On the Election

Anyone who thinks the republicans are going to do anything to fix the economy is deluding themselves. Why should they? The president is held responsible for the state of the economy. Always has been, always will be. If the economy improves, Obama gets credit. Likely second term, likely retaking seats in Senate and House. If the economy gets worse, and the worse it gets, the better, Obama gets blamed. Likely loses second term. Likely loses more seats.

It is in the Republicans best interest to see things get a whole lot worse before they get better. They will do everything they can to make sure nothing gets done.

And seeing Orange Boehner fake-sobbing at the thought that once upon a time he actually had to…*GASP*…work! was the most pathetic thing I’ve ever seen.

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Playing with new Canon G9 and CHDK.

1 hour of stacked 64 second exposures, dark frames disabled. Last image used as dark frame.

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M33 – Triangulum Galaxy

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Egg Bacon Sausage and Spam

I was glancing over my spam folder in gmail to make sure no legit emails got caught (Which gmail seems pretty good about), and I noticed that while there is plenty of penis enlargement, there seem to be few magic breast enlarging pills.

Are women less likely to buy crap from spam? Are they just less obsessed with size in general?


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Databases are an important part of site migrations. Who knew?

I blame GoDaddy for making me ANGRY.

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Guitar Wiring WTF?

Worked on telecaster today which had a sound problem. Sound was very bassy and ‘muddy’, vs. the characteristic twang of a tele. Tone control seemed to have very little, if any, effect.

I figured it was an electronics problem, so I opened it up. This is what a tele is supposed to look like:

Volume on a guitar is controlled by shorting to ground through the volume pot. Tone is controlled by shorting the signal to ground through another pot and a filter cap, in this case .022uF. This filters out some of the high frequencies, changing the sound. Most of the time you don’t want any tone filtering, so you just leave the knob turned up.

This is what I found:

I’m not sure what they were trying to achieve here, but the effect was to completely destroy the sound of the guitar. Sound was filtered through the caps regardless of the tone knob setting. Rewired properly, and the guitar sounds like a tele should. Happy customer. Confused repair guy.

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Virgo Cluster

Fixed some problems with the mount, and as a test did a 2 hour (4×30 minute) exposure of the Virgo Cluster region. This photo contains M84, M84, and ‘The Eyes’.

Click the image to see the full resolution version. A version with features labeled is here.

Image was taken with a Williams Optics Megrez 80mm refractor and SBIG ST-8 CCD on a Losmandy G11 mount. Images stacked and processed in CCDSoft.

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Satellite in Orion

I made this awhile ago, but forgot to post it.

While I was taking photos of M42, something passed across the field. I’m pretty sure this is a geosynchronous satellite.

Each exposure is 20 seconds long, with about 10 seconds between them. The entire animation covers the span of about 2 and a half two three minutes, depending on the real timing.

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Astrophotography Setup

After posting an image, I should probably detail the new astrophoto setup at the Observatory.

The big black thing is the Losmandy G11 sitting on a metal pier. It’s a very nice, heavy duty, and expensive mount (Though not Astrophysics expensive), donated by Pat Peak. On it, the white tube is a 80mm Megrez II Semi-APO built by Williams Optics. The black thing with cooling fins on it hanging off the back is an ST-8 CCD camera, built by SBIG. It contains a primary imaging CCD, a secondary guiding CCD, and a cooling system to chill the CCDs to low temperatures, to reduce noise. It can also be water cooled to help cool it even further, if needed. Pumping water into several thousand dollars of electronics is not my idea of a good time, so I have not tried it.

This setup gives a fairly wide FOV, perfect for Andromeda and Orion.

It is controlled from the laptop on the desk, which contains almost every piece of astronomy software known to man – CCDSoft being the most used. It also has CCDOps and MaximDL, as well as FocusMax, CCDStack, CCDInspector, and lots of other stuff which I may or may not know what they do. It’s usually remote controlled from the warm room, behind the windows, where a wonderful heater keeps you from freezing to death. All hail VNC.

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M42 – The Orion Nebula

Taken with SBIG ST-8 CCD through a Williams Optics 80mm Megrez II refractor, on a Losmandy G11 mount. Ten 20 second exposures combined in CCDStack.

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