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, December 15, 2023

Resident Astronomer tries his hand at using a microscope in lieu of a telescope to search for actual living Tardigrades


Greetings Physicist Wannabes from Palmia Observatory,

Last week at our Astrophysics SIG we watched a video from the series, “Life in our Universe” and we talked about how some microorganisms can survive in more extreme conditions than normally found on Earth. 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Travelled to St. George Utah for better view of the annular solar eclipse; Stopped in Las Vegas to see the Sphere; Photographing the eclipse; What to do with the Frunk?

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, we left on our road trip to view the October 14, 2023, annular solar eclipse from our selected location in St. George, Utah.  Las Vegas is about halfway from OC, so we had to stop there for refreshments and get a view of the Sphere.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Some photos and past comments of the 2017 and 2019 total solar eclipse events; For the October 14 Annular Eclipse, while millions watch and enjoy, the electric utility reliability planners are very busy!

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory,

Well, many of us are making plans for where we will be to observe the April 2024 total solar eclipse, but the upcoming annular eclipse on October 14 is also on our planning radar.  But as astronomers we often forget about another group that is especially interested in eclipses: Electric Utilities who must plan for the loss of solar generated power at that time.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

The 1961 movie about the first rocket ship, X-15; Richard Ellis and Brian Keating discuss Cosmic Dawn; Recalling coding problems?

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

This week we attended a viewing of the 1961 classic movie, X-15 and watched a great conversation with Richard Ellis on the latest findings leading up to the Cosmic Dawn.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Didn't see Starlinks but one OCA saw rocket launch; What is your ecological footprint? Some comments about a magnetotail and water on the moon from NESF conference; The end of the particle era?

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well, we didn't have much luck seeing the latest prediction for Starlink String of Pearls, but some lucky observers caught a distant rocket launch.  More about that and comments about our ecological footprint and water ice on the moon discussion at National Exploration Science Forum 2023.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Captured Starlinks with flimsy tripod camera; Upcoming Annular Eclipse; Activity at SpaceX Starbase; Oh-oh Atomic Size Black Holes; LIGO beginning Q4 Observations; It's hot but no need to worry!

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well we saw some Starlink string of pearls this week and planned for the upcoming annular eclipse and worried about atomic sized black holes but enjoyed some LIGO news benefits of the hot weather,

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Some Preliminary Comments from the first days of PASCOS 2023 Conference at UC Irvine; Using my ChatGPT Study Buddy; New Physics from Gravitational Waves?

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well it is finally time for PASCOS 2023, June 26-30, held at UC Irvine this year.  PASCOS has international speakers in three main areas of study: Particle Physics, String Theory and Cosmology.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

First use of Rspec Software for Spectral Analysis; Still need to get a good Type A star spectra to calibrate camera pixels to wavelength

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

This blog post covers the first four images to be processed by Rspec software in a first attempt to calibrate the observed SA-100 spectra camera image and convert the pixels to wavelengths.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Spectroscopy is a fundamental tool to study the universe; Red Shift; Lyman Forests; Stellar Classification, Type and Color; Balmer lines of Hydrogen; Diffraction Gratings and Measurements

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

This week we provide a technical discussion of spectroscopy as one of the fundamental tools of astrophysics and then review how amateurs can use modern diffraction gratings to make wavelength measurements of light from celestial objects.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Looking again at using SA-100 diffraction grating and DSLR for stellar spectroscopy demonstration; when the clouds go away, find a Type A star for calibration

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well this week we are revisiting some spectroscopy work done way back in January 2018 for the purpose of preparing a presentation at the OCA Astrophysics SIG.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Starship launch video shows rubber rocket effect; Digital image distortion effects with rolling shutter vs. global shutter technology

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

We watched the first orbital launch attempt of the SpaceX Starship online.  It didn't make it to orbit, but that story is told elsewhere.  Here we want to discuss the optical illusion displayed in the launch videos where the rocket seemed to be made of rubber and was wildly bending in all sorts of directions.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Some comments on recent developments in fusion power research by TAE as discussed at CSULB Physics Colloquium

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Stars are powered by fusion and the potential benefits of fusion power here on Earth are of interest and some latest results by TAE, formally Tri-Alpha Energy, as described at the April 17 CSULB Physics Colloquium are covered here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Some more on the five planet alignment; Looking for Mars; Lunar X and Lunar Y?

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory,

Well last evening we missed two of planets in alignment, but did go out to take a look at Mars.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Looking for Uranus with a DSLR in city lights; Upcoming rare planetary alignment; New PrimeScan 3D dental imaging; Gender Neutrality?

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well with the upcoming 5 planet alignment coming up later, we wanted to do some DSLR imaging practice of capturing Uranus, which is is very close now to bright Venus.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Moonbow from Julian?; Rainbow Physics; ChatGPT on Moonbows; What if AI goes rouge and other tangential jokes and source of UFOs?

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

This week we were reminded of the Moonbow phenomena and will comment and look into the physics and then finish up with fun with some jokes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Sadly, we report on the passing of Astronomer Assistant Willow; We will miss you, Willow!

 Sad Greetings from Palmia Observatory,

Astronomer Assistant Willow has been part of the observatory staff for about 17 years and passed away today.

Monday, January 23, 2023

First attempt to capture Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3); Impressive size reduction in auto transponders; New Tesla Model Y; Some comments on AAS241 meeting; Drawing with your drink!

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory,

Well, we will report on our first attempt to capture Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3), which is predicted to reach magnitude 6.2 and then review some observatory news and finally comment again on AAS41 meeting.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Machine Learning in Astronomy; One example exploring the Artificial Intelligence ChatGPT with a simple conversation about philosopher Paul Feyerabend

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

The use of artificial intelligence systems and machine learning is being applied to many astronomical observations.  These techniques are especially valuable for large datasets and many papers report good success while a few identify some of its spectacular failures also.  

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Greetings and Happy New Year 2023; AAS241 starting live; Some Equations, models and more models; Don't blame the Moon; Using ChatGPT on physics exams; What goes in the Tesla front trunk?

 Greetings from Palmia Observatory

Well its been a while since we last posted.  It has just been a trying time of year, but let's mention a few items hopefully of interest to the physicist wannabes.