Archive for December, 2010
We are firming up our plans for the total lunar eclipse monday
Kim & I plan to get up around 02:00 tuesday morning Dec 21st.
Totality is supposed to start about 02:41 EST hmm. these is conflicting data from wikipedia .. ok skip that.
Turning to the RASC Observers handbook… hmmm have to find the book first.. then have to find the page…
you know, it would be a *good thing* to have the book available online in electronic format… I’ve just spent 10 minutes looking for my paper copy .. would have been mere seconds in the members only section… if it existed.
U2 (total eclipse start) is 07:40:47 UT or 02:40:47 EST
U3 (total eclipse ends) is 08:53:08 UT or 03:53 EST
or 73 minutes of totality.
Our plans are for the allsky camera to be working that evening and image the entire night as normal.
See an animated image of the *last* total lunar eclipse we saw in February 2008 http://starlightcascade.ca/concam/special/lunar20080220.gif
We also plan to get a video camera up and running on a tracking schmidt cass telescope and try to keep it in the field of view. The last eclipse we ran into issues with too high a power, the inability to track on the moon, etc.
We also plan to take digital camera images over the course of the
morning as well. Unfortunately it is a work day, so part of the plan is to get to sleep early monday evening to try and keep us from getting fired on Tuesday for sleeping on the job 🙂
What are *you* planning for observing???
The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.
If you’re planning to dash out for only one quick look - it is December, after all - choose this moment: 03:17 am EST (17 minutes past midnight PST). That’s when the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red.
This webcam is our latest (2010 Dec 10) acquisition and is nice in its combined audio and video in one usb package.
The resolution comes up as 1280×720 and looks quite nice. There is a problem however. Whenever this camera is plugged in, no other usb device works, ie usb flash drives, canon powershot A540, etc.
Big drawback. Imagine using video skype and then plugging in a usb flash drive to bring up some files… whoops! no you can’t!
Updated: this was only true on a specific computer. When moved to another it no longer seems to mess up.
The National Farmers Union Local 316 held their annual general meeting Thursday evening in Sydenham. Not being full fledged farmers, we hold associate member status. It helps us keep in touch with local sustainability news.
The Lennox & Addington Horticultural Society held their annual pot luck dinner for December and a good time was had by all. Especially for all of those who snagged door prizes. The weather was not bad this year… I think it was 2009 that it had to be cancelled due to winter storm type weather.
The RASC-KC roboscope project has been in the works for a few years and has run into technical stumbling blocks too numerous to list.
So we have dismantled the telescope, camera and accessories and sent them off to Winchester to try again. We hope to actually have this roboscope up and running for the RASC-KC centre’s 50th anniversary in 2011.
The robodome (the white object on the left) will remain until the spring thaw at which point it will be dismantled and transported to Winchester as well.
Our entries in the Shoot the Stars Contest were all taken with a consumer Canon Powershot A540 sitting on a tripod just outside Yarker Ontario. It was using the modified CHDK software to lengthen the normal maximum exposure of 15 seconds up to 64 seconds.
Full Moon Rising —->
The canon camera could not do deep/dark sky imagery very well at all. It still turns out to be quite noisy. So instead of trying to force the camera into doing images that it was poor at, we went with the brighter composition of the full moon rising beside an illuminated maple tree just after sunset.
<---- Milky Way over Yarker
Again we composed this to add some nice ground based leafless trees
bracketing the milky way. There were 5 shots taken and this was the only one without airplane trails. The 64 second exposure, even with a relatively wide angle lens, does cause star trails, especially this close to the ecliptic.
Sagittarius over Yarker —->
This was the lightest deep sky image we could attempt of Sagittarius almost due south but with a lot of sky glow from the rising moon.
Again ground horizon is in the shot, giving a reference point and some unintended street light lighting in the right corner.
The results of the photo contest are in:
And the winners are…
First Place: Dave Deacon, Cloyne won $250 for his photo “The Way'”.
Second Place: Jay Dearborn, Yarker, won $125 for “Polaris over Yarker
Third Place: Troy Johnson, Odessa, won $75 for “Star House”.
Honourable Mention: Jefta Monster, Napanee, for “Funnel of Stars”
Honourable Mention: Dave Haratchka, Napanee, for “Night Falls”
Honourable Mention: Malcolm Park, Whitby, for “Orion”.
The panel of judges included: Henry Hogg, Warden of Lennox & Addington County, Terrence Dickinson, renowned astronomer and science writer, and Cathy Vanner, President, Napanee Photo Club.
Winning photos and all contest submissions are on display at the Lennox and Addington County Museum & Archives during the month of December. All photos can also be seen by visiting
They hope to run the contest again next year.