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)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hooray, good alignment and observing, M51, M104, M3 and comet Johnson (C/2016 V2) at OCA Blackstar; Use background stars to identify where your scope is pointing; More on surface brightness measurement

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well the weather was great for observing at this month's OCA Blackstar Canyon party; finally breaking the spell of many months of bad weather, and almost 50 observers made the most of this welcome opportunity.  Resident Astronomer Peggy was there with her binoculars and until the sun went down she volunteered with the signup clipboard for email signups.  Resident Astronomer George finally got dark enough skies to complete a 2-star alignment, something not easily done with the city lights at the observatory.  It was great to see so many

Friday, April 21, 2017

Exciting videos from readers; Summary of two galaxy formation lectures; Epiphany regarding Photoshop loss of pixels; Hope for good weather at Blackstar; Packing bags for river cruise

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this has been a busy week with a couple of interesting physics colloquia and three other astronomy related meetings and lectures.  We are looking forward also to the OCA Astrophysics Sig and hopefully good observing at Blackstar.  It has also been a week where I finally had an epiphany regarding why my Photoshop processed images were not as clear as the original images on the DSLR.  It is sad to recognize that I have been doing the DSLR file format conversion for over two years now with old conversion software and have been leaving about 80% of the pixels behind.  But before getting into those details we should

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Finally got aboard USS Zumwalt; LA meteor video; More alignment lessons using the real Polaris; Consolation image of Moon; Take a wine tasting class when observing doesn't go right

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week has been busy trying to do better alignments and taking a shipboard tour, more about that in a minute, but first we should look at some other astronomical news.  I saw this interesting video of the recent LA meteor, which was posted by OCA Astroimager, Dave Kodama.  He was lucky enough to capture the recent

Friday, April 7, 2017

Use your level to get starting alignments; Captured fuzzy image of comet 41P (maybe?); Analysis shows predicted location overlaps with image; M3 comparison image

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well the weather forecast looked promising for another attempt at trying to capture the comet 41P before it swings further away in its path around the sun.  To that end, I knew that getting a good initial alignment was going to be key to using the goto command to point toward the comet.  It turns out that 41P was not listed in the hand controller comet dictionary, so it was necessary to find the comet's RA and Dec in another application and key it in manually.  But the real issue was going to be getting a

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Climate change and ecosystems with Dr Nyssa Silbiger at Our Cosmos Meetup; Supernova light curves, time dilation and expanding or static universes? Dava Sobel talks about "The Glass Universe" at Chapman University; Resident Astronomer wins blue rhino

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

This week I attended a couple of meetings brought to my attention by Our Cosmos Meetup group and if you are interested in exploring scientific fields with public events you should consider joining up and getting announcements for many upcoming, usually free, events. The first event this week for me was a lecture by Dr. Nyssa Silbiger, UCI postdoc, on "Climate change effects on ecosystems.  The lecture was held at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center located on the back bay in Newport Beach.

It's a beautiful location with walking paths across the

Monday, April 3, 2017

Failed attempt at capturing comet 41P; Observe at night, but observe the sun in the daytime too; More progress in identifying neon lamp spectral calibration lines

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

This week I had every intention to try to find and photograph the nearby comet 41P.  I planned to use the observatory back patio because from there Polaris is visible to the naked eye and comet 41P, which with declination of +64 degrees, is located in the northerly skies, circling the north pole, with visible magnitude 6.6, too dim to see without a scope.  So, the 80mm refractor was setup outside and as luck would have it, too many interfering factors made it impossible to get