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)

Friday, November 20, 2020

More ISS photos and tracks across the night sky; New viewing opportunities to get out your eyeballs, cameras, or binoculars

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, this week has been all about the ISS and new Crew-1 arrival there and we still have lots of opportunities to view the ISS as it passes overhead in the night sky.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Hooray, completed a month of observing the lunar phases for one orbit of the moon about the Earth!

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, we have finally completed making a month's worth of observations of the moon as it goes through the course of its changes in phase.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Photographing the ISS overhead; Making measurements from pixels to miles; Hooray, ISS welcomes Dragon crew onboard!

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well we have been busy with online meetings and just about to complete our month long study of lunar measurements, but we were lucky enough to go outside and capture an image of the ISS passing overhead.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Wondering about cold gas giants and white dwarfs; Asking Astronomer Assistant Willow about conic sections; COVID-19 risk assessment tool and search for volunteers

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, the Exoplanet Demographics 2020 meeting is pretty much over now.  One topic  I meant to listen more to this interesting discussion on photoevaporation of cold gas giant planets by white dwarfs, but unfortunately got interrupted or maybe took a nap.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Starship SN8 completes 1st Static Fire Test; Exoplanet Demographics 2020 Meeting; Post main sequence exoplanets; Finding free floating planets with microlensing

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are just settling in for a week long series of meetings at the online version of Exoplanets Demographics 2020, where we learn all about what is being learned by the ongoing study of all of the exoplanets that have now been discovered, but before that we have a bit of Starship SN8 news.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Hey, the sun has more sunspots!; Nearby stars from which Earth could be seen as an exoplanet; Sources of Fast Radio Bursts identified? Sixteen proposed theories of quantum gravity

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, now that we have some clearer skies we can look at the sun and see that more sunspots have come into view.  So, get out and take a look now that the sun is starting to wake up.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

We will always miss you, Astronomer Assistant Danny!

 Sad greetings from Palmia Observatory

Astronomer Assistant Danny, who joined the observatory staff in 2009, was put down on November 7, after a week of painful suffering.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Hooray, the sun had more spots; Is free discussion still possible on social media? SN8 Starship with 3 engines get ready for test hop; Juno looks inside Jupiter at AAS 52nd annual Division for Planetary Sciences meeting

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are with some sunspots, more news about Starship SN8 and an example of social media freezing out some discussion and we end up with the week at AAS 52 Division of Planetary Science (DPS) meeting.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Hey, the sun is waking up and has a spot; OCA amateurs look at Mars; OCA Bob says you can measure lunar phase from your backyard; Entropy of gravitating systems?

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are after spending most of last week tied up in front of the computer screen watching the 23rd annual Mars Society convention.  Next week we, including you, can be tied up for the AAS 52nd Division of Planetary Science (DPS) meeting conducted online on October 26-30.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Rising together to Mars; Some comments on the technology and status of human settlements that were explored at the 23rd annual Mars Society Convention

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well the 23rd annual Mars Society Convention was held online this year from October 15-18, 2020.  It was quite different from the in person meeting previously held in Irvine, CA, but we can still make some brief comments for those Martians of you who could not attend online.

Monday, October 19, 2020

APS Far West 2020 Annual Meeting Session on Molecular Motors; Using Brillouin Light Scattering to image spin; Intro to Spintronics

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are just after finishing up a fantastic set of presentations and discussion at the Mars Society 2020 Convention, but for now we need to go back and comment about the recent APS Far West Annual Meeting and on a recent physics colloquia.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Searching for the Milky Way in the city with a light pollution filter; Galileoscope kit moves on to young astronomer wannabe

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are getting way behind in describing the previously attended physics colloquia and APS Far West Meeting and now the wonderful Mars Society 2020 conference.  Ok, ok, we still plan to offer some comments and slides from those events, but in the meantime, we now report on going out into the night sky with a camera and trying to find the Milky Way in the city lights with a light pollution filter.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

New Astronomer Assistant joins the Observatory Staff

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week has been busy with online zoom meetings from OCA, Golden Webinars and the APS Far West Conference, more about that later, but for now we have hired a new observatory assistant.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

