Saturday, April 30, 2022

heard from AAS

Ha! It worked.

My Cloudy Nights thread generated an official reply!

We heard from Kevin Marvel, AAS Executive Officer and Sky & Telescope Publisher (and, keeper of Willmann-Bell books too).

He explained the many challenges they are facing but conveyed that things are improving.

He thanked us for sharing our concerns.

And he directly addressed me.



Kevin sent me a private message in the CN system.

We discussed my issue with Haas's book.

He shared that in the transfer to the new owners, essentially poor record keeping prevented AAS from knowing the full product line offered by the Sky & Telescope publishing. Disappointed but hopefully my poking the bear would correct that.

Then he relayed the bad news. The book was not in stock in Ohio, England, or Australia.

He said he would consider a republication in the future.

asked about the people

I asked Dr Hyde if she would share everyone's job descriptions or titles.

I'll be meeting all these peeps soon...

sent pix and bio

Submitted a picture and brief biography for the Astronomer-In-Residence program.

Maybe a little long?

Friday, April 29, 2022

still nothing

Still no replies to emails or a phone call back from Sky & Tel, the online store, or an AAS representative.

They should not say, "We'll contact you within 24 to 48 hours."

They should not make promises they can't keep.

Some are saying that this would require someone to edit web site. 



The whole point of a web page is to relay appropriate information 24-7-365!


Thursday, April 28, 2022

sent proposal

Completed the online form for the RASC presentation proposal.

Maybe I'll be speaking at this year's General Assembly...

learned of invitation

Melody forwarded a message. It was something president Judy B sent out to the Halifax members. An invitation to members to submit session proposals for both Saturday and Sunday sections of the GA. 

I guess now that I'm disassociated, I don't receive messages directed to the membership...

It was a request from RASC General Assembly Committee.

Melody wondered if might consider presenting a talk on double stars...

Individuals or small teams could present on some aspect of astronomy: a personal research project, participation in Citizen Science, a presentation on some activity that is a particular success in a centre, a personal passion project, historical research, or any other topic that is important to them.

I read over the original message.

Yes. Yes I do think I could do a talk on double stars, a redux of my recent presentation to Montreal, emphasising that anyone can do citizen science, with relatively simple setups.


I asked the team.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

spotted a dragonfly

Spotted the mission patch for the SpaceX Crew 4.

A dragonfly!

Crew 4 mission patch with dragonfly

Shared with Rhonda.

phoned the AAS

Someone on Cloudy Nights suggested I reach out to the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the new (newish) owners of Sky & Tel.

I called the "other" number.

The outgoing message referred to the S&T magazine departments (e.g. editorial and finance) but did not mention the "store" or "shop at Sky". 

So I pressed 6 to speak to an AAS person.

Generic voice mail.

Left a message.

We'll see what happens...

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

raised a question on CN

Clearly, no one is checking and/or replying to queries at the Sky & Tel magazine or related ShopAtSky store inboxes.

So, I started a thread at Cloudy Nights, in the Astro Art, Books, Websites & Other Media speciality forum.

I said, "Time's up!"

I asked if anyone knew what was going on.

I asked if anyone was at home.

Let's shake the tree.

chopped the submission

Submitted our entry for the next RASC Bulletin.

Reem said that members are complaining that the document is too long...

Our latest missive was rather big.

I begrudgingly agreed to chop it in two.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

viewed huge sunspots

We viewed the Sun!

I really enjoyed this. First time in a long time...

So wanted to do this given all the recent interesting activity on the Sun's surface. 

We were not disappointed.

Despite wispy clouds, I set up the Coronado SolarMax on the Tele Vue 101 and the Oberwerk binoculars with my old custom white light filter.

We observed many sunspots in the binos. We observed many prominences (while small) along the perimeter, filaments within the disc, and a lot of mottling around the active sunspot regions.

image of Sun from SpaceWeather for 24 Apr '22

I pulled the current image from the SpaceWeather web site.

I observed all the Active Regions including the one at the 8 o'clock position. [ed: Later numbered 3001.]

