gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


This doesn’t bode well for watching the Mercury transit on Monday

November 10, 2019 @ 00:46 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Weather

While starting to prepare for observing the transit of Mercury on Monday, I took a look at the cloud cover forecast for Monday morning. It’s not terribly encouraging:

There is an intriguing hole in the Eastern Townships near Sherbrooke. That might be the place to be.

Maybe the forecast will change between now and then. (It could happen.)

The last transit of Mercury until 2032 is on Monday

November 08, 2019 @ 12:59 By: gordon Category: Astronomy

Source: Wikipedia

The planet Mercury will passing across the face of the sun on Monday, November 11th. The transit starts at 07:35am Eastern (12:35 UTC) and ends at 1:04pm (18:04 UTC). This will be the last transit of Mercury until November 13th, 2032 (it’s a Saturday).

Observing it is a bit challenging because you can’t just walk outside with a pair of binoculars and stare at the sun to see the tiny black dot that will be Mercury. You need special solar filters for your binoculars/telescope/camera to make it safe to look at — a neutral density filter is not sufficient. If you don’t use an appropriate solar filter, you risk causing yourself serious eye damage and you could also ruin your binoculars/telescope/camera in the process.

My photo of the last transit of Mercury

I observed the last transit of Mercury in May 2016 in front of where I work at lunch using a piece of #14 welder’s glass in front of the lens of my camera. My plans for the upcoming transit include both my 6″ telescope and my William Optics RedCat 51, with proper solar filters, of course!

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have the necessary equipment. If you want to observe it, members of the Ottawa Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will be at Marion Dewar Plaza outside Ottawa City Hall (110 Laurier Avenue West) from 7:30am to 1:30pm with their telescopes and the public is welcome to drop by and observe it safely. Monday is Remembrance Day, so be sure to leave yourself lots of time to get there.

Returning to Standard Time. Again.

November 02, 2019 @ 23:57 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

So, in just over two hours much of Canada starts turning the clocks back an hour because Daylight Saving Time is ending. This means that we’ll have more darkness at the end of the day, see an increase in the injuries and deaths in the next week or so, and we won’t save any more energy or money in the process.

It’s high time that we end the madness and stop changing the clocks. Let’s change to Daylight Saving Time one more time in the spring and then stop messing with the clocks forever. Saskatchewan doesn’t change their clocks and they seem ok. British Columbia, for example, is talking about doing it and I’m confident they’ll be ok. Let’s make the decision as a country to leave the clocks alone. Please.

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Spring: Not coming to a city near you anytime soon.

April 08, 2019 @ 16:44 By: gordon Category: Weather

Spring just can’t seem to take hold this year. The forecast for the next 24 hours or so is quite bleak:

TAF AMD CYOW 081922Z 0819/0918 06005KT 5SM -FZRA BR OVC006 TEMPO 0819/0820 6SM BR

FM082000 06005KT 5SM -DZ BR OVC006 TEMPO 0820/0821 6SM BR FM082100 VRB03KT 5SM -DZ BR BKN006 OVC010 TEMPO 0821/0903 P6SM NSW OVC010

FM090300 03008KT 6SM BR SCT004 OVC010 TEMPO 0903/0908 4SM -DZ BR BKN004 OVC010 BECMG 0904/0906 07008KT

FM090800 10012G22KT P6SM -SN BKN008 OVC012 PROB30 0908/0912 3SM -FZDZ BR

FM091200 10015G25KT 4SM -FZRA -PL BR OVC008 PROB30 0912/0918 3/4SM -SN VV007


In other words, light freezing rain, which should be done by now, light drizzle, swirly gusty winds with snow starting overnight and then changing to light freezing rain and light ice pellets, a combination often known as sleet, with a 30% change of that turning into snow. You know, because we haven’t had enough snow this winter.

I’m seriously hating the weather.

Daylight saving time. Again.

March 10, 2019 @ 00:07 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

Apparently, we’re still doing this whole daylight saving time silliness. Fine, ok.

If you live in one of the unfortunate places that changes the clocks, set them forward at 02:00 local time Sunday morning.

Myth: Daylight saving time saves energy.
Fact: No, it doesn’t. At best, it simply results in a shift in when energy is consumed.

Myth: There’s no real downside to switching to daylight saving time.
Fact: More people are injured or killed in the week following the time change than usual.

Either of those is a good reason to end the madness and pick one time and stick to it going forward. I’d prefer to stick with DST, but I’m at the point where I don’t care — just pick one.

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Happy New Year!

January 01, 2019 @ 00:00 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

Welcome to 2019! I hope everyone has a safe, happy and prosperous new year! Champagne flutes (2019)

Happy Consensus New Year!

December 31, 2018 @ 13:30 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General