A view into the mind of Jason

Welcome to Evilness
Thursday, May 25 2017 @ 11:28 MDT

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Swan in the sky

AstronomyInstead of doing my school observations this weekend, I and the Evil clan nipped off to the Alberta Star Party. The first night I had to borrow Mrs. Evil's telescope since, by tradition now apparently, I forgot the tripod for mine. A quick trip back to cowtown and I had my tripod and could use my 'scope for some astrophotography.
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Summer of Astrophotos

AstronomyWith school (both work and study) back upon me, my observation time shifts back to scientific imaging. The past month though I had some time to take some "pretty picture" astrophotos. One is from the WCO and the rest are from my first trip to the SSSP. Photos below the cut, click on the photos for larger versions.
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More astrophotos

AstronomyNot much political commentary this past few weeks, but I've been taking some astrophotos. This time the summer Milky Way, a close neighbour, and a stellar nursery.
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Who knew that stuff you learned in school...

Astronomy...would be useful someday. Well in all seriousness I did, but this made some of the theory a little less theoretical. My bi-monthly edition of SkyNews showed up shortly after the end of the postal strike with a beautiful Hubble shot of the interacting galaxies known as Arp 273 (click on the photo for the large version from the Hubble site). Looking at the photo, things look strangely familiar...
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More dying suns

AstronomyBefore my premature bug-out due to severe weather this weekend, I did manage to do some imaging. Sticking with the theme related to the Ring nebula photos posted here another bright summer planetary nebula M27 - the Dumbbell nebula was the target on Saturday night.
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Ring in the sky.

AstronomySo having my CCD imager back from the shop some time ago I've been itching to use it again but was delayed by poor weather and ironically observations for one of my courses. Well my course ended at the beginning of June and Friday night was clear for a change. This allowed me to do some tests to help determine the linear range of the imager (not exciting work) but also to take some images of M57, the Ring Nebula in Lyra. It also let me test an auto-guiding setup which allowed imaging times of 60 seconds, twice what was possible without the auto-guiding.
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The Sun is Turning Off!

AstronomyOk not really, but the solar dynamo looks like it's going to be quiet for the next few years. What this means is the current 11 year sunspot cycle, number 24, will likely peak at a lower set of sunspot numbers than the previous two cycles. Further, the decline in the Sun's magnetic field would seem to indicate that the next cycle, number 25 may be very small if not happening at all.
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More Astrophotos

AstronomyWell really another photo of the same thing, M42 but with longer exposure (4x30 seconds for a total of 2 minutes) and different filters. Why the fascination with M42 (The Great Nebula in Orion)? Well a few reasons. First I'm still learning the ins and outs of my new imager so by using the same object I can compare what happens when I change things. Second, M42 is bright so easy to photograph with relatively short exposures. Third, since I'm doing this from my backyard in the suburbs of Calgary, the light pollution is brutal and the brightness of M42 again makes it easy to image.
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New astrophoto CCD – first successful image

AstronomyBack in December I picked up a new CCD imager for my telescope. Prior to this I had been using my DLSR to take astrophotos and with an upcoming course requiring an actual astronomical CCD imager it seemed like a good time to take the plunge. Now the imager I wanted the SBIG ST7ME was a bit out of my price range for the time frame I had so I ended up going with the monochrome Orion Starshoot III . The Starshoot III has a larger sensor than the ST7ME (1392x1040 pixels vs 784 x 520 pixels) but lacks the second auto guiding sensor. It also costs, with a 5 filter magazine, about $1000 less than the ST7ME so it's the imager I went with.
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Age of the Universe

AstronomyOver the past few weeks in my surfing the blogosphere, I've read several anti-creation posts over at sites such as Pharyngula and via Dave over at Galloping Beaver who twigged me on to a YouTube series on debunking creationism called Why do People Laught at Creationism. This has inspired me to present as a public service the evidence for a very old universe.