gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon

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Looking North at FLO with the iOptron SkyTracker Pro

August 11, 2018 @ 11:36 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Photography

I was out at FLO last night. The viewing conditions were surprisingly good. I was showing my iOptron SkyTracker Pro to someone and decided to see how long of an exposure I could use and still have the stars as points rather than becoming little arcs. So, I set my timer at ten minutes and started the exposure.

Click the image for a larger version.

I’m really happy with the result. You can clearly see the Andromeda Galaxy in the right half of the image and it appears that I caught a Perseid meteor almost in the centre of the frame.

The trees look kind of ghostly because the camera was tracking the stars, which causes the trees to appear to move in the image. Had I not been tracking the stars, the stars would look like arcs.

More Milky Way

August 01, 2018 @ 21:38 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Photography

Here’s another image from the same outing that my previous Milky Way photo. This one is made up of 3 images of 5 minutes exposure, each and then some work in Photoshop. I knocked down the light pollution of Ottawa in the bottom left corner, but there’s still a bit “goo” to be dealt with.

The Milky Way galaxy

July 26, 2018 @ 17:30 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Photography

I went out one evening last week and did some long exposures of the Milky Way galaxy using my Canon 70D on my iOptron Skytracker Pro. This is the result after stacking 4 images of 5 minutes exposure, each, and doing a bit of work on them in Photoshop. I’m fairly happy with the result, however I want to do a bit more to try any knock down the light pollution near the horizon.

 

First dragonboat practice of the season

May 28, 2018 @ 14:24 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats, Weather

This evening is the first practice of the season for my dragonboat team. Naturally, the weather is shaping up to be a bit exciting just before and just after our session:

TAF CYOW 281739Z 2818/2918 24007KT P6SM BKN020 TEMPO 2818/2820 BKN025
FM282000 26007KT P6SM BKN040 TEMPO 2820/2823 P6SM -SHRA PROB30
2820/2823 2SM TSRA BR BKN040CB
FM290200 26008KT P6SM -SHRA BKN050 PROB30 2902/2904 VRB20G30KT
1SM +TSRA BR BKN050CB
FM290400 35010G20KT P6SM FEW050
FM290600 36008KT P6SM SKC
BECMG 2914/2916 06008KT
RMK NXT FCST BY 282100Z=

Basically, on either side of our practice (from 8pm to 9pm), the weather may include light rain showers and with a 30% probability of thunderstorms.

Figures, eh?

A weather non-rant

April 23, 2018 @ 12:01 By: gordon Category: Weather

This may just be the shorted TAF I’ve ever seen:

TAF CYOW 231439Z 2315/2412 22005KT P6SM FEW220
RMK NXT FCST BY 231800Z=

Basically, until 8pm this evening, light winds out of the southwest and a few clouds at 22000′.

A nice change from the other stuff we’ve had recently, eh?

Switching to Daylight Saving Time

March 10, 2018 @ 17:07 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

Here we go again… changing the clocks forward an hour at 2AM early tomorrow morning in a misguided attempt to save energy. While we’ll shift when we see the sunlight, it won’t actually save an energy.

Instead, we’ll see an increase in accidents for the next week or so because people are discombobulated by the change in their sleep pattern. As an added “bonus”, there’s a 10% increase the likelihood that you’ll experience a heart attack during the days immediately following the time change.

We really need to pick one (preferably the summer version) and stick with it. A whole provinces of farmers (i.e. Saskatchewan) can’t be completely wrong. Read the rest of this entry →

Ringing and remembering: There aren’t enough tolls

February 27, 2018 @ 15:00 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Handbells

One of my favourite pieces of music to play on handbells is Make Me An Instrument Of Thy Peace by Kevin McChensey. It’s a beautifully moving piece of music, that takes full advantage of all the handbells my choir has. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve played it over the years, playing it both with just my choir and organ, and larger massed choirs, including in 2005 at a handbell festival in Ottawa with a huge number of choirs.

He based it on the 13th century prayer of St. Francis of Assisi and dedicated it to “the victims of the shooting at Columbine High School and other acts of senseless violence”. A few years ago, while talking to him (Kevin, not St. Francis) about commissioning a piece of music, I mentioned it. He told me that it was actually his second attempt at writing a piece of music in memory of those who died at the Columbine High School massacre in April 1999. The first attempt was apparently too dark and sad and not what he was trying to achieve. I’m glad he made a second attempt, but I wish he hadn’t had to write it at all.

The piece starts and ends with 12 tolls and a final chord. Each chord represents one of the people who were killed at Columbine.

Here’s a photo of the last couple of lines. You can see the chords starting at bar 109.

We’ve been rehearsing it for the last few practices, but yesterday evening’s practice was the first I’ve been at since the horrible shootings in Florida and I couldn’t help but think about the victims and survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. There aren’t enough tolls for them.

One of the many videos on YouTube of it being played on handbells…