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)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hooray, good viewing for Lunar Eclipse imaging; Coyote 1, Bunny 0; Multi-star spectra from one observation of Orion's Belt; Oh-oh, delays in Falcon Heavy launch

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Ok, the day of the total lunar eclipse has finally arrived, and hooray, the weather was perfect this morning.  This post has images of the eclipse and an image of the near full moon from the night before and some images that indicate that,  yes, we can collect multi-star spectra from one observation.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Wakefield technology offers 1000 times acceleration? Tesla in Falcon Heavy payload section; Resident Astronomers dither (and decide) on attending launch; Doing spectroscopy of Sirius, Sun and Moon with Star Analyzer 100

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this has been a busy week after attending the CSULB physics colloquia and learning about Plasma Wakefield Acceleration and then finalizing our decision about attending the Falcon Heavy launch and even getting finally to make some star spectra observations, while still planning to get up early and observe the total lunar eclipse Wednesday morning.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Feel the heat from the upcoming Falcon Heavy launch! A schedule of some upcoming conferences for physicist and astronomer wannabes!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well we are just waiting for the total lunar eclipse on January 31.  In the meantime, several folks asked about upcoming astronomy conferences and meetings.  So, this post lists some upcoming meetings that I have tentatively put on my schedule.  Some meetings like those of the OCA and local college and university colloquia, but others, primarily for professionals in the field, have entrance fees.  More conferences in the news as we go forward, but let's look for what we know now.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hooray, Sky-Watcher success at OCA Star Party; Use your cell phone for daytime polar alignment; Calling all citizen scientists, get your astro data!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Last post of January 19 we described how we were seeking a more lightweight way and easier way to set up some sort of tracking mount so that we could just take the camera and tripod outside and collect some quick spectra or light curve data.  We elected to tryout the Sky-Watcher as a means to get longer exposure times with just a camera and tripod.  Luckily, the OCA star party was just coming up so we decided to brave the cold and tryout the setup.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Trying out the Sky-Watcher; New books from AAS 231 meeting; Water, Ice, Symmetry and the Higgs; Marty Cooper, what have you wrought? You too can attend the AAS 232 meeting

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this has been a week of evaluating a new lightweight star tracking accessory for wide field of view astrophotography and unpacking some of the books picked up at the recent AAS 231st meeting.  Trying this new device called Sky-Tracker might be an option at the upcoming January 20 OCA star party at the new Blackstar location at Bob Swenson Field.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Get ready for the lunar eclipse on January 31; Example of AAVSO supernova discovery announcement, light curves, equipment and spectra

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well you have just two weeks now to get ready for the upcoming lunar eclipse.  If you are anything like me, you have to start training now to get up early enough in the morning to see the whole thing from start to finish.  Anyway we will see when I actually get started.  Additionally, let' go over an example of another amateur capable discovery of a supernova and look at the data analysis so far as made in a American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) alert, which was sent out on January 15, so that others could point their telescopes to the blazing object.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Final comments from AAS 231st meeting; Radio Astronomy; On going back to Venus; Dim Dwarfs and Stellar flows; Whence came the water? The cocoon out of GW170817

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, we are back in California after spending a wonderful week at the American Astronomical Society 231st meeting outside Washington, DC. I found it too exhausting to try to post some comments every day and I couldn't do the topics the just review that they deserved, but still wanted to give now a brief summary of, say, 5 of the more interesting topics that struck my fancy.  Of course, I already commented on one of the most interesting in the last post, regarding the tension between the two best estimates of Hubble constant ( km / sec / Mpc) , now found to be 66.9 +/- 0.6 by the CMB method and to be 73.24 +/- 1.74 by the supernova standard candle method.  This post covers a brief summary of five more topics:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Some more comments and photos in the exhibit hall at the AAS 231st winter meeting; More past and future eclipse activity

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this is my 4th day at the winter AAS meeting and can share a few comments, this time mostly from my wandering around the exhibit hall and one special award announcement for an amateur astronomer.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Some summary comments from the American Astronomical Society 231st meeting in Washington, DC; Pan-STARRS; Juno; Tidal Disruption Events; Riess and Hubble constant tension

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this has been the first full day of plenary sessions at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).  There has already been some really interesting presentations and I find I'm having a harder time to summarize what I heard, but here goes.  The AAS 231 was held outside of Washington DC, actually at National Harbor in Maryland.  There were way too many sessions to choose from, but my approach was to attend all of the plenary sessions and one special session dealing with Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawaii and how its publicly available data is being used and can be accessed by the public and citizen scientists and a short summary of those sessions will be presented.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Hooray, trip to 2019 eclipse in Chile arranged! Some comments on the first two days of Python and Astropy pre-meetings at the American Astronomical Society 231st meeting in Washington, DC

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

We are currently offsite at the American Astronomical Society 231st meeting in Washington, DC.  So, this blog post does not have any telescopic observations or images, but does have a few comments about the pre-meeting workshops and some good news about the upcoming eclipse trip to Chile in 2019.

Friday, January 5, 2018

What to do when the clouds come in? Well, study clouds! HDF size comparison; See you at the 231st AAS meeting in Washington, DC; Bayesain models for astrophysics

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well again we are just waiting for the cloudy weather to go away or rain, whatever.  So the first part of this post covers some images of the sky and clouds and does some analysis to measure sky brightness compared to the clouds.  The second part of the post covers the upcoming American Astronomical Society 231st meeting in Washington, DC, and some of the Python and Bayesian programming workshops that I hope to attend.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Quiet sun on Jan 1; Lunar occultation of Regulus not visble in OC; Erik Verlinde lecture at PI on emergence of gravity from quantum information

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are in the new year (Happy New Year Everyone!) and two astronomical opportunities showed up right away.  First, we took a look at our sun and to see what is happening there on this New Years Day. Also readers will remember our previous posts about various possible occultation, between stars and planets and moons and asteroids, and now we see in latest issue of Sky and Telescope the upcoming occultation of Regulus by the Moon.  Let's review these activities and finally comment on a great video lecture by Erik Verlinde.