I helped Bri with photos with her smartphone with the iOptron adapter. It worked well. She really appreciated that. All shot with a Samsung smartphone, 4mm (equivalent 26), ISO-80, manual exposure, auto white balance, f/1.5.

Sun in H-alpha, fast exposure

Fast exposure. 1/750 second.

Sun in H-alpha, medium exposure

Medium exposure. 1/350 second. You can see a prom at 5 o'clock.

Sun in H-alpha, longer exposure

Long exposure. 1/30 second. More spots visible.

I also encouraged Grace to make an entry in her astronomy log book!

Saturday, April 23, 2022

the first post

The following is a blog post from the Astronomer-In-Residence (AIR) web site, reproduced here with permission.

This was the first post to the AIR blog page, partly as a test, to ensure things were working.

Sat 23 Apr '22: Not there yet but SO looking forward to it!

The Astronomer-In-Residence program is coordinated by the Allan I Carswell Observatory (AICO) at York University with the Killarney Provincial Park Observatory (KPPO).

tried another route

Filled out a "contact us" form on the Sky & Telescope. The magazine proper.

I've not received an answer from the initial message sent to the "Shop At Sky" sent some time ago.

Ten days ago.

A robot replied:

Thank you for reaching out to Sky & Telescope magazine customer service. We have received your email and will respond within the next 24-48 hours.

Uh huh.

Believe it when I see it--in my inbox!

discussed Messier program

Chatted with Pat S about the RASC Messier observing program.

Clarified requirements, equipment that may be used, expectations, etc.

exchanged DIY info

Chatted with Karsten about DIY projects.

I shared my custom dew heater controller build info. I reminded him to share stuff by the cloud. I checked out his custom controller and dew strap (made with resistors).

I didn't know he was a maker.

shared policy info

Shared the RASC policy manual with Melody, so to update her on board and committee terms of reference. How the Observing Committee should operate, etc.

Curiously, there are no specific remarks on voting.

Friday, April 22, 2022

met with my team leads

Met with Elaina and Bruce.

Bruce shared what he's been working on along with some planned updates to the telescopes at Killarney.

Lots to unpack.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

do we have a LMS?

Asked RASC head office if they use some sort of "people management" tool.

As we offer more Stellarium training, the wrangling is becoming a big job. When we add more courses, it will become bigger still. We need a Learning Management System.

But I fear the answer...

call for working group participation

Melody messaged the Observing Committee, initiating the program review process.

She's hoping to lead a small working group to improve our messaging to members.

We've had a few cooks in the kitchen with our various observing programs. We need to unify and clarify.


Later reviewed her plan document. Looked good.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

spoke on EAA in RASC

Made a brief presentation at the RASC national board meeting on EAA.

My goal was to reignite efforts to support Electronically Assisted Astronomy in the Society.

title slide from EAA presentation

I strongly urged the board to create a new committee to support our members and attract new ones.


Shared my slide deck with the president.

one happy customer

To a RASC member living in Egypt, we tried mailing his lunar observing certificate.

Months later, we assumed it lost.

So we sent a digital version.

In very short order, he had it printed and framed.

He's a very happy camper.

astronomy on a Framework

Spotted a thread on Cloudy Nights on the Framework computing platform.

Let Charles D know.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

welcomed by Bruce

Heard from Bruce W.

He welcomed me to the Astronomer-In-Residence program.

This was all his idea, I understand.

He suggested we have a virtual meeting soon.

park staff updated

Dr Elaina Hyde, the director of the Allan I Carswell Observatory (AICO) at York University sent out an official message. In it were copied various park staff and supporters of the Killarney Provincial Park Observatory (KPPO).

She referred to my appointment:

You have been approved... as Astronomer In Residence at Killarney Park.

It's really happening! It's official.

Now the park staff and supporters know I'll be heading up to help them out.

I'm excited. And a little nervous. I'm really looking forward to working at the park and running astronomy outreach events. It is a tremendous honour.

Takes me back... when I ran an event at Awenda many moons ago. Camping and astronomy. Love it.



Prepared and sent a thank you letter.

like a TSTM

Did some prep.

So to be aware of upcoming astronomical events.

