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)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Brian Greene lecture at Soka; Art McDonald neutrino lecture; AIP4WIN software for photometry; Globular star clusters and Dr Ben; CSULB Physics Colloquia; Finally, setting up the LISA spectrometer

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, not much nighttime observing got done here this week, but we did have a great time at the Brian Greene lecture on "Weird Science" at Soka University.  He is a very dynamic speaker and even though we were quite familiar with his message, he was very interesting.  It was nice to have an early dinner on campus with

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Rain cancels Black Star observing; Discovered hidden gem:Mascarpone's Ristorante; Discovery of black hole in globular cluster 47 Tucanae; Check out Brian Greene lecture at Soka University; Listen to The Great Courses CDs while driving there

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this has turned out to be a very rainy week and we expected the OCA event at Black Star Canyon to be cancelled and sure enough we just received official notice of the cancellation.  Thanks for the notification and see you all next time and thanks to Black Star Past Host, Steve, and New Black Star Host, Steve!  This makes the third month we have missed some dark sky observing, but we were still planning on attending the OCA Astrophysics SIG, but again the rain interfered with that too. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Ongoing saga of trying to see the Crab Nebula in city lights; Hooray, at least its location is in the camera frame; Inflation conference at UCI; Happy Valentine's day

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Recall that the last post on February 10, asked the question if we are able to see the Crab Nebula (M1) in city polluted lights?  Well, the attempt at that time to photograph M1 did not go well and my star hopping procedure to go from relatively bright and observable stars to the dim, not visible M1, missed the target by a couple of degrees.  Well, that is just the life of an amateur astronomer and good intentioned plans often go awry and we are given another chance to learn and do better.  Luckily, the weather last night was very good and clear, but before looking at

Friday, February 10, 2017

Better camera and red dot finder mounting; Can you see Crab Nebula in the city? Using Dark Sky Meter and Surface Brightness comparison and not so great star hopping in first attempt

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week has included some great physics colloquia discussions on dark matter and astrophysical constraints on the currently unknown dark matter particle characteristics.  Also, I received a little six-inch machined bar, costing about $10/inch (I don't know why these little telescope accessories costs so much) so that I can more easily mount my camera/telephoto lens combination and the red dot finder all at the same time on my lightweight, non-tracking tripod.  As you recall, this setup can be easily moved and installed with just one hand and I can make some "science" type measurements very easily without a lot of setup time.   This time I am investigating whether I can see M1, The Crab Nebula, in city lights. But first

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Measuring and imaging the backgroound stars at night today that will be the same background stars during the daytime solar eclipse in August 2017; Champagne toasting whichever team wins the Super Bowl

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well last week was filled with indoor study and this week I hoped to collect some preliminary data for the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.  The observing plan for this week is to get images of the background stars that will be visible during the total eclipse.  This data gathering was the same type of thing that Eddington had to do when he planned to photograph the 1919 solar eclipse as a test verification of Einstein general theory of relativity. You need to know the position of the background stars without the sun present and then take an image during the solar eclipse and see how much those star positions have shifted due to the gravitation of the sun which bends the star light. When will those background stars be visible during the night you ask?  Well if we know the sky location of where the total solar eclipse will occur, which will of course be in the daytime, we can see those same stars in the nighttime six months prior to the eclipse.  So the observing plan for

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Some comments on the April APS meeting; Gravity wave vs rubber ruler epiphany, thanks to Dr. Gary; The generalized 2nd law of cosmology (and thermodynamics)

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well I was offsite this weekend attending the American Physical Society "April" meeting in Washington, DC.  The "April" meeting is one of the two main APS annual meetings and it is at this meeting where particle physics, gravitation, astrophysics, cosmology and nuclear physics are the main topics being presented.  It just turns out this year, due to