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Archive for the ‘Astronomy’

Another apology to astronomers in this part of the world

January 10, 2018 @ 13:57 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Weather

So, a couple of days ago I posted an apology to astronomers in this part of the world because I had cursed the weather by having ordered a new astronomy toy. Well, a couple of days ago, I ordered a tripod for my new toy and now the viewing conditions for the foreseeable future look like this:

The line of particular interest is the “Seeing” line. White and grey boxes are bad. And the “Transparency” line is pretty much solid white, so that sucks, too.

I think I’m done buying astronomy bits for a while, mostly because it appears there’s no point because I’ll never get to use them. That should cause the weather to clear up sometime by the end of the month.

Once again, my apologies to the astronomers in this part of the world. I’m sorry.

Hmm… I could use a dew heater. (Does anyone want to pay me to not buy a dew heater and thus not curse the weather further?)

An apology to astronomers in northeastern North America

January 03, 2018 @ 21:02 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Weather

I appear to owe the astronomy community an apology.

Everytime I buy something related to astronomy (e.g., telescope, filters, etc.) the weather turns to crap and noone can see the stars. The length of time this goes on for seems to be directly related to the amount of money I spent on the astronomy stuff.

Just after Christmas, I picked up an iOptron Skytracker Pro, so we probaby won’t see the the stars anytime soon.

I’m sorry.

Time for the semi-annual silliness (again)

November 03, 2017 @ 17:00 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

Tomorrow evening, we North Americans (well, most of us) are supposed to turn our clocks back an hour in the vain quest of pursuit of saving energy.

Why “vain pursuit”? Well, because although daylight saving time is promoted as leading to an overall reduction in energy consumption, there hasn’t been any proof that this has ever been accomplished. Check out David Prerau’s book Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time (hardcover: 1560256559; softcover: 1560257962) if you want to learn more about the history of daylight saving time. It’s actually more interesting than it sounds.

If you’re a *NIX system administrator you probably updated your systems a few years ago, but in case you haven’t you probably should take a look at this. The zdump command should give you something like this:

[gordon@seedling gordon]$ zdump -v /etc/localtime|grep 2017
/etc/localtime  Sun Mar 12 06:59:59 2017 UTC = Sun Mar 12 01:59:59 2017 EST isdst=0 gmtoff=-18000
/etc/localtime  Sun Mar 12 07:00:00 2017 UTC = Sun Mar 12 03:00:00 2017 EDT isdst=1 gmtoff=-14400
/etc/localtime  Sun Nov  5 05:59:59 2017 UTC = Sun Nov  5 01:59:59 2017 EDT isdst=1 gmtoff=-14400
/etc/localtime  Sun Nov  5 06:00:00 2017 UTC = Sun Nov  5 01:00:00 2017 EST isdst=0 gmtoff=-18000

Intriguing object spotted while looking at Saturn Friday evening

October 07, 2017 @ 01:44 By: gordon Category: Astronomy

I was up at Champlain Lookout in Gatineau Park Friday evening with my telescope to do some astrophotography. I was looking at Saturn and all of a sudden something very bright moved across the field of view from left to right (in the eyepiece). There are only two plausible explanations I can come up with…

  1. Satellite
  2. Meteor

Whatever it was, it’s definitely the most intriguing thing I’ve seen through a telescope.

Ring Nebula (M57)

September 24, 2017 @ 11:08 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Photography

Yesterday evening was a beautiful evening to be out with a telescope. I decided to go after the Ring Nebula (M57), which was visible high in the sky.

This is an extract from one of the images I captured. The rest are being stacked as we speak.

Andromeda galaxy (M31) – first attempt

September 10, 2017 @ 11:13 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Photography

I headed out yesterday evening to see what I could see. One of the things visible in the sky last night was the Andromeda Galaxy (M31). I put my camera on the back of the telescope and took a number of images. After aligning the images and working on them in Photoshop, I have an image where you can start to see some of the structure in the galaxy.

Andromeda galaxy (M31) (9 September 2017) © Gordon P. Dewis, 2017.

There’s specialized software for processing astrophotographs. For this image, I used one to figure out the image offset between the 8 images that went into it and then used Photoshop to manually align them. Then I converted the layers into a smart object, stacked them and applied some curves, exposure, level, and brightness/contrast adjustments.

For a first attempt, I’m happy with the results. I want to explore some of the other astrophotography software out there to see what works best for me.

Totality

August 22, 2017 @ 01:13 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Photography

I headed to Glendo State Park in Wyoming today to watch the eclipse with some friends. Here’s a quick photo of totality…