For the Killarney gig.

I used my The Sky This Month checklist to review my many astronomy sources.

heard from the new human

I heard from Tiffany F at St Mary's University.

She's the new "human." Officially the Astronomy Technician for the Burke-Gaffney Observatory, taking over from Dave L, after his retirement.

She started off:

Great to hear from you – I've seen many of your observation requests.  I appreciate seeing others use the robot!

I had informed Dave initially, and then Tiffany, of my BGO images often being used in SkyNews magazine, at the request of Chris V.

Thanks for the heads-up about your images being shared!  I'm looking forward to seeing the press and perhaps too it'll cause some more individuals to want to "sign-up" for the robot's services.

I shared info on where to see the images.

Monday, April 18, 2022

the river

Pitched my Milky Way badge idea.

Most city dwellers have never seen the river in the sky!


Elaina liked it.

taught Stellarium level 2 again

Taught another level 2 Stellarium course.

Helped another person get their computer and mount connected and working


I learned of a new known-good working setup:

Celestron StarSense hand controller via direct USB cable to the computer (with the StarSense having a built-in USB-serial convertor).

she bought two

Sis pinged me.

She had picked up two copies of the May-June SkyNews

One for her; one for Mom.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

measured the new screens

Measured my new desktop computer monitors for red transparency film.

These ASUS LCDs are the largest screens I have now.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

learned about a new mini computer

Watched Cuiv's recent video (Nov '21) on a new mini-PC computer for astrophotography.

A Mele Quieter 2. Very small and compact. Neat.

Shared the link with Chris.


Learned Melody is to do a talk and then workshop on double stars at Nova East. Cool! I'm excited for her.

She asked if she could use the materials on the RASC web site. 


learned 22.1 is out

Whoa. That was quick. Stellarium 0.22.1 is out. A big thing is the correction to magnitudes for Messier and some NGC/IC objects, using data from the Wolfgang Steinicke source. Thanks, Chris V!

Bookmarks/Observing Lists is still broken...

Friday, April 15, 2022

dealt with a mailed log

Received a note from Mike A. He told me he had recently mailed in (by the Queen's Post) his observing application and log notes.

I relayed the bad news. He had used an old address.

bundle of envelopes

That irked him.

But I offered he could send e-copies.

Fortunately, he had had the foresight to photograph the paperwork before shipping it off. Whew.


This was a trigger.

We need to convey to active observers that they need to use a new address. This is a gotcha to paper forms...

clarified an observation

Fielded a general public query.

Kim T asked for some information on his observation:

Did anyone observe a long line of bright objects traversing the night sky [around] 10-11 PM the night of April 7, 2022?  They appeared high up in the western sky and disappeared high up in the [east].  It lasted for several minutes with probably 50+ objects.  At first I thought it was just one satellite.  Then they kept appearing following a relatively straight line.  I live south of Leduc out towards Pipestone.

I told him he'd has seen a Starlink chain or train, aka Elon Musk's satellite internet constellation. 

I said that usually after a launch, they are clustered fairly close together. 

And that this is a good and a bad thing...

sent IT notes

Helped out Richard S.

He's trying to work the computer at the Sue-Lora Observatory. 

Sent all my notes from my CAO Information Technology folder.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

did lots of admin

Did a boat load of work for the Stellarium Training Series over the last couple of days.

Some of it related to the new mobile course.

Some of it, general house-keeping.

Tidying the Google Classroom.

Some rolling out more regular computer-based course.

Loaded my calendar with all the new events and all the triggers.

Issued reminders.

The administrative load is increasing with more courses... I need some automation...

bows and moons (Bradford)

We spotted a double rainbow and a gibbous Moon while picking up dinner.

sent fast-moving list

Sent Russell my short list of "fast movers," binary stars with fairly short periods. He liked it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

delivered talk on measuring doubles

Delivered my presentation to RASC Montreal on citizen science, measuring double stars.

Talked about measurement techniques, old, current, and new. Talked about how to prepare and submit results. Provided lots of links.

two things to measure for double stars

Good turnout. A few familiar faces.

I think it went well.

