Gaia Is Go!

Gaia, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) unmanned astrometry spacecraft has taken its first image.

As I told you before, Gaia’s mission is make a 3D space catalogue of approximately 1 billion astronomical objects.  It sounds like a lot, but that is only about 1% of the Milky Way!

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Gaia will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times over a period of five years from its L2 vantage point.

So what does a billion pixel image look like?

LMC

Pretty good for a warmup.  The final results should be spectacular.  Not the pictures (this isn’t that kind of mission), but the data collected giving us the accurate distances and relative motions of the tracked objects.  But some of the images may be spruced up a bit to make good copy.

And, if you remember my post from a few days ago, Gaia will be using parallax trigonometric techniques (like a parsec!) to measure the objects distance from us.  See! There is a madness to my method, or

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

One Day, Two Camera Shows

 

So this weekend started out on a bad note.  Well, bad for my wallet at least, great fun for me!

Night Sky Photo Workshop flier (GMARS-2013)

I was looking around for a good low light lens for the upcoming Night Sky Photography workshop that my astronomy club is putting on September 7-8 (if you are in the area you too can participate…its $120 to learn from one of the masters of the craft Dennis Mammana).

20130824_132934_5So as I was perusing the Samy’s Camera store ads, I noticed that they were having a Photo Expo at the Pasadena Convention Center…Yeah!!

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Right as you walked in to the Expo, there they were…my dream lenses!  No, those aren’t telescopes (although they could be), they are just really long lenses.  The Sigma above what their 400mm F2.8 monster.  The Canon 400mm was surprisingly light for all the glass in the lens.   Both were sharp edge to edge.  However, I am going to have to start advertising and getting a lot of ad revenue from this site before I am able to afford either one of these.  I may need to buy a new car first, or get these lenses.  Luckily, you can always rent them.

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The Leica rep was showing off their wares.  If you can do manual focusing, these are some of the best (and most expensive) cameras and lenses in the world.

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As you can see the aisles were packed.

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I was so impressed with this device that I bought one.  It makes carrying multiple cameras/lens easier than any of the vest or other harnesses that I own.  I feel like I have a camera six-shooter on my hips when I wear this, but it works great.

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One of the most poignant parts of the Expo was this exhibition of art.  Truly beautiful photography.

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Braver people than I having their work critiqued by professionals.  I’ll stick to looking at my pictures alone for now.

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In Addition to this, Sunday was the monthly Bargain Camera Show another great place to spend money on all your camera needs.

 

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Another crowded venue, with lots of good stuff.

I managed to escape the weekend only $550.00 poorer, but it was not for a lack of trying.

Who would have thought that mixing one really expensive hobby (astronomy) with another really expensive hobby (photography) would actually result in a less expensive hobby?

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

No Telescope Needed.

Heads up.  You can see a very close Moon/Jupiter conjunction on January 21.  For everyone in North America, this is easily visible even from brightly lit cities.  A waxing gibbous moon, 78-percent illuminated, will pass within less than a degree to the south of Jupiter (your closed fist held out at arm’s length covers 10 degrees of the sky).


The two brightest objects in the sky that night (Venus is brighter than Jupiter) will make their closest approach high in the evening sky.  This will be the closest moon-Jupiter conjunction until the year 2026!  You should be able to take pictures of the event with any camera.  Send me links to the pictures you take of the conjunction!

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman