stellarium documentation and keyboard labelling for the Mac is inconsistent. We note the symbols below:


⌘ (cloverleaf) is the Command key,
      with the apple symbol on very old systems
⌃ (carat) is the Control key
⌥ is the Option (alt) or alternate key
⇧ (up arrow) is the Shift key
⇪ (up arrow with segments) indicates that the Caps Lock is used
fn or Fn is the Function key

Please report errors in the comments below...

§

See my "top" list for a very short collection of most frequently used, most helpful, techniques. Handy if heading into a presentation.

ordered pins

Submitted an order for pins for the RASC Observing Committee. We hope to save some funds by piggybacking on the General Assembly order.

is that a distant star? (Bradford)

Weird sky. Weird weather. Another vortex of winter from the northern pole of this planet. As I drove south along Highway 11—second longest highway in the province—through the bitter cold air, I noted in the south-east in the gloomy grey thick canopy of clouds a small pale diffuse glow low. Barely a hint that we orbit a star.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

SN to Al

We (my sister and I) decided to give my extra copy of SkyNews to Al.

received a new mug

Enjoyed a steamin' cuppa joe. In my new mug.

Received from the RASC DDO crew!

new DDO mug

Thanks!

To everyone who likes to steal my coffee mug... Mine!

Friday, March 25, 2022

attrition

Another one bites the dust.

RASC lost another valuable resource.

More mistreatment of volunteers.

Sad situation.

a future talk on doubles

Melody reported that she's offered to give a talk about double star observing at Nova East Star Party!

Cool. I asked when.

She replied that the NESP is the weekend of August 26, 27, and 28. The schedule is in the early stages. Her presentation will likely be the evening of the 26th.

Gettin' the word out!

book Messier book

Received my signed hard copy of John Read and Chris Vaughan's book 110 Things To See With a Telescope. They are referring to the Charles Messier catalogue of deep sky objects.

Very exciting to have this at last in my mittens.

cover of Read and Vaughan's book
Really good to see it up close.

They did a fine job. I really like how they encourage note-taking and sketching.

It is a nice guide to the RASC Messier observing certificate program. 

I can only assume this will draw some new people to the RASC.

And I was pretty chuffed to see my name in the Acknowledgements. I was happy to help in a small way.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

used delay send

Learned about this from Steve Dotto, IT guru, from a recent YouTube tips and tricks video.

Used the Delay Send in GMail. Made the Google Machine send out Stellarium class notifications on my behalf. 

Thank you, Huge Robot.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

saw a halo (Bradford)

Near the end of the mid-day walk, I peered up into the bright sky. A big colourful ring surrounded our star.

By the time I got the smartphone ready, screen brightness maxed, camera app open, set to manual RAW mode, it had faded a little.

solar halo

ISO 100, 1/24000 second, f/2.0, 3.5, motorola e6, RAW DNG file, Photoshop.

Monday, March 21, 2022

taught level 2 again

Delivered a level 2 intermediate Stellarium course for people in western Canada. Went OK. Though I was feeling a little rusty. Laptop was a little glitchy but nothing major.

It was awesome though, helping one participant sort his mount control setup. Turned out he had a new NexStar+ hand controller which has the integrated, built-in USB-serial adapter. He found a standard USB type A to USB mini B cable which worked just fine. I was happy I didn't send him on a wild goose chase to get a compatible adapter!

spotted a keogram

Very interesting Astronomy Photo of the Day...

Very apropos.

I've been talking about the annual almanac infographic, for the northern hemisphere, and its hourglass shape, showing night versus day. Funny timing.

Today's image, made by Cees Bassa of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, immediately caught my eye. 

It's amazing how you can see the moonlight within.

Check it out.

received many applications

Processed a couple dozen RASC members for future Stellarium training courses, triggered by the RASC weekly e-newsletter.

happy equal day

Heard from my buddy Malcolm M.

Welcome to spring 2022.  Happy equinox!

Yes, indeed, happy equal days.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

provide paint colours

I made up painting instructions for the 3D printed model of the 74-inch at the DDO.

Ward got me thinking about the project again with his latest efforts at printing.

colour paint scheme for 74

It looks neat!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

reworked the shafts

I've been chatting with Ward for a bit about the DDO 3D print model.

He reworked the "cones" as a monolithic piece.

single piece for DDO model

With the hole down, he prints this as a single piece. Brilliant. 