While this talk was recording, it is only available to centre members.

heard from ShopAtSky, sorta

Moments after submitting my message to ShopAtSky, I received an automated reply.

Thank you for contacting Shop At Sky!  You can find product information at

No I can't.

Please note that this mailbox is not checked every day, if this is an urgent request please call Cami Taylor. 

Not urgent, no. And then:

Subscribers to Sky & Telescope Magazine:  We are now in very good hands.  We have a great customer service team.  Customer service hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm CT.  Our toll free customer service line will remain the same (800-253-0245).

So, I hoped I'd hear back from the "great customer service team" soon...

asked about a book

Saw some talk on Cloudy Nights in the double stars forum with a suggest to get Sissy Haas's book.

A person reported the book was hundreds of dollars so wasn't gonna go for it.

That made me think the used market was jackin' prices.

I surfed into the store at Sky and Telescope.

And couldn't find it. At all. Zip. Nada. 

That was weird because there were other titled listed even though out of print.

So I sent a little question to to ask if they no longer sold it.

We'll see what they say...

heard more certs went out

National Office updated me.

Some RASC observing certificates were issued.

Good stuff.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

identified elevation bug

Within the Stellarium level 3 course, Jill reported a strange result when she used the What's Up Tonight (WUT) in the Astronomical Calculations window.

The elevations for the target objects were wonky. Many were more than 90 degrees!

We did a bit of digging. She shared some screen snaps. We verified her topographic location information was correct. Everything seemed fine in her setup.

Then I found the issue. A bug in older versions. She was running 0.21.0.

The 21.3 release notes indicated that the developers "fixed computation max elevation [error] in AstroCalc/WUT tool."

I also let the training team know along with Chris V.

delivered level 3 again

Taught Stellarium level 3 again (yesterday). 

Getting more comfortable with the content.

Somewhat quiet group but good questions. 

Monday, April 11, 2022

covered annoying blue LED

Love my new ASUS 23-inch monitor.

Except for the stoopid bright blue brain-piercing power indication LED on the front. Sheesh.

A little square of Baby Bel red film did the trick.


Heard privately from Hyde.

She approved me!

I will be the first Killarney Park Astronomer In Residence.

She noted that my background and skills will be valuable assets to the program.  

Next step is to arrange for a short interview to discuss the equipment on site, possible arrival dates, and various practical elements.

After she has a confirmation of my telescope certification, she will arrange to have me listed as an AIR for summer 2022. 


speaking this week on doubles

I'm on deck this week. 

Wed 13 Apr at 8:00 PM EDT it's the RASC Montreal Citizen Science Series event, episode 5.

poster for RASC Montreal Citizen Science episode 5

I'll be speaking on measuring double stars, an activity that any keen amateur astronomy and citizen scientist can undertake. I'll briefly talk about methods, equipment, and submitted results.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

saw the Pup! (Bradford)

I think I got it! At last. I saw The Pup!

I repeatedly saw a fine point of light opposite star PPM 713043. Easy split. At times it tolerated direct vision. It also appeared briefly as A drifted out of the field.

The drift angle was roughly 3:30 to 9:30.

Unfortunately it was right on the diffraction spike which diminished a bit the brightness of this very faint star. But at the same time, that spike pointed nearly directly to the PPM star. Actually the diffraction spike was a hair south of PPM, maybe by about 1 degree.

sketch of Sirius A and The Pup

North is down, east is right. PPM 713043 is to the 9 o'clock position.

From A to PPM, the angle is 247° (per SkyTools). So that would make Sirius B 247-180, i.e. 67° estimated. B was to the ENE. Maybe tighter to due E.

Used the cooled loaner Orion XT10 Intelliscope (f/l 1200mm, f/4.7) still slightly out of collimation. baader 8-24 zoom eyepiece at 10 to 12 mm. With a Tele Vue PowerMate 2x. So working around 5 to 6mm. I.e. 200x.

Possibly spotted at low power (24 or rather 12mm) but not certain. Saw many times at the mid-range zoom. Too mushy at highest zoom.