California wildfires and Mt. Wilson Observatory; Elon Musk, Tesla, battery day and SpaceX Starship SN8 gets her fins; Quantum emergence, UHECR and colloquia; Peter Woit on QM

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, we just got back from our road trip and have been busy keeping up with the latest news and getting back into the swing of attending physics colloquia at CSULB, UCI and UCR.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Detection of phosphine on Venus might indicate life; Road trip to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks; Great..grandma Hannah pushes/pulls handcart to Utah

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well we have been out of the observatory for a road trip through Nevada and southern Utah to visit the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, but first let's mention the exciting news of discovery of phosphine and implications for possible life on Venus.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Another chance to catch the Starlink string of pearls; Alternate career paths to fusion energy; Ursula Andress; Exploding Guacamole and undersea observatories

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, smoke and ash filled skies give us a red Martian landscape look, but the clouds are expected to clear away for a chance to again see the latest Starlink "string of pearls."

Monday, September 7, 2020

Humans To Mars Summit; Landing the heavier human bearing spacecraft is difficult; LIving off the land with ISRU; Schrodinger's Wine

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are trying to summarize the other half of a week's worth of online conferences that occurred at the very same time.  Last time we did the LISA XIII Symposium and this time we report on the online Humans To Mars Summit, August 31 - September 3, 2020.  It is easy thinking about living on Mars, especially right now because of fires in nearby mountains the sunlight coming through the clouds takes on a definite reddish tint.

Friday, September 4, 2020

LISA Symposium XIII; LISA Noise Sources and Telescope Requirements; Multi-messenger Astronomy with GW and EM from Binary White Dwarfs

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week has been a busy, over scheduled week of two online conferences, which both occurred at the same time of the day.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Mars and Jupiter together and Jovian Moons; Building a Galileoscope from a kit; Looking at Jupiter and the Moon with the Galileoscope

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, the latest Mars rover is now on its way to Mars.  When we look up in the night sky and see Mars and wonder what will be found, we note that Jupiter appears also nearby, but of course it is much further away.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Hooray, Dragon returns to Earth; Blue Origin New Shepard goes up/down too!; Finally, Hooray, Starship SN5 makes 150 meter hop; Raspberry Shake Earth Monitor

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, this week we have mostly been preoccupied with space events.  First up is the successful performance of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that took astronauts to the ISS after launching from KSC and then returning them to Earth a couple of months latter.  Good job everyone!

NASA astronauts emerge from the SpaceX Crew Dragon (Source: Wall Street Journal)
NASA astronauts emerge from the SpaceX Crew Dragon (Source: Wall Street Journal)


Other space news includes the successful testing of other commercial rockets and spacecraft like the Blue Origins New Shepard rocket booster.  The testing of this vehicle for getting into space is being conducted at the Blue Origins test facility near Van Horn, TX.  This test site is in the mostly vacant part of West Texas and probably can't launch into orbit from there, but test and development can go on.  Congratulations Amazon and Blue Origin team!
Blue Shepard test vehicle launches from facility near Van Horn, Texas (Source: space.com)
Blue Shepard test vehicle launches from facility near Van Horn, Texas (Source: space.com)


Just in case, you wondered where in Texas these tests are being conducted, check out the map below.  So, you can see that it is probably easiest for us to visit that site by flying into El Paso and then driving.  The good news about that location is that there the SDSS telescopes are located outside of Las Cruces and you can make a drive up to Roswell, NM, if you choose to do so.  It is however, quite a long distance down to Brownsville and SpaceX Boca Chick launch site.
Blue Shepard test vehicle launches from facility near Van Horn, Texas (Source: Palmia Observatory)
Blue Shepard test vehicle launches from facility near Van Horn, Texas (Source: Palmia Observatory)


This flight test demonstrates that the Blue Shepard can launch a test space capsule and then return and land for reuse.  The capsule just parachutes back to Earth.
The space capsule parachutes back to ground after New Shepard boost (Source: space.com)
The space capsule parachutes back to ground after New Shepard boost (Source: space.com)


Here we can see the New Shepard booster back on the ground.
Here we can see the New Shepard booster back on the ground (Source: space.com)
Here we can see the New Shepard booster back on the ground (Source: space.com)


The other big space news for the week was the successful 150 meter test hop of Starship SN5.  I had been watching, several days now in anticipation of seeing the test hop live, but each time, the test hop was cancelled and postponed due to various technical problems.  But, first of all, we should remember that this SN5 test prototype is 9 meters in diameter and 30 meters tall.  You can get a sense of its size in this photo showing work personnel making some final adjustments.

