Posts Tagged ‘not’

Watching Sunset on the Moon, and things that go bump in the night!

August 20, 2011

Well it’s a start.  Sunset on the Moon!

This is the time lapse of sunset on the moon, taken at prime focus with a cpc11 with a focal reducer and a canon 60D.  The conditions were less than perfect.  This was about 9 hrs all in, and really quite an infuriating 9 hrs.

Firstly, since my ‘run in’ with the mountain lion, I’ve become VERY twitchy about things that go bump in the night, and would periodically scan the torch around, looking for ‘eyes’.  There was also an amusing part when a piece of paper blew out of the car.  The ‘sudden noise’ in the dark elicited an immediate reaction from me, which to the impartial observer must have appeared quite funny and disproportionate! (twirling around ready to attack the piece of paper…… hmmmm….  time to switch to decaf!)

Not all bad though, amazing what the heightened senses can find!


For some reason the telescope is lousy at tracking the moon.  I think this is to do with the fact that the Earth axis, and the normal of the orbit of the moon are out by about 6 degrees.  Practically what this means is the moon not only moves at a different rate to the stars (that is it goes around the sky in about 25 hours, not 24 like pretty much everything else).  But even with lunar rate, the tracking is poor.  I think the moon is also moving up/ down due to the difference in the normal of the Earth rotation and the moons orbit, and the mount is not smart enough to work this out.  The practical upshot of which is the moon will drift out of the field of view over a period of about an hour, so I had to set the alarm to go off every 20 minutes throughout the night in order to recenter the moon.

Further recentering the frames, taken every 2 minutes in editing is also a pain in the ass.  Thankfully Sony Vegas now has a ‘motion stabilizer’ feature that takes a lot of the donkey work out of this.

This is the finished product!  Well actually, only part of it.  At prime focus the telescope can get the best part of the moon in the frame.  I just selected one crater, as it shows the shadows nicely.

Tracking on everything else is perfect, in that at the end of the evening I dialed up Jupiter, and it went straight to it.  Cute! Never seen Jupiter by the full light of day before!

Monday 18th (To California!)

July 21, 2011

Decided to head to California, picked up gas and a burger and got on the road.  A few hours later I was in Barstow CA.  The brakes have been worrying me for the best part of the last 1000 miles.  There has been an intermediate high pitched whine coming from them (front right), especially at speed as if a wire or something is rubbing against the brake hub.  Figured I’d get it checked out the next time I changed the oil.  Long experience has shown that if you are going to get work done on the wheels, the bigger the civilization the better.  Also turns out that one of my video cameras died.  Worse than that, one of the brand new ones died!  It turns on okay, and off okay, but the second you try to turn it on with the screen open -dead.  Turns out there was a canon ‘walk in express repair center’ in LA.  Figured that would be  a good place to kill two birds with one stone.  Spent most of the afternoon rendering, uploading and writing blog, plus catching up on the mass of emails etc that had accumulated in the 4 days I had been ‘unplugged’.   Then as dusk came on I headed out to the south towards San Bernadino, but turned off before hand for a quiet little place called Wrightwood.  I was v. happy to be heading for LA at this point the brakes are sounding progressively more creaky.  I’ve had a good feel around the back of the brakes but couldn’t find anything obvious, further they look to be carrying quite a lot of corrosion.

Tuesday 19th, saved by grace!

Go up before the sunlight hit the car in the little niche I was parked in.  Some great views heading back to the main road!

View from Wrightwood

View driving back from Wrightwood to the main road.  Those little domes look kinda volcanic to me.

Drive through LA was busy, but not too bad.  Got to the Canon ‘express repair’ at 8ish.  They very quickly diagnosed a ‘LCD’ fault.  250 bucks to replace.  When I asked if it was under warranty (it’s only about a month old, quasi professional 900 bucks canon S20 I think), they said yes, but I would need proof of purchase or similar.  The warranty was an absolute no-go.  I had ditched the paper work to the camera before I started on the roadtrip.  Proof of purchase I could do from emails etc, but they didn’t have wifi.  A little miffed I headed out to find a McDonalds for breakfast and wifi.   Took about 5 times as long as I expected to find the correct email.  I get far too many emails! Like trying to find a fart in a jacuzzi!  Eventually found it (bought in beginning of June, just before I came out!). On returning about an hour or so later there was a significant que, and I had to wait about another hour to get it seen to.  When they did, almost as if to rub salt in the wound, they scarcely looked at the email (sigh).  Then of course it was going to take 5-7 days to repair.  GAHHHHHHH.  I had no desire to hang around LA for the best part of a week.  I handed it in anyways, I mean lets be real, as it stands that month old camera is currently junk to me, and without it I am working off my spare camera.  Maybe best contingency plan I came up with was to get Canon to send the fixed camera to NCSE (IF they need a camera), and just to write it off as a donation from my subscribers to NCSE.

Okay, so order of buisness one in LA concluded.  Next, get the car seen to.  I like Sear for car stuff, most notably after TWICE I had Walmarts engine butchers botch an oil change.  Sear is nationwide, and generally Ive been happy with them.  Nonetheless the first Sears the GPS took me to was ‘out of buisness’.  The second seemed to be some great auto place.  Initally I just wanted an oil change and tire rotation, and while they were at it to see what was wrong with the brakes.  Turns out the brakes were in pretty bad shape.  Much worse than I expected.  Sears also kept coming up with these stories about how the wrong parts had arrived etc.  Looked legit too as it was the same guy working on my car.  In the end pretty much replaced the whole brake assembly at the cost of about 550 bux.  Yup it stings, but skimping on car auto if you’re going to drive your car into the middle of nowhere is what I would go so far to call a suicidal false economy (plus new brakes will make my mother happy! :-) ).

By the time they’d finished it was about 5ish, and I really didn’t have anywhere to go or any plan, and had no real desire to drive across LA at rush hour, so I found a cyber cafe and finished the TAM blog.  About 9ish I decided to head up to the Mnt Wilson observatory.  I know the road, it was out of the city and fairly quiet.  The drive across LA was a nightmare, even at this time.  When I got above LA, the view was great, but the sky was washed out with the glow from the city :-(


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