Observed from sunset (7:55) to 8:30 PM EDT. Someone told me to view it in a bright sky. Or maybe they suggested an earlier time to avoid bad seeing.

Couldn't find Sirius earlier in the daylight sky. Scanned and scanned. 50 degrees down and right from the 1/3rd Moon.

Saw SAO 151875 as the sky darkened. Then SAO 151867. Sometimes PPM 713043 needed averted vision but it got easier as the sky went black.

Average transparency. Average seeing, at times above average. Air temp 2.6°C, 50% humidity.

Noted my moonshadow as I packed up.

Woo hoo!

That was exciting!

Early on I got discouraged. I had brought out the DSLR and 2-in nosepiece but I either couldn't centre on the star or reach focus. That thwarted my plans to collimate. So I just had to roll with it.

Didn't matter. I reached good focus in the ocular, particularly on the right and central part of the field.


incorrect magnitude?

Heard from Judy B of Halifax.

As she entered her observation of Messier 40 into her logs, she noted that we stated the double star had a magnitude of 8.0. But she noted elsewhere that the individual stars are 9.65 and 10.10.

I said we will need to look into it...


After collating all our sources, and applying the combined magnitude calculation, I arrived at 8.4. Promised to change it.

EAA—it's back!

We are considering Electronic Assisted Astronomy (EAA) again. The RASC national Observing Committee recently received an Explore the Moon application completed with a Unistellar EVscope. The observations were made with the electronic eyepiece.

The committee is discussing the matter.

Bill W and I had a good chat.

We received a detailed response from the west-coast observer, giving us lots ot chew on.

I'm looking to resurrect the discussion at the board level. That died on the vine some time ago.

We're going to see more and more of this in the future.

The question is: is this "visual" astronomy?


announced mobile training

Announced the new Stellarium training course for the Mobile Plus product.

Posted on the RASC forum.

Built the web page a short while later.

Stellarium Mobile Plus screen snap

Hands started goin' up right away so I don't think I'll have too much trouble finding enough participants...


Saturday, April 09, 2022

drafted an article

Submitted a piece to my SkyNews editor.

Hopefully it will hit the mark.



learned there's no trial

In researching my article on astronomy planning tools, I wondered about SkyTools.

Asked Greg if there was still a trial version.

Short answer: no.

received May/Jun SkyNews

Received my SkyNews comps for May/June.

Gave one to Rhonda.

cover of SkyNews May-Jun 2022

Might... just might... need the other for Mom. 


Thanked Chris V for including my images.


Reported to him that my included images looked better, not as dark.

revealed deep sky objects

Melody messaged me in the early morning. Sheesh. She's an early bird.

Later, during coffee, I reviewed her missive.

It contained another ask. She needed some more help with SkyTools.

When I click on an individual target, then interactive sky chart, the object doesn't appear. 

So I phoned the house. Startled Bruce. And connected with Melody. She headed to the full computer and fired up the application.

I had her selected a target from the Deep-Sky Challenges list, an obvious open cluster, and had her open the Interactive Atlas. She reported seeing stars and that was it... Hmm.

I had her it the T key. She confirmed the target cross-hair "plus" marker appeared with red lines and labelled object. But no yellow circle.

We tried a galaxy. No blue oval.

So I had her pull up the View settings. Oddly, none of the deep sky options were enabled. So we ticked all teh boxes.

Yeah, shapes and outlines appeared!

We went through open clusters, galaxies, planetary nebulae, emission nebulae, diffuse nebulae, reflection nebulae, dark nebulae, globular clusters, etc.

We also talked about double stars and the handy C key shortcut to reveal the companions.

missing the virtual NEAF

Wait. What?

Received a message from the NEAF team the "virtual event."

I had no idea they were proceeding.

Can't hang out this year, unfortunately. 


I went back through the previous communications. I saw nothing about a virtual event in the works. Either they didn't promote this effectively or I missed the memo...

Friday, April 08, 2022

tried to understand the Plan feature

Asked Greg the intended behaviour of the Generate Plan option in the Nightly Planner and why it was not affected by the Reset Filters.

 He made two remarks.