The Starship SN5 prototype mounted on its launch pad (Source: @BocaChicaGal)
The Starship SN5 prototype mounted on its launch pad (Source: @BocaChicaGal)


So, finally in this photo tweeted by Elon Musk, we see the Starship prototype just leaving the ground.

Starship SN5 lifts off from Boca Chica (Source: Elon Musk)
Starship SN5 lifts off from Boca Chica (Source: Elon Musk)



In this next photo, you can see the area surrounding the launch site.  Texas State Highway #4 crosses at the bottom left of the photo, with the Star Hopper prototype to the right, and ends at Boca Chica beach just out of view.
Another view as Starship SN5 lifts off from Boca Chica (Source: SpaceX)
Another view as Starship SN5 lifts off from Boca Chica (Source: SpaceX)



In this next photo you can see the Starship in flight.  Yep, it sure does look like a flying water heater or a corn silo.  The "knob" on top of the tank is a huge roll of steel that acts like a dead weight for the nose cone and other equipment which will be added at the next stage of testing.
Starship SN5 lifts off from Boca Chica (Source: SpaceX)
Starship SN5 lifts off from Boca Chica (Source: SpaceX)


While the amateur SpaceX fans can peer through the fence, we get some great views of launch from inside of the rocket itself from SpaceX.  Check out this inside view, looking down toward the ground.  You can see one Raptor engine, where three Raptors will be mounted when the fully developed Starship becomes operational.  In later images of the image, you can see what looks like some other fires aboard the rocket, but we don't have any info about that.
Internal view of Starship Raptor engine and landing leg deployment (Source: SpaceX)
Internal view of Starship Raptor engine and landing leg deployment (Source: SpaceX)



But, the test hop is not over until the Starship comes back down and lands under its own power.  The rocket is guided back down and the landing lets pop out and the end of the flight comes with a successful landing.  Go Elon!
Hooray, Starship SN5 goes up and lands successfully (Source: SpaceX)
Hooray, Starship SN5 goes up and lands successfully (Source: SpaceX)

If you want to view the videos of the site there are many sources available from SpaceX fans who volunteer to hang out in Boca Chica and peer through the fence and report back to the rest of us about progress there.  SPadre, @SpacePadreisle provides more images and narration.  We have thanked many times, Mary, @BocaChicaGal, for her images and this time, we have a thank you and shout out for narration and comments about the launch and Starship program from Marcus House.  He reports and comments on some great video shots at his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCGWX_ejolw


Finally, after all of this good space news, I found time to get the Raspberry Shake Seismograph out of the packing and started its setup.  You might recall that I heard of this low cost seismograph, built around an internet connectable Raspberry Pi computer, after hearing about from OCA Astroimager, David, and others, that they had successfully installed the system.  So, since I had previously spent many years working for Big Oil and spent many hours building instrumentation for the exploration departments, I wanted to get my own seismograph.
Get your own seismograph and monitor for earthquakes (Source: www.raspberryshake.org)
Get your own seismograph and monitor for earthquakes (Source: www.raspberryshake.org)


By the time, the desire shook the money out of my credit card, the pandemic was in full force around the world. Raspberry Shake has their operation in Panama and they we shut down there too.  But eventually, the unit was shipped and arrived here.  So, the installation looked easy enough, it took me over a month to finally bite the bullet and unwrap the equipment and set it up.
The Raspberry Shake as seen out of the shipping package (Source: Palmia Observatory)
The Raspberry Shake as seen out of the shipping package (Source: Palmia Observatory)




Finally, I connected the unit to our internet router and plugged in the power supply and just a couple of minutes latter, I could view the helicorder output.  Wow, pretty neat!  The seismograph can be part of a whole net of instruments located around the world as part of an internet observable network.  I haven't figured out anything about the scaling of vertical accelerations yet.  I did try stamping my feet near the unit and these can be identified on the red trace.  Yeah, stamping my feet is how I would found out if some seismic recording equipment I was building, now over 25 years ago, for Big Oil was working or not.  So, still some more details to be worked out here as we stay in our burrows!



