NEAIC and NEAF

The imaging conference (NEAIC) and the Telescope Show (NEAF) are over for this year. The last few days have been pretty hectic and I'm just now catching up.

On Friday, I attended a spectroscopy workshop led by Olivier Thizy where he walked us through the process of using a spectrum taken with a diffraction grating in front of a Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT) which we then used to measure the rotational speed of Saturn. What a cool application using completely off-the-shelf components.

NEAIC Underway!

The Northeast Astronomical Imaging Conference is starting its second day. Yesterday's set of talks were great.

The plenary session by Ken Crawford provided some interesting ideas on how to bring out image details. His focus was on techniques appropriate to what he labelled "technical art" wherein he spends quite a bit of time using various image masks to selectively process parts of the image to bring out local features.

Session 5B: Craters!

To form realistic craters you need realistic materials. However, we can't reasonably fire slugs of iron or rock at speeds up to 60 kilometers per second at slabs of rock (not and expect to survive anyway). But that doesn't mean we can't come up with an analog which will demonstrate many of the characteristics of a real impact. One idea I came across is the use of fine sand and a projectile like a marble. I haven't tried this and it may work. Another idea was to use flour instead of the sand. Again, I haven't tried that one, but it sounds like it might work.

News feeds okay again

The news feed problem is largely resolved. Except for Pluto (which isn't a planet anymore anyway, right ), they were either fixed or the source or else were due to a configuration problem on my side. Pluto has some problems and I've forced in current feed information, but the problem will have to get fixed on the source or it will go stale again....

Lunar Eclipse Visible!

[img_assist|nid=689|title=2008-02-20 Lunar Eclipse|desc=|link=node|align=undefined|width=640|height=640]

Starting around 2 pm EST, the clouds rolled in and it didn't look good for viewing. But around 8:30 pm the clouds thinned allowing a fuzzy moon to be visible through and between the clouds so we could see the eclipse begin. By 10 pm, the skies had completely cleared an we were able to view totality without any clouds (now, if we could just do it without that streetlight at the end of the block...).

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