Technically, a filter is a function that removes, or filters out, objects from a list.  These include everything on the second line of controls, starting with the Class filter on the left.


On the other hand, the Plan is a feature that organizes the list into an observing plan.

I acknowledged him but explained that when I ticked the check box, it filtered out stuff.

It's a whole feature, an alternative mode for the planner.  [I] direct you to the help for the Nightly Planner.  The plan may not include all of your objects if they can't all be fit into a plan during the time available. 

Uh huh. As I thought. The time values might not allow enough time to view all.

Still. I'd argue that's a filtering behaviour.

Anyhoo. Now I know.

And it's time to re-read the manual.


I read this in the manual:

Also be aware that some observing lists are best at certain times of the year, and if the moon is up for much of the night, many objects may be filtered out.


noted the Axiom launch

Watched the recording of the SpaceX Ax-1 launch from the Florida space port.

Another first in spaceflight. Another step toward the commercialisation of space. Private astronauts. Kinda wild.


Caught the live press announcement from the International Space Station on Saturday.

I noted Kathryn Lueders remarks. She said this was baked into NASA's original positioning. From day 1, the plan was to provide private and commercial industries access to space. So, especially significant then, this event. It is 60 years in the making.

tried to help

Phoned Melody and Bruce to answer some SkyTools questions.

Help The big issue was that the observing list I had sent was not showing all the objects. I suspected some filters were blocking some of the targets.

I verified they had the correct list by checking the total number of entries. But half were filtered out.

I showed the Reset Filters command. Didn't work.

I verified the Quality, Constellation, and other filters were not active. No improvement.

We tried a different instrument. We verified her telescope was configured correctly.

We tried a dark sky location. No change.

We checked the time sliders. Both at mid-day, 12 noon.

I had them check the observer characteristics. Perhaps too restrictive... We created a youth with big pupils. Ah ha! I few more targets appeared.

I was flummoxed. 

It was then that Bruce did something and suddenly all the items appeared. 

Melody jumped. "What did you do?!"

He had unchecked the checkbox in the Generate Plan section.

Oh my. It was dramatically reducing the entries. I was able to recreate the situation in my software.

I thought it odd as it was my impression the plan option simply arranged the targets into a good order. But it was clearly applying some criteria. In addition, it was not affected by the Reset Filters command.

Anyhoo. It was working good.

I owe Bruce a beer this time!

administered the STS

Did Stellarium Training Series admin.

Caught up with Al. Relayed info and registration updates. Answered his questions. Arranged for a helper. He's up next week. Level 1.

As am I. Level 3.

Lots of herding cats.

applied for the AIR

Applied for the AICO-KPPO Astronomer In Residence position. x

Emailed the résumé and completed the Google Form.


Received an acknowledgement.

Learned the applications will be reviewed on Sunday.

crafted a CV

Been a while since I wrote a résumé.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

spotted big lithiums

While skimming the Cabela's / Bass Pro Shops flyer, I spotted a battery pack. Two actually. Form factor like car or marine batteries.

Holy Universe!

They had a sale on Dakota Lithium 12V lithium batteries. 

  • 54Ah reg. $700 sale $550
  • 100Ah reg. $1250 sale $1000

Go big or go home!

chatted with Trev

Phoned Trevor. Picked his brain about Killarney. We reminisced on when I helped him with Stellarium while he was at the Killarney Provincial Park Observatory.

He was encouraging and supportive.

Hopefully the black flies are not bad in May!

saw his new work

Met with John Read to discuss his new book.

chatted with Hyde

Phone Dr Elaina Hyde of York University.

Hyde told me about the new Astronomer In Residence program. A summer-long program to have a skilled telescope operator and science educator at the park. A couple of times a week they would run astronomy events at the park for visitors. They hoped to simulcast some events in conjunction with activities at the Allan I. Carswell Observatory at the university campus.

She shared links with me and I had a look at the materials.

the AIR program poster

I explained my role at the national level and what we did in the Observing Committee. I specifically mentioned the Explore the Universe certificate program being available to the general public. I think she liked that as a potential badge of honour for people visiting the park.

