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)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mysterious white blobs and the Lyman Alpha forest; Is dark matter really real? Winning the Ig Noble prize; OCA Black Star Canyon Party and searching for Pluto and asteroid Pallas at the Candy Store; Helix Nebula and Lychee martini

Greetings from Palmia Observatory
This week had a couple of observing opportunities, one of which at Black Star canyon, resulted in all images taken while pointing at someplace other than the target, and one at the Candy Store on Ortega Highway, which was more of a qualified success.  But, before talking about that, let's check the mail which is just full of good astronomical odds and ends and a new mystery concerning white blobs, which just tells you that the mystery is not completely over until

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

First light from new lens and Astronomer finally captures image of Uranus; Physics Colloquia and Astrophysics SIG talk about effects of curved space time; Check out Roger Penrose lectures and get your free ticket; Astrometric analysis confirms it really is Uranus; Waiter, there is a sextant in my martini glass!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

This week started with the first light from the new spotter scope lens and finally capturing a blurry dot called Uranus and inside activity included very interesting presentations, one at OCA Astrophysics SIG, on the precession of Mercury and one on quantum field theory in curved spacetme at the CSULB physics colloquia.  But first, some comments from smart alecs who responded to the question presented in the September 12 blog post, what are the strange

Friday, September 16, 2016

Stay away from this Freeway Traffic Jam? Good time at AIAA Space 2016 Conference, Decadal astrophysics survey plans for next observatories and Solved: White Blob mystery explained after consultation with Bob

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week I've been offsite at the AIAA Space 2016 conference in Long Beach and that means that Resident Astronomer Peggy and Astronomer Assistants Danny and Ruby are in charge.  Actually they are always in charge anyway, its just that

Monday, September 12, 2016

Astronomer tries to take photo of Pluto and it's hard since it is no longer listed as a planet and discovers strange white blobs at same time; Comparing brightness of Pluto with background skyglow in city lights

Greetings from Palmia Observatory
After the recent success of finding dim Neptune and locating its fuzzy smudge of light right in the position calculated by the current star catalogs, it was time to go after the top prize in planetary imaging, Pluto.  Oops, first of all, Pluto is not a planet (any more), so I guess it is not

Friday, September 9, 2016

Successful astrometric analysis confirms target as Neptune; Yes, planets do wander so be sure to use the correct Right Ascension and Declination; OCA General Meeting

Last post we showed the successful attempt to get a good enough alignment that the goto scope capability could get Neptune in the camera field of view.  We were quite excited about this success, but as usual the amateur should follow up with some analysis to confirm that the object identified is really the target in question, in this case, is Neptune.

Last time we discussed the two follow up methods proposed to look at the identity of

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Amateur finally finds Neptune; Check out the AIAA Space 2016 Conference; Sir Roger Penrose to speak at Chapman University; What to do with all your old paper tubes?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, this week has finally culminated in a successful finding of Neptune.  Or at least, I am relatively confident of that, even though one more rigorous test using the star chart overlay is needed to be completely sure.  Anyway before describing that picture and success story, we should check the calendar for upcoming special events.

First the AIAA Space 2016 Conference will be in Long Beach next week, September 13-16.  Check out the conference website for details if you are interested.  There will be

Friday, September 2, 2016

More on planetary atmospheres and heat balance; Max Tegmark and the Multiverse and Theory of Everything; One physicist wannabe's ongoing journey; and the sad and failed first attempt to capture Neptune

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, I had hoped tonight to redo the hunt for Neptune, but the weather is really overcast and the viewing is really poor.  I will tell what happened during the first failed attempt a couple of days ago, but first let's talk a little bit more about the previous discussion of heat transfer with the Earth's atmosphere and use this as a basis for

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Is the galaxy upside down or is it just me? Are you using an eyepiece, a camera, or a star diagonal? Getting ready to put the spectrometer on.

Amateur astronomers observe at night but that does not mean they get to sleep all day.  No way, and its not because they are physicist wannabes and are studying all day.  No, the reason is they often have to ponder all sorts of questions about the images they collected the night before, such as "Is that picture of that galaxy upside down?  Let's take a look at some of the telescope optics and devices that might be used during a night of observing and astrophotography that give rise to this type of question.

First, we know that a lens in the system will tend to invert the image and any mirror in the system will