Hey, the Raspberry Shake actually works (Source: Palmia Observatory)
Hey, the Raspberry Shake actually works (Source: Palmia Observatory)





Until next time, here from our burrow, stay safe, as we recover more of our freedom,

Resident Astronomer George



Be sure to check out over 400 other blog posts on similar topics
If you are interested in things astronomical or in astrophysics and cosmology
Check out this blog at www.palmiaobservatory.com


Monday, July 27, 2020

As comet NEOWISE fades, we have a sunspot as consolation; Boca Chica battens down before Hanna; Reviewing Clinical Immunology; Revised Definition of Life; QFT on the patio and a for better or worse perspective!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well as comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 continues to fade, currently at magnitude 4.8, the sun offers a consolation prize with a sunspot.  For the rest of the week we have comments about mostly online activities.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Comet NEOWISE in the palm trees and more; More SpaceX news; Time out for "The Wolf Man"; Night out on the Tutto Fresco patio

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, the comet is hanging out higher in the sky now, but that brings its own problem in trying to spot the dim object.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Hooray, captured the nighttime view of NEOWISE C/2020 F3! Wow, watch out for the Snake (B72)! Hubble and Atacama Cosmology Telescope; David Halperin on UFOs

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, this week has been mostly preoccupied with finding comet NEOWISE in the evening sky. After getting some success there we will move on to some other OCA images and review some other astronomy news and comment on a UFO book.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Hooray, captured some Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 images; More COVID conversations from NAM; Physics and a Serious Man?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, this week we had some success, first of all getting up early in the morning, and then capturing some images of the comet.

Friday, July 10, 2020

More on masks and restaurants and asymptomatic spread of COVID-19; Comments from the NASA Lunar Science Workshop

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, while we wait for good early morning comet observing opportunities, we return to masks and asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 and shutdown of some restaurants, and finish up with some comments from NASA online Lunar Science Workshop.

Monday, July 6, 2020

ISS Solar Transit; ISS Lunar Transit; Blast from Past -- Plane Transiting the Moon; Penumbral Lunar Eclipse; Margaritas on the Patio

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week we have had to remember the throwing of the King, on this 4th of July celebration from our burrows, even though there were many private (mostly illegal, but quite impressive) fireworks displays in the area, but we also had several opportunities to look up at the sun and the moon.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Consciousness and Lagrangians; Hypatia and Library of Alexandria; Re-insurance for pandemics and existential risks; More SpaceX news; Sanity at the lake

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, I stared off this week with more wondering and anxiety about our life from our burrows.  How best are we to cope with the pandemic and other existential risks?