I suggested some avenues for Hyde to consider to seek out applicants including the RASC Weekly e-newsletter, the RASC Bulletin, and reaching out to Ontario-based RASC Centres.

Then she said I was welcome to apply.

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

sent EPS file

Heard from national regarding our metal pins order request.

I submitted the Encapsulated PostScript file. 

chatted with Tony

Chatted with Tony H on the phone.

He referred me to a matter with RASC Toronto Centre veep Dr Elaina Hyde. 

She wanted to know about programs offered by the Society that might be appropriate for education and public outreach activities at Killarney Provincial Park. We set up a phone call meeting.

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

suggested HDR

Robert B shared a nice photo captured by his daughter. Crescent Moon with Earthshine.

He said to me that they should have taken flats to bring out the stars.

I explained flats were for dust bunnies and vignetting.

Next time, they could try high-dynamic range imaging. If successfully blending a long and short exposure in a good image editor tool, then they'd see the surrounding stars.

I look forward to her next attempt.

Monday, April 04, 2022

received postponement notice

Received a reminder email from the NEAF crew.

"NEAF (and NEAIC) 2022 HAS BEEN MOVED TO 2023."


Another reminder... it ain't over.

The new North-East Astronomy Forum dates are April 15-16, 2023.

They cited significantly lower participation rates for 2022 than anticipated.


Odd, on Saturday, I suddenly received notices of online talks. Had no idea...

Sunday, April 03, 2022

checked the chipset

Stephen D sent me a photo from his phone of his computer screen while his Windows computer was connected to his NexStar+ hand controller.

I had asked for port information.

assigned port in Windows with NexStar Plus

There it is. Proof a Prolific chipset is inside the Celestron hand box.

Hmmm. Looks like Windows 11...

received the nudge

Received the reminder from my Journal editor.


Loaded me files into the hopper. 

Er, my online shared folder.

Saturday, April 02, 2022

shout out acknowledged

Karim, Professor, Physics & Astronomy Outreach at John Abbott College, sent a quick note.

He had read the RASC Bulletin

Thanks for the shout out...  You're too kind  :)  I hope the conversation with Chuck leads to some great reciprocal awareness of our members' accomplishments! 

See you soon, virtually at least  ;) 

I had thanked him for inviting me to speak at the Explore Alliance Global Star Party and for introducing me to the Astronomical League rep.

chat with prez

Had a very good chat with the RASC president.

Won my argument.

And received an invitation to the next board meeting. 

As Hannibal says, "I love it when a plan comes together."

chat with observer

Chatted with Paul C in Waterloo.

He's gonna help us sort the issue(s) with the Wood's lunar atlas.

Hopefully we can apply some helpful updates to the RASC Explore The Moon program.

helped find west and north

Hope I helped Eric on Cloudy Nights as he begins observing and sketching double stars.

I explained how to find west and north. 

no response

Still no response from our RASC board liaison...

Friday, April 01, 2022

no reminder... yet

When Chris B asked me if I had received any notification or reminder for the Journal submission, it occurred to me that I had not entered the deadline dates into my 2022 calendar.


And neither had I prepared an article.

Fortunately, I had a good seed idea in the hopper... I started working it!


And, no, no request at this stage.

noted the Bulletin for April

The RASC Bulletin rolled out (er, arrived the electronic inbox).

It featured our Observing Committee Digest.

We recognised the latest certificates awarded. Including another one for the Double Stars program! w00t!

We also acknowledged a national member who has received two dozen certificates from the Astronomical League. Remarkable.

Shared some other news such as our first live interactive meeting in a long time, Blake's invitation to speak at an Explore Alliance event, and our efforts to update the observing lists for the Deep-Sky Gems and Deep-Sky Challenge programs.

heard from Jean

Heard from Jean Vallières, the software developer of COELIX.

Gaétan had told him about the article you wrote in the JRASC. 

I took a look at it and I'm very honoured.  Thank you for taking the time to test COELIX.

My pleasure.

He also shared a little update. 

Some users have reported difficulty printing the almanacs and sky maps in PDF format.

Jean created a specific web page describing the procedure to help people obtain better results.