Observing with Street Lights

Observing with Street Lights
Dark sky sites not always necessary to see the Milky Way (This image was taken ouside of a B&B in Julian, CA)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Gruncle duties, Quantum Summit at Caltech, importance of camera image flats and funny video about "why Hitler didn't get into physics graduate studies"

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

The has been a daytime busy week with the physics colloquium at CSULB, "gruncle" activities with great nephew Jackson in San Diego, attending an AIAA meeting on climate science and attending the Quantum Summit at Caltech. It's been a busy week.

The Quantum Summit included half dozen presentations by quantum computer experts describing the progress being made to achieve the quantum computer dream.  I probably doubled or quadrupled what I knew about quantum computing and that was only after taking lots of notes and pretending that I understood what was being described.  I can only remember and provide this high level summary of

Friday, January 22, 2016

Played hookey from conference, but snapped aircraft just missing moon and used visible Sirius as test object for RA and Dec determination and finally read more of OCA author's book

Greetings from Palmia Observatory,

Well this week has been quite cold and cloudy.  I was going to speed three days at a synthetic biology conference at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, but was pretty much tired out after one day.  The second day would have been interesting, but Astronomer Assistant Ruby had a scheduled puppy training so I played hookey.  Paying attention at a biology conference, where the subject is more difficult and vocabulary so different  than

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Using Big Dipper images and astrometric software to measure magnitudes and compare with star catalogs magnitudes and RA and Dec

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, we didn't win the Powerball drawing, so plans of spending a billion dollars on a new large telescope are put on hold and it's back to astrophysics full time.  The skies have been mostly cloudy with a bit of clear viewing so this week we're in for some more indoor astrophysics.  It's a convenient time to try some astrometry on the last week's  image of Ursa Major.  No, that's not a misspelling; astrometry is about

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Use Powerball $2 ticket, and wait for $1,000,000,000 winnings to build larger observatory and AIP4WIN analysis of stars in Big Dipper in meantime

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, it hasn't quite been a week yet, but time is passing very quickly and I wanted to be sure I got a blog out this week before the Powerball drawing tonight.  I couldn't resist making a $2 investment for a possible payout of over a billion dollars.  I've already got big plans for all that money.  I think about 99% will be allocated to

Friday, January 8, 2016

Determining star magnitudes by relative comparison with standard candel stars and check up with local OCA experts for camera linearity tests

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, the El NiƱo weather has brought so much rain that this week's photos are technical charts and graphs based on an astro image captured last week.  Sorry about that, but performing astro photometry and doing technical analysis ties observation together with astrophysical theory.  This makes a good combination and It's fun too, so stay tuned in.

Remember last week I showed an image of Polaris and my measured estimates of some of the stars in the neighborhood.  In one image you could even see

Monday, January 4, 2016

Things (even batteries) go wrong for amateurs and professionals, keep going anyway (but keep everything warm), Operating the touch screen with gloves is problematic, Polaris, first attempt at measuring star magnitude, and Barlow and focal length adapters

Greetings and Happy New Year from Palmia Observatory

We hope everyone is off to a good and happy start at this new year.  This is the time to reevaluate our goals and progress.  My goals at the observatory for this coming year are to (1) Continue with ongoing physics and cosmology study and build more experience with making astronomical observations, (2) develop some science type observation plans, which can actually contribute to the amateur input to valuable professional astronomical studies, (3) make measurements of the visible magnitude changes associated with variable stars and eclipsing binary stars, and (4) move more fully into measuring spectra from stars and other objects.

To meet these goals, a few new skills and equipment are required.  First,