SAC 8-II Woes

I purchased a used SAC 8-II off astromart a few weeks ago after which it promptly sat in the box apart from a cursory examination. The intent was to use it as a light-weight autoguider. I quickly installed the software and "tested" it without being attached to anything. I was getting a signal out of the camera, the drivers all seemed to connect just fine, then I headed out to a dark-sky site for testing.

Truncated (large) images in Gallery2 --- not!

I was having a problem on with using Gallery's image block which requires loading PHP code . It would usually work just fine, but for some reason, the image was occasionally truncated. Since I have access to the backend, I could look at the raw file and knew it had uploaded just fine. Turns out I'm not the only one with this problem; you can see my own log at along with links there to others which I found having the same problem.

Fighting with G2Image

Okay, it's not really fighting, but if feels that way. I misunderstood the instructions for setting up g2image and put the plugin under modules/tinymce/plugins because that directory already existed and had something in it, namely drupalbreak. Oops, that's not where it is supposed to go, it has to go under modules/tinymce/tinymce/jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins. The clue came after I finally modified plugin_reg.php and got a log message that showed where it was looking.

NEAIC Finishes

It was a busy day with a long talk by Ron Dantowitz who was trying to make up for lost time after missing yesterday's talk due to a family emergency. I was a bit conflicted since I would have liked him to finish a bit earlier in order to have time for lunch, but on the other hand, I loved every minute of the talk. Of course, some of it was just being green with envy for his job!

NEAIC: Tony Hallas

Tony Hallas had the opening talk discussing deep-sky processing talk with a lot of useful information about his workflow. There were a number of useful tips on using Photoshop, and once again there was a large emphasis on signal-to-noise ratios. The fun part of the talk was the introduction which covered the history of astrophotography reaching back, amazing to me, into the late 19th century. The scope used was built by a A.A. Common in 1879(!) but named the Crossley reflector after the person he eventually sold it to.

NEIAC Pro-AM Collaboration Talk

Patterson's talk focussed on photometry and began with a survey of areas where photometry plays a major role: asteroids, supernovae, and variable stars. Up to about 1910--1920, the area was dominated by amateurs, the best of which were often hired by the universities. Post World War II, that changed, largely due to money as the US government poured money into all the physical sciences. Then in the 80s, things changed again with the advent of CCD cameras which had "astonishing" efficiencies of around 10% (compared to emulsions' 0.1%).

Still Wating on Mayor's Office

I contacted the Mayor's Office of Correspondence again today to get an ETA on the response to my letter of one month ago (happy anniversary?). While the front office person was again polite, even friendly, she couldn't give me an ETA saying that it was assigned to someone who was looking into why I hadn't received a response "along with some others." I think that was the wording, but if definitely implied I was not alone in waiting.


Don Parker gave a fascinating and humorous talk on planetary imaging which has got me ready to head back out with my ToUCam to try some more imaging. I'll have to work through some of his formulae to see how I ought to be setting up my camera and, given that I live under a flight path to LaGuardia, I might have to consider replacing the ToUCam with something that supports USB 2.0 so I can take images at a higher frame rate to try to beat both the seeing conditions and the lovely jet wash induced turbulence.

NEAIC Underway!

After an adventure getting out of NYC (got halfway through Manhattan and realized I had left my wallet at home, necesitating a return home to retrieve it), then finding that the first talk actually began at 9:00am, not 8:00 which was breakfast.


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