A Trip To Tucson.

I had some business to attend to in Pheonix this weekend, but afterwards I moved on to Tucson for a visit.

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Luckily, I was able to stop by and see one of my favorite telescope manufacturers.  Once we entered we were asked if we wanted a tour!  Dreams do come true!

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Here is the grinding machines for the large telescopes.

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The mirror coating machine that they recently purchased.

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The main grinding room.

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Blanks waiting to be transformed.

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35mm and 60mm grinding machines waiting for blanks.

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The blanks attached to base ready to be ground to perfection.

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An early stage etalon ready to move on down the line.

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The etalon is sandwiched between two blanks with tiny, tiny, tiny spacers less than .000005mm!

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Ye Olde Optics Shop!  Yeah!

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All the parts starting to come together.

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Parts waiting to ship.

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Completed 60mm solar scope waiting for pickup by their new owners.

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A lone 100mm scope amid the 60mm scopes ready and waiting.

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A microscope to place the spacers.

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The spacers are made from pieces of a larger piece.  Literally, they just break off little pieces of the blank and place them to create the air gap necessary for the solar scope to work correctly.

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Handing over an etalon!

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Checking for perfection using a standard light emitter.

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The business end of a Lunt Solar Scope ready for testing.

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One last check, and Lunts are go!

You can find out more about these amazing solar scopes here.

Tomorrow, Kitt Peak!

– 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

Can Lady Gaga Save Spaceflight?

A few week ago, I told you that Lady Gaga would be the first entertainer to give a concert, although brief, from orbit.  It turns out that her, and other, Pop music might just save spaceflights in the future.

Researchers from Curtin University in Western Australia have used radio waves generated by local stations to track objects orbiting the Earth.

Using information from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) the team was able to track many objects simultaneously.

Professor Steven Tingay, Director of the MWA at Curtin University and Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) said the MWA will be able to detect the space junk by listening in to the radio signals generated by radio stations.

The ability to track a large amount of space junk simultaneously is important due to the ever shifting orbits and collisions that happen above our heads on a daily basis.  The junk is a hazard to all intact space vehicles.

For instance, the International Space Station (ISS) travels at 4.791 miles/s (7.71 km/s) or 17,100 mph (27,600 km/h).  The craft orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes or so.  Running into anything at that speed is going to be bad.

With all the new commercial space flights just starting to take off, the amount of debris is a navigation hazard, but if it is tracked, the danger can be greatly decreased.

 

– 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

How To Collimate Your Telescope.

My good friend David Ho, owner of Hotech, has posted some YouTube videos on how to collimate your Cassegrain telescope.

You can find links to the videos on Davids Facebook page here. Please help David out by liking his page when you stop by for the video links.

If you have ever had any difficultly collimating your telescope, David’s instructions will help a lot.

David also sell products to help you collimate a variety of telescopes on his website (http://www.hotechusa.com).  I own a couple of David’s inventions and they have made short work of a previously long and arduous process.  My stars are pinpoint and the resolution is great.  Now if he would only invent that cloud removal filter everything would be great!

– 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

Back to Life for WISE

A wise man once said: “It’s not over till the fat lady sings.”

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft has been re-activated and called up for duty by NASA.  After being placed in hibernation (a low power state) for the past three years, WISE will be fully functional again next month.

 A WISE

WISE’s original mission was to create infrared images of 99 percent of the sky, with at least eight images made of each position on the sky in order to increase accuracy.

WISE was placed in a 326 mi (525 km), circular, polar, sun-synchronous orbit during its original ten month mission.  During that time the spacecraft took 1.5 million images, one every 11 seconds.

NASA approached Congress in 2007 about using WISE for finding Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) and with a couple of close flyby’s and the massive bolide in Siberia a few months ago, it seemed prudent to try and find these NEO’s before they find us.

WISE will also be used to find asteroids suitable for exploration missions and NASA’s asteroid initiative, or how to catch an release an asteroid.

It shows that keeping some spacecraft operational after their mission (instead of crashing them down to Earth) can be productive.

– 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

Big Blue.

Once again, Hubble has expanded the Universe of our knowledge.

This time, Astronomers found the actual color of a planet orbiting another star 63 light-years away.  The planet, HD 189733b, isn’t just blue, its big, at least the size of Jupiter.  The cobalt blue color doesn’t come from water reflection, like Earth, but most likely from the blow-torched atmosphere.  There is even speculation that there is solid silica rain (glass rain).

However fun a glass rain storm would be probably pales in comparison to the 2,000 degree Fahrenheit  (1093 Celsius) temperature and 4,500/mph (7242/ kph) wind.  Shards of glass flying at you very fast, what’s not to love about a planet like that?

Using Hubble’s Imaging Spectrograph, Astronomers measured changes in the color of light from planet HD 189733b during its transit behind the star it orbits.  Fortuitously, the planet’s orbit is tilted edge-on with respect to the Earth so the planet routinely passes in front and behind its star.

Hubble’s instruments measured about 1/10,000 of the light you would normally see.  “We saw the light becoming less bright in the blue, but not in the green or the red. This means that the object that disappeared is blue because light was missing in the blue, but not in the red when it was hidden.”

– 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

LADEE do you need some help?

As Jerry Lewis was fond of saying LAAYYYDEEE.  Although in this case it means something else.

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is scheduled to launch from Wallops Island in September.

This will be the first mission launched from Wallops Island to go beyond low Earth orbit.  I wasn’t even aware that Wallops Island had this capability (Go Navy!).

LADEE will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust.

LADEE is also the first spacecraft to use a new modular common spacecraft bus.

This will allow multi-use designs and assembly-line production, that could drastically reduce the cost of spacecraft development.  Much like the European Space Agencies Mars and Venus Express craft used many common items to cut costs and decrease the time it takes from production to launch.

– 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