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, June 27, 2017

Oops the tripod on wheels tips over; To engineer or not to engineer; Solar filters and glue for eclipse viewing; Planes and rockets and contrails

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Last post I described the placement of my telescope tripod on a set of wheeley bars for the purpose of simplifying the telescope setup and how this provided the opportunity that once the scope is setup to just wheel the scope outside and make some observations without the need to each time to set up the tripod, install the mount, bring out the scope, bring out the camera and battery.  So this seemed like a good labor saving invention.  But the first time I took the whole setup outside, I found the tripod was top heavy and I almost tipped the whole thing over.  As I was pushing on the assembly, one of the tripod legs lifted out and the whole thing

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Played hooky from SAS day 3; Determining and marking the cardinal direction on astro images; Three great articles received from readers; Fantastic labor saving wheely bars simplify telescope setup

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week was supposed to include one more day of the SAS symposium, but I was so worn out that I decided to play hooky.  I will offer some comments about lessons learned at the SAS and review a great exoplanet news article, a short but informative video on dark energy and a great set of slides describing how to prepare for photographing the August total eclipse and finish up with a fantastic way of simplifying the time needed to setup the telescope for at observatory data collection sessions.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

First attempt to look at the center of the Milky Way; No progress yet on identifying Marcelo's mysterious moving object; Getting ready for SAS; New 5 inch high pier should be just right

Greeting from Palmia Observatory

Well the schedule for this week has been very busy with many conflicts.  I had hoped to install the latest minor planet ephemeris and see if I could get any better indication of the mysterious moving object that our fellow OCA Astronomer, Civil, Civil-Engineer, Marcelo, managed to capture in his last observing session at Anza, as was described in our June 6, 2017 post.  But, I just ran out of time and couldn't do it, but Resident Astronomer Peggy and I did manage to make it to the OCA general meeting, but could not fit in the OCA Astrophysics SIG and OCA Black Star observing session because of the simultaneous scheduling of the Society of Astronomical Sciences Symposium (SAS)held in Ontario, CA.  This symposium draws an international crowd of many other serious amateurs (see photo below), or as many of the speakers at the symposium described themselves as "backyard astronomers."  Former OCA Secretary, now SAS president and soon to become an astronomer in Arizona, Bob Buchheim, was just calling the session to order as I was returning to my seat with a cup of caramel latte macchiato.  I found this first days session very informative and hope to report on some of the findings there, but first I want to go back to some actual astronomical observing that was

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Amateur Astronomer's takeaway points from the 230th American Astronomical Society (AAS) Meeting; Dark Suns Movie; Eclipse information website; Going Batty in Austin

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well I spent a better part of this week at the 230th meeting of the American Astronomical Society held in Austin, TX.  The AAS is a professional astronomers society where the latest results and findings can be presented, discussed and critiqued.  I have been attending this meeting for three years now and always have had a great time and learned a lot even if many of the more technical presentations are way over my head.  My plan for this blog is to offer some brief takeaways from my perspective

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Going to the 230th AAS meeting; GW170104 black hole merger event announced; Is Marcelo's Moving Mystery object an asteroid?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, my bags are packed and ready to travel to Austin, TX tomorrow for the 230th American Astronomical Society meeting and I have run out of time to do any late night observing, but no matter, I just wait for the images to come to me!  First image in is an artists conception of the just announced black hole merge event GW170104.  The second set of images and analyses is for an image of Sombrero Galaxy (M104), shared by OCA Civil civil-engineer, Marcelo, in which he has coincidentally noticed a slow moving object, possibly an asteroid.  So, lets get right to it!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Abandoned high voltage Marx generator with sparking video; "Tesla: A Radio Play" at Laguna Playhouse; Distinctive Voices and risk at California Delta lecture; New quantum optics course by Alain Aspect

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

 Well this has been a week of not many astronomical observing opportunities, but many new opportunities for new theater productions, new lectures on earthquake risks, and new courses on quantum optics.  Oh boy, I can just hear you saying!  Anyway it is all in the week of the physicist wannabe and sometimes actual astronomical observer.  First we had signed up for tickets for the production of "Tesla: A Radio Play", about a portion of the life of the brilliant, if