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, July 31, 2017

Revised Polaris movement measurement; Which direction should the telescope be moved to point directly at the north celestial pole?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well the previous post on July 28 presented the first measurement estimate of motion of Polaris about the north celestial pole.  There was some operator error (Resident Astronomer George) in doing the least squares curve fit of the data to the apparent circular motion and we show here the latest, updated, motion measurement.  Also, it became apparent that it was not obvious what direction to change the scope pointing angle so that instead of being centered on Polaris is centered on the north celestial pole (NCP) instead.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A dozen lessons learned in one day of the amateur astronomer; Measuring movement of Polaris: More rolling tripods

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, the weather forecast of yesterday was for "Good" visibility has now been changed to "Fair" for tonight.  Anyway, this was the night for action, so I decided to take the whole scope setup, mounted on the wheeley bars for easy transport outside with no setup once outside or teardown when the unit is brought back inside.  Now as many of you already know, each observing session is an opportunity for new lessons and the teaching opportunities came easily and freely on this night's observing session.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

USS Gerald R Ford commissioned; Checking out the portable chair and Ham radio communication; Remember to photograph the moon during the eclipse? Progress in studying to be an astrophysicist

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well the weather this week has been more cloudy than not and so again I have postponed taking the wheeled tripod out for a spin and observing session.  The forecast for good skies has been pushed back a couple of days now, but at least tomorrow night is supposed to be very clear.  In the meantime, we will cover some news, some preparation for the eclipse and go over some of the progress in astrophysics study groups.  So, to get started we watched on the morning news, an event that was in my previous life a source of considerable planning and work and that

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Found an eclipse viewing chair that fits in airline luggage; Solar beach tent; New dashcam on the ready for lucky seeing of meteor fireballs; Choose MUFONOC meeting or OCA Astrophysics SIG?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

We have been busy getting ready to travel to Casper for our hopeful viewing of the upcoming solar eclipse, and, oops, I misread the size of the portable chaise lounge chair listed in the previous post  and have to report that it will not fit in most airline sized luggage.  So, while we were trying to resolve this issue, we got an advertisement from Viking cruises about their upcoming 2019 ocean cruise along the coast of Norway up above the artic circle to see the northern lights, which we have seen before but so immensely enjoy seeing and enjoying, and given the uncertainty we were already under, agreed to sign up for that cruise as well.  When you are surrounded by uncertainty, bury yourself with more uncertainty and plan to do something at a certain date in 2019!

Anyway some of the current uncertainty about where to sit was resolved, however, when I spied a little folding chair that seems to fit fairly well, at least according to its online dimension specification.  One thing I really appreciate about this chair is that, well, how to say this, well, it has no armrests between which you must fit when you sit.  It looks just right for me!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

More solar eclipse preparation suggestions by OC Astronomers Yahoo Group and Astronomer Assistant Willow; Shield to keep sun off the camera; Hot shoe accessories; Sugar free martini; Bremsstrahlung radiation spectrum

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week has been spent with more preparation work for the upcoming solar eclipse and what equipment we plan to take on our flight to Casper, WY.  Scanning the latest batch of email threads from the OC Astronomers Yahoo Group has provided some good suggestions and recommendations from some of the veteran eclipse viewers and astroimagers.  One thing that I had not really considered, but now on retrospection, seems like it could be very important, and that is

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Astrophysics: The Violent Universe; Picked up new Li-ion mount battery from OC Telescope; Picked up new Sol-Searcher and filter; Used drift method to monitor sunspot field rotation observed with a alt-az camera tripod; Double check drift assessment with actual measurements

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week has again been a week of not much nighttime observing, with a little bit of daytime solar observing, not because of weather, but because of other commitments.  For the past half dozen months we could not observe a Black Star canyon due to weather, but now its because of other commitments this time season theater tickets.  Yes, we could exchange our tickets and find ourselves perched up in the nosebleed seats on the new date, but we chose not to do that.  Besides, I would have had to disassemble my rolling tripod assembly and pack up the scope and mount and I still haven't had a chance to go outside and try the whole thing out yet.  But, some exciting things have happened like,

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A leading scenario for forming binary black holes as seen by LIGO; Practicing for the total solar eclipse; Lessons learned with homebuilt slip on solar filter for DSLR telephoto lens; Measuring solar filter attenuation

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well it has been so hot this week that we have not wanted to be outside at all and even though the nighttime temperature is lower, the clouds have been pretty heavy.  So not much observing this week.  I did catch up on some reading and did some work on making a slip on solar filter adapter for my DSLR.  Before summarizing some of that activity we should first check the mail.  It seems the recent post on our trip to southern Illinois to scout out the solar eclipse viewing potential there elicited

Monday, July 3, 2017

Green grass, mosquitoes, lightning bugs and telescopes; Visiting southern Illinois where 2017 and 2024 total solar eclipses occur; Great textbook with loads of maps and tables of eclipse data

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this has been a busy week leading up to the 4th of July holiday.  I haven't had any time at all to take the new remounted telescope and wheeled tripod due to the Coursera Quantum Optics course which has proved to be quite difficult and taken up a lot of time.  I also got a heads up note from Searching for Gravity Waves, Dr. Gary, who alerted our gravity group of an upcoming October conference on gravitational wave astronomy and a tour of the Livingston LIGO Observatory outside of Baton Rouge, LA.  So, yes I quickly signed up on the early bird special for that conference and then Resident Astronomer Peggy and I had to prepare and pack our bags for