Left-right is the polar axis. Up is the shaft for the counter-weight.

Saves a lot of fiddling and assembly later...

shared info with McGaughey

Liaised with Stephen McGaughey on double stars. He reached out to me from Cloudy Nights. He was asking on behalf of the Astronomical League Multiple Star Observing Program. He's also a NASA Solar System Ambassador.

Friday, March 18, 2022

NASA rolled out the SLS

NASA (and ESA) rolled out the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on St Patrick's Day. Cheers!

The huge rocket with main orange-hued liquid fuel tank and strap-on solid fuel booster evoked memories of the shuttle, external tank, and dual boosters. Atop was the Orion crew spacecraft. They rolled it out to the famous pad 39B.

This was all for a pad test exercise ahead of the Artemis mission to return to the Moon.

It's an impressive vehicle which will generate more thrust than the Apollo Saturn V which helped humans reach and walk upon another celestial body.

Later, someone tagged the rocket ahead of a full Moon. Apropos. 

Orion on SLS with Moon in background

Interesting times.

Read the article at the NASA web site for more info, links, and photos.

debriefed with Karim

Caught up with Karim. Did some ideation. Discussed published policies, waivers, etc. And we debriefed on the GSP event. I highlighted a couple of things to benefit future speakers. He invited me to return.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

found the GSP 86 video

Found it.

Here's the recording of the Global Star Party number 86 from Explore Alliance, conducted on 15 March 2022.

My presentation on the RASC observing programs runs from 2:19:10 to 2:39:37.

I thank professor Karim Jaffer of RASC Montreal for the invitation.

I thank Scott Roberts of Explore Scientific for hosting me.

cheers

Hello, Darkness, my old friend.

low Moon rising (Bradford)

Big Moon, down low, between cloud bands. Low contrast, tinted blue. From the lot of the Ontario booze store.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

readied for testing

Finished the big upload of all the Observing Committee materials to the new Google Drive.

Invited a couple of members to test drive it. Sorry, no pun intended.

inspired by Francois

I really enjoyed Fran├žois Q's talk on his home-made astro-tracker. A fantastic design based on the swing-arm style. And his resulting wide-field images are very impressive. Inspiring! He spoke at the RASC Montreal Citizen Science 4 online event.

I need to use my tracker more!

Alister shared an article

Alister of Edmonton sent a quick note with a link.

He referred to an article he wrote in his local RASC centre newsletter, the Stardust.

The piece was entitled Who do you call? RASCals! and he described how I helped him print in 3D a replacement part for his telescope. With a shout-out to Steve!

replacement focuser tube close-up

He thanked me/us again.

All their newsletters are available online.

The 3D printing article is in the March 2022 issue, starts on page 6.

spotted an orb (Bradford)

Spotted a pale Moon rising amongst wispy clouds in the east departing the blood letting clinic. Nearly full. Boo!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

received GSP schedule

Here's the schedule for tonight's Global Star Party by Explore Alliance.

This will be the 86th Global Star Party. The theme is "Looking Beyond."

Global Star Party - number 86

Preliminary Schedule

Times are in Central Daylight Time and UTC!


1st Session Introductions

  • 6:00 p.m. 23:00 Scott Roberts - Introduces Maxi Falieres and David Levy
  • 6:05 p.m. 23:05 David Levy – Intro and Poetry
  • 6:15 p.m. 23:15 A Special Performance by David Rossetter
  • 6:30 p.m. 23:30 Astronomical League Door Prizes – TBA
  • 6:30 p.m. 23:30 David Eicher - Radioactive Minerals of Planet Earth
  • 6:45 p.m. 2345 Harold Locke – My Journey
  • 7:00 p.m. 00:00 Sebastian Jeremias – One Step Software for Mounts
  • 7:15 p.m. 00:15 Maxi Falieres- Astrophotography to the Max
  • 7:30 p.m. 00:30 Karim Jaffer - 
  • 7:45 p.m. 00:45 Blake Nancarrow - RASC National Observing Committee
  • 8:00 p.m. 01:00 Navin Senthil Kumar -

8:15 p.m. 01:15 Ten Minute Break

2nd Session 

  • 8:25 p.m. 01:25 Marcelo Souza - Sky's Up Astronomy Outreach
  • 8:40 p.m. 01:40 Adrian Bradley – Nightscapes


More?

#globalstarparty86 #starparty #astronomy #telescopes #universe #astronomicalleague #nasa #nightskynetwork #exploreallianace #explorescientific

See the Explore Alliance home page for more info.

Monday, March 14, 2022

speaking on Tuesday, to a big crowd

I believe this a bigger deal than I originally thought...

Back on 26 Feb '22, I told you I had been invited by RASC Montreal Centre people to deliver two talks. One at their Citizen Science evening in April. The other invite was for the "global star party" in March. For the latter, I was asked to speak about the observing certificate programs.

The GSP is coming up this Tuesday, 15 March 2022. Show starts at 7:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time and is scheduled to run for 3+ hours. I've been given a mere 15 minutes. I do not know, at this stage, when I am to talk...

Today, a little light bulb went off in my little brain. The GSP is not a RASC Montreal hosted event. Rather, it is an event organised by the Explore Alliance, i.e. Explore Scientific LLC, the telescope company.

They have an extensive program with alliances and ambassadors from around the world and they regularly run this big "global star party" with speakers and presumably live telescope views. My Montreal contact is a member of the alliance, one of the (inclusive) ambassadors, promoting astronomy, science, and nature.

My realisation today was that I'll be speaking on an international platform. I quickly re-worked my presentation to function at a higher level, for an international audience, and with people from the general public.

See the Global Star Party page for specifics around Tuesday's event. 

This 86th event will be simulcast on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, CloudyNights.com, and at ExploreScientific.com/live. 

Anyone can attend and watch for free ($0). Just click the ADD TO CART button. I gather you will be sent details on connecting to and watching the session.

Glad I figured this out ahead of the event!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

prepared almanac for March

Sorry it's a big late.

The graphical almanac, for the month of March.

almanac dashboard for March 2022

Created using COELIX.

documented the CLA adapter build

Rolled out a new DIY article.

This time for the custom box I made for drawing power from the marine seal-lead acid batteries.

I actually made two boxes so I can use two deep-cycle SLA batteries independently.

Each box features two CLA female sockets, a standard fuse, and an analogue gauge to quickly check the health of the battery.

This is for DIYers who want to get off the hamster wheel...

learned NEAF postponed again

Citing participation and supply issues, and concern for the quality of their event, the organisers of NEAF have postponed the 2022 event.

New Dates: April 15-16, 2023

In an email this morning, they said:

Due to ongoing Covid, world economy concerns, and impacts on product availability, NEAF has been confronted with significantly lower participation rates for 2022 than anticipated.

Too bad. We'll have to wait before we can return to the world's largest astronomy and space expo. We're not out of the woods.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

transferred lists from ST4

Synced successfully the data from SkyTools 4 on John Max to the test target.

It worked too!

That filled me with a great sense of satisfaction and relief.

I've been working too long in this scattered way...

(I wasn't really expecting the synchronisation process wouldn't work, actually. But I did some wrangling before the transfer, and I had to ensure that I didn't bring across location or equipment information for none of that applied.)

I have helped Greg for many years with beta testing the software and had it installed on the desktop computer for convenience and speed. But more and more I was using the application on the home office computer as opposed to the mobile device. Now some of the observing lists I made were experimental, I was just goofin' around. But some of the new planning lists were real, for real projects, for real scenarios. And the BGO projects: it was just natural to use the desktop PC.

Anyway, long story short, it was good to have all lists, everything, from ST3, from the testing ST4, over on a new clean fresh install.

It feels comfortable. Calm.

we found lumpy space pancakes

Can't beat a headline like this:

The space ‘snowman' at the edge of our solar system is actually two lumpy pancakes

First spotted this article back in 10 October 2021. It's dated 18 March 2019. Finally got 'round to reading it...

The New Horizons mission scientists were surprised by data downloaded from the deep space probe. Everyone's first impression of the very distant object 2014 MU69 aka Ultima Thule was that two nice spherical balls of primordial planetesimal material glommed together at some point in the early formation of the solar system.

But different angles and deeper analysis revealed that the two elements were each rather flat. More like that perfect stone you seek at the waterfront to skip atop the lake's smooth surface. The article at Science said the two lobes were "like two lumpy pancakes smooshed together."

Team members believe pebbles initially aggregated by static electricity and later collapsed gravitationally to form separate larger bodies and then continued to cluster together and this particular pair began to orbit one another and finally merged.

updated shape model from MU 69

I pulled the image from the Planetary Society's web site, from the shape model page.

Gonna need more maple syrup...