RAS Recap.

This weekends Riverside Astronomical Meeting was a great meeting.

Kam Arnold of UCSD

Our guest speaker, Kam Arnold, Assistant Research Scientist at UCSD, Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences gave a talk on “Fundamental Physics with Cosmic Microwave Background Polarimetry.”

Full-sky image derived from nine years' WMAP data

His talk covered the basics of cosmic microwave background (CMB), how it has help with cosmology and where we are headed.

He developed the POLARBEAR a cosmic microwave background polarization experiment located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile in the Antofagasta Region.

This is the first sensor that will part of the Simons array that will gather data on the polarization of the CMB.  The device is incredibly cooled to about 0.2 degrees above Kelvin (absolute zero).  I didn’t know that we could get things that cold.

They use a similar compressor to a refrigerator, it just uses Helium 3 and Helium 4 to get temperatures down that low.

Considering that the CMB is measured in micro-Kelvins, the super cold temperatures are needed for the most accurate data.

It is amazing the data that we can gather right hear on Earth.

– 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 +, or by email.

Norman

Teaching An Old Dog(house) New Tricks.

The Riverside Astronomical Society has a 22 inch hand made (by club members) Dobsonian that comes out to show the heavens up close and personal.

Capella

I cannot operate Capella, she (or he) is too much scope for me to handle.  Give me a computer and a goto mount and I can find anything.  Only our expert visual observers can locate anything, so if you want to find out how to star hop and see deep space objects through a truely magnificent scope, come to the next star part at GMARS (directions and information on star party dates can be found on the Club’s website at www.rivastro.org.  Capella has recently been upgraded with all new electronic setting circles, new cooling fans, a new spider and mirror support system and new coatings for the primary and secondary mirrors.

Tear Down 1

The problem was that the old doghouse, where Capella sleeps when not star gazing, has too many leaks and let dust and other creepy, crawly thing inside.  That was not going to happen to all the new equipment!  So the director of Capella operations, Carey Sublette, requested a work party to tear the old house down and build a new house for the pretty much new scope.

Tear Down 3

Tear Down 2

So this past Saturday, the tear down and construction began.  Several club members helped with the project and it was completed in a single day.

Skeleton

Once the old material was removed, new side ribs were installed to hold the siding better.

A New Skin

A moisture barrier was added to prevent dust and water from eroding Capella’s mirrors.

Done

A positive pressure vent with a filter were also added.  A solar panel and battery will arrive soon and be added so that  there is always more air pressure on the inside than out, which will keep the elements at bay.  The solar panel is part of a club initiative to reduce our carbon footprint and save on electricity costs.  Although you can’t tell from this photo, GMARS is sunny most of the time, so we are going to start harnessing all that free energy with some upcoming projects.

Thanks to everyone that participated in the work party.

– 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 +, or by email.

Norman

New Stove Day At Gmars…Almost.

This Saturday, we tried to replace the old, worn out stove in the kitchen of GMARS (the Goat Mountain Astronomical Research Station), the dark sky site for the Riverside Astronomical Society.

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After making two trips into town to retrieve said stove from Home Depot (on mistaken phone call that it was in, then the real call 30 minutes later).  The stove arrived on the back of my truck.

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The new stove preparing to be unloaded.

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The old stove, alas, many a meal had been cooked on it over the past 8 years or so.

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Disconnecting the gas and old gas line before removal.

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Just to make sure, we turned the gas off with both valves.  Safety first.

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A lonely spot looking for something to be placed there.

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Unpacking the stove.  Mike and Bruce helping out along with Bob and Ken.

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The three foot move into the kitchen for inspection ……

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and then disaster struck….

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twice…actually, three times as the electric cord had been slightly nicked exposing the wires.

So back in the box, back on the truck, back to Home Depot to return and order another one.

[Heavy sigh….]

Three trips into town and nothing to show for it.  The people at Home Depot were great and got the replacement on order.  Hopefully in two weeks, the newly ordered stove will be installed.

P.S.  It doesn’t take Home Depot that long to order the stove, but our holiday party is this next Saturday and there won’t be anyone to install it, so I asked them to deliver it in two weeks.

Now if my back can take it, we will be set for the December star party.  Remember everyone is welcome to come out and play under the stars at GMARS any time.

– 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 +, or by email.

Norman

Pirate Star Party This Weekend!

It is time for the annual Riverside Astronomical Societies themed Star Party.

And in honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Friday, September 19th), this year’s theme is pirates!

I, of course, will be dressed appropriately.  P.S. The image is to see if anyone actually reads this post, my outfit is WAY sexier than this. As you might be able to tell, really like this idea as I have been a fan of the Pirate Day festivities for years.  Alas, there are no pirate constellations, nebula to photograph.

The only possibility is what Stephen O’Meara calls it the pirate moon cluster, NGC 1647.  So I will try to image that and post the results on Monday.

As always, everyone is invited to attend the star party, costumed or not, this weekend.  Come out to GMARS and have a good time.  More information can be found here.

– 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

Recap Of This Weekends RAS General Meeting.

 

John Carpenter

Our guest speaker was John Carpenter, from the Department of Astronomy at Caltech.  His talk was an interesting twist on what was once a lone subject: The Origin of Solar Systems (notice the plural).

Kepler_mission

Now that the Kepler mission has provided us with a lot of new planetary systems, the old model of how our solar system was formed has to be tossed.  It just didn’t hold up after all the new data was analyzed.

John said: “The common theme to my research over the years has been to understand how stars and planetary systems form. My interest in these topics began in graduate school, where I imaged the large-scale structure of molecular clouds and searched for newly formed star clusters.  At Caltech, I have continued this research and expanded into new areas. In particular, I am heavily involved in operating the CARMA millimeter-wave interferometer.”

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The CARMA site is about 15 miles from the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (250 miles north of Los Angeles).  John also told us that they give tours once a month, so you can check their website for more information.

Oddly enough, our “What’s Up?” presentation (done by club member Mark Melnyk), was about Cygnus (the Swan), which was the area that Kepler imaged to find all these exo-planets.

Additionally, our Chief Observer, Michael Barker, gave a lively presentation on a “meteorite” strike in Nicaragua.  The debate raged for a few minutes, because, well the photos don’t really show a meteorite strike.  Can you tell why this isn’t a meteorite strike.  Its like “Where’s Waldo,” only much easier.  It looks like a ordinance crater to me.

All, in all, it was another fun evening of astronomy and hanging out with friends.  Please be sure to check our website for meeting times and speaker info at: www.rivastro.org.

– 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

Riverside Astronomical Society Star Party Weekend Recap.

It was a great weekend for viewing or photographing the night sky.  The new roof worked great.  I’ll have some images processed this week and post them.

Only a few newcomers at the party, but everyone had a good time.

A lot of meteors, most likely remnants of the Persieds from earlier.

We had meetings to discuss the future development of the site and are anxiously looking toward Nightfall.  This years event will have even more than the past 20 years.  We will once again be at the Palm Canyon Resort and RV park.  You need to act fast if you want to be onsite.  Otherwise there are two other hotels near the event that still might have openings.

– 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