Star Party Weekend.

For those of you that have a chance, you are more than welcome to come out to the Riverside Astronomical Societies dark sky site (GMARS).

Site map of GMARS

If you would like more information or directions, they can be found here.  We have two houses, 8 beds, 3 bathrooms, 1 kitchen, internet available, and lots of good people and good times.

Please be sure to come early in the afternoon on Saturday so that everyone can see who you are before it gets dark and you can meet and greet other club members.  It will also give you time to eat!  That’s right, we will be hosting our usual Star-B-Que Saturday evening.  It is free, but if you would like to bring something, it is a pot luck.

No matter what you skill level, you will find something to look at.  You don’t even need to bring your own telescope.  You can wander around and look through other peoples telescopes.  Don’t worry we are a friendly bunch ( except for that SOB of a Club President…wait…that’s me!).

If you would like to set up your own scope, we usually have pads available and there is a whole lot of field that you can also use.  There is electricity on the field that is also available.  It looks like the weather gods are going to be nice this weekend (the viewing was AWESOME last weekend).

I hope to see you there.  If not, I hope you can make an evening of observing somewhere.

– 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 Month Riverside Astronomical Society Meeting.

Whew! I am glad this one is over.  Everything seemed to be going well when, you know, Murphy’s Law struck…big time.

The kind people at La Sierra University let us use the facilities at Cossentine Hall to hold our meeting (Thank you very much).  They also let us use their AV equipment so we don’t have to bring our own.  We even rent one of their buildings for our holiday party.

 

But this weekend, nothing worked.  It was a AV geeks worst nightmare.  We had the poor security guard open almost every room in the place to find a working projector.  It seems that the IT staff have been doing last minute upgrades before the semester started.  Unfortunately, we did have all the right cables to make anything work.

While I was delaying the inevitable, and our guest speaker started looking very apprehensive, a miracle occurred!  We pushed the right button and everything was fine.

Then it was time for the main events.

Diane Childs gave a great “What’s Up,” presentation on the Hercules Cluster.

Anahita Alavi

Our guest speaker, Anahita Alavi, Department of Physics and Astronomy, U. C. Riverside, then gave her presentation on “Using the Hubble Space Telescope and Mother Nature’s Telescope (Gravitational Lenses) to Find the Faintest Galaxies in the Universe.”

It seems that there are a lot of dwarf galaxies roaming about the Universe.  The Milky Way as about 20 (that we can see) orbiting the galaxy.  There may be more, but these objects are soooooo faint that scientists are using gravitational lensing to look even deeper into space than the Hubble can.

Although the data is not refined as they would like it to be, it does set up the James Webb telescope on where to look when it is fully operational (hopefully in 2018).

In the end it was another great meeting.  Please remember that if you are in the area, or just passing through, and need your monthly astronomy fix, everyone is welcome to come and enjoy free of charge.  Heck we even provide snacks!

You can find out about the next general meeting, star parties, and outreach locations on our website.

– 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

RAS General Meeting Recap.

We started off the evening with our usual reports, but unfortunately, our Chief Observer had a work commitment and could not make the meeting.

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This months “What’s Up?” speaker was Cherly Wilcox and her talk was about atmospheric optics.  What is atmospheric optics you ask (like I did), it is all the nifty things that you can see in the sky from clouds, to rainbows and other phenomenon that you sometimes see if you look up.

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I didn’t know that the dark area between two rainbows was called Alexander’s band, which was named after Alexander of Aphrodisias who first described it in 200 AD.

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Moonbows are always a good time.  Moonbows are formed just like rainbows, only with moonlight.

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Crepuscular rays (also known as God rays) in atmospheric optics, are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from the point in the sky where the sun is located. I didn’t know what they were called, but I do now.  I have taken lots of pictures just thinking that they looked nice.

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Anticrepuscular rays are similar to crepuscular rays, but seen opposite the sun in the sky. Now I will have to be on the lookout for them.

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The green flash is always something to look for at sunset.  I have only seen it once, and I have never gotten a photograph of it.  I will just have to try harder.

Chris Butler

This month’s main speaker was Chris Butler. He is a science artist, lecturer & media producer.  His talk, “Our Little Corner of the Galaxy — The Realm of the Super-terrestrials,” was facinating in that he produced a 45 minute animated video that he voiced over.  It will be available on his website.

