Archive for June, 2010

Rocket dentistry.

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

I admit I’m somewhat annoyed that someone else thought of this first.

Cazenovia Community Band

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Our premiere performance[1] will be Tomorrow (Thursday), 7:30pm at the pavilion at Lakeland Park in Caz. We have great instrumentation and hopefully my chops will recover by tomorrows performance. Despite the release below, we probably won’t actually start playing until 7:30, but generally the lawn is pretty filled up by then. Keep your fingers crossed for no rain (or at least for it to be cleared out by then).

Official press release:

CAZENOVIA — The Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce (GCACC) is presenting its 14th season of summer concerts in the park. The 2010 Oneida Savings Bank Summer Concert Series begins Thursday, June 24 in Cazenovia’s Lakeland Park featuring the Cazenovia Community Band from 7-9 p.m. This popular summer series will run each Thursday evening through Aug. 19 with the exception of a special holiday concert on July 4th, featuring three bands, followed by the community fireworks.

A rain date has been set for June 25 at Eastern Hills Bible Church in Manlius. The band will also perform at the July 4th parade in Cazenovia. Under the direction of Marv Arnold, the band will present a selection of favorites, marches and show tunes including John Williams in Concert (music from Star Wars, Jaws, etc.), Percy Grainger’s “Irish Tune and Shepherd’s Hey,” Sousa’s “King Cotton” and Delibes’ “March and Procession of Bacchus.”

All concerts are free and open to the public. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a relaxing summer evening and concert by Cazenovia Lake.

  1. There was previously a Madison County / Community Band, which sort-of disbanded, but this is officially a new entity. []

Earthquake location on map

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

As found on USGS Latest Earthquakes page.

USGS Confirms: 5.55.0 in Canada.

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

USGS notice.

Edit: USGS updated the report.

Magnitude 5.0

* Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 17:41:42 UTC
* Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 01:41:42 PM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 45.862°N, 75.457°W
Depth 18 km (11.2 miles) set by location program

* 38 km (24 miles) N (356°) from Cumberland, Ontario, Canada
* 44 km (28 miles) NNE (21°) from Gatineau, Qu?bec, Canada
* 51 km (32 miles) NNE (26°) from Hull, Qu?bec, Canada
* 53 km (33 miles) NNE (21°) from OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 2.3 km (1.4 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters NST=283, Nph=283, Dmin=148.6 km, Rmss=0.91 sec, Gp= 25°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=8


Event ID us2010xwa7

Magnitude 5.5

* Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 17:41:41 UTC
* Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 01:41:41 PM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 45.866°N, 75.457°W
Depth 15.7 km (9.8 miles) set by location program

* 39 km (24 miles) N (356°) from Cumberland, Ontario, Canada
* 45 km (28 miles) NNE (21°) from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
* 52 km (32 miles) NNE (26°) from Hull, Quebec, Canada
* 53 km (33 miles) NNE (21°) from OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 2.3 km (1.4 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters NST=283, Nph=283, Dmin=149 km, Rmss=0.91 sec, Gp= 25°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=7


Event ID us2010xwa7


Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

About fifteen minutes ago, we experienced what definitely seemed to be an earthquake. This real-time data from Millersville, PA seems to confirm this:

My loss is your gain.

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

The other night R once again caused me to be awake at 2AM. It was pretty clear, so I again went comet hunting. My loss of sleep is your gain.

This time I was better prepared. I mounted the camera on the telescope and hand guided some shots. The camera was set up with the 70-200mm f/2.8 and the 1.8x teleconverter. These are full frame shots post stacking (9×10 second exposures at ISO 3200) and level adjustment. The big bright blob is the massively overexposed Capella shining through the horizon haze. Capella was barely above the local horizon thanks to Stone Quarry Hill. I forgot to note how many of the exposures were actually used, some were tossed because my guiding was poor. My guess is 5-7 of the images were ultimately stacked.

C/2009 R1 McNaught and Capella

At one point a cloud obstructed the view, so I swung the telescope up a bit and took a look at the Andromeda Galaxy. I took about 14 shots and kept 7: so 7×10 second exposure. I have to confess I’m rather happy with how this shot turned out. You can see the small satellite galaxy clearly and the dust lanes are visible, exposing the spiral.

M31 Andromeda Galaxy

I’m getting the hang of the stacking software, and I figured out why my saturation was getting wrecked. I’ll be doing my level adjustments in Photoshop from now on. I’m certainly not going to win any prizes for either of these shots, but the M31 represents a personal best on this target… and only about a minute worth of total exposure time. With a bit more tracking practice… a reticle for my eyepiece… an actual sidereal drive… a telescope I can actually shoot through…

Mmmm…. upgrades.

Other updates…

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The astute observer of this web space may also have noticed that I uploaded a whole pile of images from the last several weeks. (month?)

There is a trip to the Zoo on Nate’s birthday set:

There is a Memorial Day set:


And some other just family update pics:

As always, you can see these and more by going to the latest updates link.

Comet Stacked

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

I used a program called DeepSkyStacker to create stacked versions of the images I took this morning. I’m still a novice at this, but the reduced noise is certainly worth the effort.

The first is a series of six five-second exposures at ISO 800. I didn’t get a dark frame,[1] so the hot pixels on the CCD are apparent as little series of colored dots. The noise is also pretty significant.

The second is a series of six five-second exposures at ISO3200. Each of these individual frames had the same quality of the shot I posted this morning. For these I did have a dark frame, so the noise is significantly reduced. I played with the exposure settings of the resulting image a bit, but that’s the part I don’t have quite figured out. This software was considerably easier to use than the software I previously used (Registack or something like that) and had much better documentation (hmmm… related properties perhaps??).

One thing I noticed is that both stacking processes seemed to wash out the color significantly. I’m not sure if this was the stacking or my exposure adjustments afterward. Looking forward to some nice deep sky pics later this summer… but for now… I need sleep… badly.

  1. A picture at the same sensitivity and exposure with only darkness, i.e. the lens cap. []

C/2009 R1 McNaught

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

R didn’t want to sleep last night, so when I found myself awake at 2AM I decided I’d take a shot at the new comet in town, C/2009 R1 McNaught. The comet is low in the north eastern sky currently, so I walked out onto the street in front of our house to see it. It took me two return trips to the computer to check the finder map before I was sure I’d spotted it. In the end (once I was certain where to look), it was quite easy to see with the binoculars, but I couldn’t pick it up naked eye. This morning, you could easily find Mirphak (brightest star in Perseus), slide down to delta Per (bright star in the images) and the comet was just below and to the left. It’s moving westward (towards the sun) so it will be a bit further down and to the left tomorrow.

The coma is so bright and small in binoculars that in the high-haze I was looking through last night it was indistinguishable from a star. The camera tells more though. This is a single shot somewhat enhanced for contrast, but at 3200 ISO it doesn’t tolerate much brightening. I have multiple pictures, so when I get a chance to do some image work I’ll stack them for some noise cancellation.


The coma is quite visibly green in this 5 second exposure and the ion tail can be seen stretching off at 1 o’clock. I couldn’t get to my ‘scope without waking the whole house, so I was limited to short untracked exposures. In the inverse, the tail is somewhat easier to pick up.


As a bonus, while I was getting the camera setup at 2:45AM I had a brilliant ISS flyby. I was pretty sure that’s what it was because it was so bright it left a corona in the sky (again the high haze). Checking up on it, I confirmed the pass with a listed magnitude of -3.0.[1] Wow.
I also had a short bright meteor which left a visible trail for a few seconds in the sky. I guess you just have to go outside and look up.

  1. Mighty Jupiter is only about -2.4 right now. []