Astronomy Log: 2019004

Happy Cinco de Mayo! We finally had a decent chance to do some observing, so my son Aaron and I cooked up a scheme that we’d go to sleep early, then get up at 2AM, jump in the car already packed with gear, drive to our remote observing site in Springwater and get some images of Jupiter and Saturn. [More]

Astrophotography

The following article was written by me in September, 2000. I thought it would be great to put it up here for posterity, as digital cameras were just becoming the norm, so the focus of my article is using film cameras. Imagine! (BTW: I'm still no good at astrophotography!) [More]

My Telescopes

I got my first telescope during the Christmas of 1979. It was a spindly little 40mm reflector from Sears and it came with just one eyepiece. It’s wobbly little wooden legs and plastic mount could barely keep the optical tube steady long enough to get a decent peek, but I managed to use that scope to explore the wonderfully cratered surface of the Moon, to see the moons of Jupiter and bask in the splendour of the rings of Saturn. That scope opened the world of astronomy to me. [More]

Arch Linux

My favourite distribution of Linux is Arch Linux. The reason? It lets you choose exactly what components you'd like to install - nothing more. Unlike pre-packaged distros like Ubuntu, Arch doesn't come with an office suite, a graphics editor, various games, tons of GUI tools, etc. Oh, you can install all of these things. As a matter of fact, you can make Arch look and behave exactly like Ubuntu, or any other distro. But that's not what I'm into. [More]

XEphem Astronomy Program

One of my favourite astronomy programs is called XEphem by Elwood Downey. It is a wonderful Unix/Linux application that not only shows you the night sky down but also a wealth of information regarding the planets and other sky objects. I have the purchased version which comes on 3 CD-ROMs. Since I run a super lean version of Arch Linux, I found there are a few things that I need to have installed before installing XEphem. [More]

Microscopy

I've always had a microscope, but its always been a cheap, toy type. Some have had metal bodies, but all have had horrible plastic optics, clunky focusing mechanisms, and wobbly stages to mount your slides on. My son Aaron has recently become very interested in microbiology, so we decided to get a better microscope. [More]

Buddhism Basics

A long time ago (it doesn't matter when), somebody (it doesn't matter who) had an epiphany and realized that there was a better way to deal with the anxiety, stress and suffering that each of us face in our daily lives. This person came up with a simple plan to achieve this goal. [More]

Testing Optics

I actually wrote this article a long time ago - probably around the year 2000 - but I think it outlines some basics of testing optics that, at the very least, will help you discern whether you have an optical problem or not with your telescope (and/or eyepieces). Enjoy! [More]

Messier Marathon

Once every year at the vernal equinox, all 110 of Messier's deep sky objects are visible during the course of one entire night. In the northern hemisphere, the date usually falls in late March. This is a grueling test of an astronomer's knowledge of his telescope and the sky. Your going to need a 6 inch or larger telescope and some sky charts to find your way around. [More]

Astronomy Code

So one day I decided that I wanted to write my own astronomy program to make sky charts and to plot deep sky objects. The process seemed simple enough: take the celestial coordinates of whatever object interests you (say, the star Deneb in the constellation Cygnus), convert it to x/y pixels for your screen and then plot it! And, actually, it pretty much is that straight forward. [More]