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, September 3, 2018

Finding Frankincense in Salalah; Rolling seas now might make long exposure imaging difficult; Studying Noether symmetry and conservation laws and martinis

Greetings from Palmia Observatory (offsite in remote location approaching Muscat, Oman),

Well we have left Salalah and are slowly making our way to Muscat.  We have left the protected gulf area and are now experiencing rougher seas and we need to struggle a bit and hold on the hand rails sometimes when walking about ship so, maybe not much more long exposure astrophotography opportunities in this condition.

So, here is our cruise map and expect that closer to Muscat the seas should get as calm as a sheet of glass.  We will have to wait and see.

We enjoyed our stop in Salalah and Resident Astronomer had a chance to stand next to a Frankincense tree.  Oman was and is a major source of the fragrant sap.  It is claimed to have great medicinal properties.  I don’t know about that, but I did try some of the resin as a chewing gum, and well, let’s just say it was not to my taste.

Palmia Observatory Resident Astronomer Peggy stands in front of frankincense tree

So back on ship for breakfast, I tried a little experiment to measure the amount of ship roll during the rougher seas.  Check out the two images below, taken from our breakfast table.  The images were timed about 9 seconds apart and corresponded to about one cycle of the wave action.  My estimate of 6 degrees is based on the assumed field of view of my IPhone camera of 34 degrees in the vertical direction.

Measuring amplitude of ship roll to determine affect on astroimaging at sea

Then about 9 seconds later the ship roll reaches another maximum.

Measuring amplitude of ship roll to determine affect on astroimaging at sea

Hmm, maybe we were quite lucky to get the Milky Wave images the previous night because if this rolling motion keeps up there won’t be good long exposure observing opportunities.  So what to do one this next at sea travel day?  Let me put on my newly purchased ($6) Omani “thinking hat.”

Resident Astronomer with his Omani thinking cap

Ok, I know what to do!  We can head up to the explorer lounge and have our great bartender, Boban, serve up a martini.

Viking Orion bartender, Boban, shakes up martini for Palmia Observatory resident astronomer

And we can use this quiet sea day to get some Astrophysics studying done.  I’ve been hoping for some quiet time now for over a year to go back and study Noether’s theorem.  Remember that Emmy Noether developed this theorem, which relates various symmetry laws to conservation laws of nature.  For instance the symmetry of laws with respect to translation, which means the laws of nature don’t change just because you translate your viewing position from one location to another, corresponds to a conservation of energy law.  So, I hope to get a little bit further ahead in my reading of this great little book.  If I run into trouble, I can also return to my martini while waiting for calmer seas.

Resident Astronomer studying symmetry with a little help from a martini

Until next time,
Resident Astronomer George

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