Chris is an internationally renowned artist, public speaker, and educational program producer whose work focuses on science, nature, and maritime subjects. His illustrations have appeared in thousands of publications worldwide, from the Times of London to Scientific American. A graduate of California State University Fullerton’s school of Television and Film Production, Chris has served as a art director and animator on both educational and entertainment programs. Among his screen credits are the National Geographic IMAX film “Forces of Nature” (2003) and Griffith Observatory’s “Centered in the Universe,” (2006). Chris has produced and presented live science educational programming since 1985 which has been featured at hundreds of events.”

His talk will prompt some of this weeks posts as it raised a lot of questions for me, so as I explore them, I will tell you about what I find out.  This is just one of the benefits of attending your local astronomical club’s meetings.  You never know what you will learn.

– 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

Weekend Star Party Recap.

Well, not much to report.  The weather gods still hate me.  First, cloud cover during the lunar eclipse earlier this month (of course, only during totality, it was perfectly clear on either side, just blocking out the main event).  And now this weekends wind storms ruined another opportunity to image the Universe.

New Roof 20140412~ (1)

I did manage to get some work done on my new roof for remote observing.  I have what I think is a better idea for the roll off roof for our climate.  I thought that I had come up with a great new idea, but it turns out that other people have been making wedge shaped roll off roof observatories for a while (at least one other person has, that I have found).

The frame construction is made from Unistrut(r) and all the bracing as well.  The roof will be covered by either 1/4 or 11/32 inch plywood sheets to add rigidity and keep it safe from the elements.  I am going to waterproof the wood exterior and then cover is with a self adhesive rolling roof base sheet for additional protection.  I have a 1hp DC garage door opener that I will use to open and close the roof remotely.

I still have to install the internal cameras to make sure that the scopes are clear before the roof opens and closes and I am still working on remote waking the computers so that I don’t waste electricity.

I am trying to set up a Raspberry Pi to remote wake on lan the other computers, because it runs at about 0.8 watts when operational and lower when just sitting there.  However, to date, I haven’t had much success using a reverse autossh tunnel to bypass my ISP’s firewall to give the commands.  If anyone out there can help me with this, I would greatly appreciate it.

Hopefully, by the end of May, I will have a fully functional remote observatory.  I’ll post some images and some video when it is done.

– 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

Star Party Weekend!

I will be leaving today to go to the club’s dark sky sight for (hopefully) a good weekend of observing.

Along the way, we also have to do an outreach for a High School that is visiting nearby at Joshua Tree National Park.  We will be doing some solar viewing and a little night viewing.  I’ll still have plenty of night left to capture something.

We also have a group a students that will be staying overnight to observe with us.  We may even have a girl scout troop out this weekend.  Not sure how we will handle 30 girls, but I am counting on the women in our group to help us figure it out.

If you have the chance, come on out.  We will feed you for free Saturday afternoon about an hour before sunset.

If you would like to come visit us, you can find directions and etiquette here, and general information about the club here.

Not sure what I am going to try to image.  If you have any suggestions, leave them below.  Thanks.

– 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

RAS General Meeting Recap.

This month’s speaker for the RAS, was Heather A. Knutson.  She is an assistant professor in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at the California Institute of Technology.  She is working onthe physics and chemistry of exoplanetary atmospheres, planet formation and migration, and the search for new low-mass eclipsing planetary systems.

As usual, our meetings are held at Cossentine Hall at La Sierra University.

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Dr. Knutson spoke about her research into smaller exoplanets.  Most of the exoplanets are large, like Jupiter large.  She is trying to find Earth analogous planets.

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She also spoke about some of the planets that have been discovered.

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One particular planet has 6,000 mph winds and liquid rock for clouds!  Trust me, the science works, it just seems odd.

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She also explained that instead of looking at large suns for Earth sized planets, they are starting to look as smaller suns.  It makes perfect sense.  If you can’t make the planet larger to detect, look at smaller suns and the planet gets bigger by default.

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It was also interesting to note that Kepler imaged a very, very tiny part of our galaxy.  That spot with the red arrow is as much as we have looked at to date.  There are a lot of other exoplanet missions planned, but the galaxy, and the universe, are really big.  Lots more data to come.

Remember, everyone is welcome at the meetings and you can find out about the topics by visiting http://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