Friday, June 26, 2020

Monday, June 22, 2020

Trying to do QFT with another textbook; The noble mask lie! Where are all of the solar system probes? SETI and search for favorite asteroids; More Boca Chica views and SpaceX news; What color do you see?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well I haven't been out for any astronomical observing for this whole week and so can only comment on ongoing physicist wannabe activities and on some of the online meetings and space news.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Beautiful Falcon 9 launch; More Starship news; Online OCA and SAS conferences; Physics and beauty and math and depression; Rise and Wine!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well we were out early this morning (4:06 am) to see if the latest batch of Starlinks was going to be visible, but those darn high, thin clouds got in the way, so we have to wait for another day, but today we can still report on other SpaceX and physics news.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Hey, the sun has some spots now; Why is the universe so smooth? Falcon 9 booster on barge; Ways of making Starlinks darker; Hooray, the sunspot is visible! Fun at the beach, finally!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, the sun has woken up a bit and has a visible sunspot, so when the clouds thin out let's take a look, but while we wait we can report on other astronomy news, until, hooray, the clouds depart!  Here is the screenshot from the iPhone app SoHO showing the now visible sunspot.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Attending the AAS 236th meeting virtually; Docking with the ISS Simulation; Upcoming Starlink launch and what happened with Starship SN4; Areosols and COVID-19 and if the vet were in charge!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are in our burrows trying to attend and learn something from the American Astronomical Society (AAS) 236th annual meeting held virtually in lieu of actual in Madison, WI.  More comments about that next time, but now more comments about Starship SN4, Docking at ISS Simulation and COVID-19 and if the vet were in charge.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Hooray, successful launch and arrival of SpaceX Dragon spacecraft Endeavor at ISS!; SpaceX Starship SN4 explodes but progress continues!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Hooray, after a delay, the Falcon 9 rocket made it into orbit with the Dragon spaceship, with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, blasted off and arrived at the International Space Station (ISS)!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Venus Mercury Conjunction; Cancelled Ukraine Cruise; Cancelled conferences, but virtual AAS meeting; Some big bang galaxy formation; Get this mansion observatory?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, the launch of the crewed Dragon spaceship has been scrubbed due to weather, now scheduled for Saturday, May 30 at 12:22 pm on the west coast, but we can report on the Venus-Mercury Conjunction and some cancelled meetings, but the summer AAS meeting is virtual, and end up with some big bang astrophysics and a home observatory for sale.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Remember to watch the Crewed Dragon Demonstration Launch; Night out at Curiosity Peak Observatory; Honoring Memorial Day; Trying to capture comet SWAN C/2020 F8

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are still stuck in our burrows, but there are hints of opening up more and more and maybe sit down openings at restaurants.  In the meantime we have the upcoming Crewed Dragon launch and trying to capture the comet SWAN C/2020 F8 and will offer some comments on Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Getting back into light curves even with a quiet sun; Time to read the stack of journals; The Precipice; Goodbye Tom Lipo; How it all began!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are again in social isolation lockdown, which seems to be easing up some, but we have been mostly reduced to reading journals and not doing much night sky observing, but did sign up for the Vstar course from AAVSO, which hopefully will get me out doing some actual light curve measurements shortly.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Before Time Began; Fresh water and the fate of food; Wilczek on Quanta of the Third Kind; More on corona and a spray that sort of helps!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week has had time to review a book and attend a lecture on food and global warming and the experimental verification of anyon statistics and a few comments on flattening the curve.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Raptor engines in Boca Chica and Elon calls for freedom; Peering through the fence at the beach; Particle tracks in minerals as dark matter and neutrino detectors; Curious about the big bang, just order primordial soup?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory


Well here we are again, stuck in our burrows, but in the meantime while we wait for freedom, we can report on ongoing activity at Boca Chica and an interesting discussion of using small samples of minerals from deep in the Earth as solid state particle detectors for neutrinos and perhaps dark energy.  You might also get a hint or two about how this social isolation is beginning to affect me.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Starship SN4 completes 3 second static burn; Next Starlinks will have sun shade; Looking into equations of General Relativity; HR6819, Nearest Black Hole

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, here we are watching videos and news and meeting on line again.  So, today we get some SpaceX Starship and Starlink news as well as follow up with more equations of general relativity on one page and end with the announcement of the closest black hole to us.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Did you see the Lyrid meteor shower?; SpaceX Starlink Satellite Launch and Starship news; HOLiCOW, what's up with Hubble Constant?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, last night was our chance to get out of our burrows and look for the Lyrid meteor shower.  Hmm, didn't see anything, but can report on SpaceX Starlink launch and HoliCOW, what's up with the Hubble Constant, H0?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

How does the 5 minute COVID-19 test work?; Hooray, APS April 2020 virtual meeting online; Gaia data releases and how the Milky Way came to be!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, here we are again in our burrow with time to follow up on some COVID-19 rapid testing machine technology and comment on the APS April 2020 meeting that is being conducted as a virtual meeting online.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Ruby meets masked mutt; Starship progress; Daily Equation with Brian Green; More COVID-19 and SARS CoV-2; Beautiful Sunset; Hooray, APS April Meeting in your PJ's!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are again stuck in our bunkers, but the dogs still want to walk and there is plenty of news about space, science and the virus to keep us occupied.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

SpaceX still making progress in Texas; Why Copper? Finding the right oracle for the future while stuck at home; What about the other possible existential risks?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week we can report on some of the ongoing space development progress, probably the only progress in the nation,  and then search for the right oracle to review the other existential risks besides the one that keeps up stuck in our burrows.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

OCA Meeting now virtual; Starship Users Guide; More from EHT; Virus Vaccine Status; Ongoing online courses; Keeping hands off your face!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory,

Well, here we are trying to adapt to our shelter in place guidelines and still continue on our physicist wannabe journey.  Luckily more and more meetings are being rescheduled for online viewing.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Venus and The Pleiades Conjunction; Starship SN3 Explodes during test; Doing online astronomy classes and finding water on Mars; TP and overweight fix!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well still keeping a low profile in our burrow, but have been following the SpaceX news and looking at the conjunction of Venus and the Pleiades and learning about taking the temperature of Mars with Mike Brown.  Also we can report on more Facebook smart alecs and dealing with sheltering in place.

Friday, April 3, 2020

AAS Summer 236th Meeting will be online; Learning about Mars with Mike; Hey, there's a sunspot; Starship fails cryo-test! Luckily, COVID 19 transmission is mostly by droplets!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week we find more and more meetings transitioning to online.  We will comment on some ongoing classes and look at a tiny sunspot and return to our back of the envelope Stoke's Law analysis and how luckily the current COVID-19 is mostly not an airborne virus.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Jim Baggott's Quantum Cookbook; Social Distancing Smart Alecs; Stoke's Law and the Virus; Starship progress; Enjoying the simple sunset!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are still sheltering in place but can offer a review of a fantastic book and do some physical analysis of some of the issues that go into setting social distancing recommendations.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Three minute astrophotography; Online courses for physicist wannabes sheltering at home; More COVID 19 status info; More virology science and evolution of viruses

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are going on our third week of sheltering in place, but it is still possible to go outside and verify that the sky is not falling and the planetary orbits are still orbiting and still find time to study physics and virology online.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Studying Molecular Biology; How does PCR Amplification Work? Virus shedding, transmission, morbidity and R0

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well we looked up at the night sky briefly, just to notice that Venus and a little sliver of the Moon are very close together, but the main activity again this week is sheltering in place, where we looked more into the how the RT-PCR test for viruses works and some infection spread modeling terms.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Excellent free video lecture series on virology while stuck in our burrows; Looking into how viruses use symmetry and potential energy to their advantage;

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are again holed up in our burrow, with only a few trips out to pick up food or occasionally just to look at the sky and see if the clouds have gone away.  It is hard to concentrate on much anything else but learning to adapt to the virus.  So, this post will cover some interesting aspects of viruses, picked up during my homework reading in virology, and how they rely on physics principles of symmetry, free energy and stability.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Out from the bunker to photograph the ISS; What are light echos in astronomy? More Starship progress; Sean Carroll to discuss big ideas in the universe

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week we have been "sheltering in place" and we can offer some comments on some interesting scientific topics and other space news, but first we received a last minute note about the ISS traversing the night sky.

Friday, March 20, 2020

How much carbon per cellphone call? What is Cosmic Explorer; More Starship SN3 news from Boca Chica; Trying to understand the virus?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, here we are in our social isolation bunker mode at the observatory.  The calendar suddenly has lots of open spots, but nowhere to go.  So we can follow up on some current news from the journals and take an amateur's look at the biology and effects of the Coronavirus.  This pandemic can be so disruptive we might separate events on our calendar, from what we used to do, to what we do now, as BCV and ACV (Before/After CoronaVirus)!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Last physics colloquia for a while; Hooray, peered through the fence at SpaceX South Texas Launch Complex; Some spring break partying in South Padre Island

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, at the start of the week we attended what may have been one of the last physics colloquia for us in quite some time now as we transition to social distancing to mitigate COVID 19 pandemic!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Cloudy Weather; COVID19 cancellations; Next Starlink Launch and why they are visible; Please, just Wash your Hands!;

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well here we are on a cloudy day and not much of a chance of nighttime observing and with the cloud of coronavirus or COVID19 hanging all about us.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Starship SN1 moves to launch site; SN1 failure; Electric Vehicles and IEEE Sustech 2020; Terrain Relative Navigation; Gravitational Waves and Geodesics in curved spacetime

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, this week we were happy to see that the Starship, Serial Number 1 (SN1) was transported across the highway to the launch site in Boca Chica, TX.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Detection of photons and single photon interference and wave-particle duality

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week we concentrate on the story about how single photons and single photon interference were detected.

Friday, February 14, 2020

What? How can this be the 400th post on this blog?; Upcoming SpaceX Starlink launch; Nanoscale structure and possibility of thermal diodes; Gentle introductions to gauge theory; Maybe jazz is the connection and answer?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, happy Valentine's Day to all of you star struck wannabes!  In this post we cover the latest news from SpaceX, consider how nanoscale structures lead to the possibility of thermal diodes, delve into the nature of gauge theory and end up with how our night out with jazz might be the secret of understanding physics.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Hooray, blind pointing of camera captured some Starlinks; Upcoming planetary caves conference in San Antonio; Get your dark physics in the paradise of Guadaloupe; Starship launch NET March 16

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well we have had some success in blind pointing the camera at the sky and captured some Starlinks satellites.  We will review some upcoming conferences and finish off with some comments and recommendation for Sean Carroll's "Mysteries of Modern Physics."

Sunday, February 2, 2020

No sunspots this week; More on EHT imaging of M87 black hole shadow; How big would a black hole with Milky Way mass be?

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well with no sunspots  this week we had a chance to sit in on another presentation about the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) and the shadow of the black hole in M87, which called for more homework on how radio interferometer arrays work to produce images.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Looking for another constellation of Starlink satellites; Hmm, saw some flashes, took some photos, but no string of pearls

Greetings from Palmia Observatory


Well, SpaceX launched another constellation of Starlink satellites early Wednesday morning, so let's go out on this Saturday evening and see if we can spot any on their predicted pass over Orange County.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Hey, the SoHO app shows some sunspots on our "quiet" sun; Darn clouds! Hooray, finally can see one sunspot; Need more focal length for more detail

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, just by chance this week I scanned the SoHO smart phone app, and it showed a couple of sunspots.  Wow, this was pretty unusual since I had not seen any spots at all for the last several weeks I looked.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Blind pointing attempt to photograph Starlinks; Radio Astronomy and chiral carbon molecules; High School Cubesats to measure pulsar x-rays

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well we are back from our Hawaii adventure at the 235h AAS meeting where I demonstrated that I was still capable of playing hooky from school!  Anyway, now back in OC we attended a couple of lectures one on using cubesats to train students and do science and another on radio astronomy and can comment on them.

Monday, January 13, 2020

More from AAS 235; Stellar Interferometry; Betelgeuse; Fast Radio Bursts; Ancient Polynesian Mariners; Rainbows, Luaus and Fire Dances

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, the 235th AAS meeting in Hawaii is drawing to a close, but we can provide a few summaries of sessions on stellar imaging, using spectroscopy to measure stellar mass inflow and outflow, fast radio bursts, and how ancient Hawaiian navigators discovered the stars after losing sight of the land.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

More AAS 235th meeting; No Dark Energy? TMT Protests; Bright satellites and astronomy; Planetary Science; History of Astronomy; Playing hooky in the Hawaiian sun!

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well it is another day in Hawaii at the 235th AAS meeting and the temptation to play hooky is very, very strong.  Not because the meeting is not interesting, but because of the natural beauty of Hawaii.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Sunset and city lights in OC; City lights on arrival in Honolulu; Hey, we might see Alpha Centauri; Black Holes snacking with Dr. Suvi; Sunset with Venus

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, it is finally time to make our way to the 235th American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Honolulu.  So after making our way to the meeting we can summarize some of the technical sessions.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Is this a vertical sun dog? Evolution of stars from main sequence; Using large mirrors to mitigate climate change? Flying with vacuum; Missed the beer experiment

Greetings from Palmia Observatory

There are a lot of different topics this weeks but first we need to alert, all of you SpaceX Starlink satellite launch followers, that the next scheduled launch from KSC is now on for Monday, January 6 a 9:19 pm.  So get out and follow the satellites and get some photos of the string of pearls.  You can check in with www.heavens-above.com website for viewing details in your area.