We had time to inspect the allsky camera dome for the first time since its renovation a month ago. Things are looking very good. The inside platform is completely dry, the heaters are working fine (33 ohms combined at 24vdc giving 17.5 watts of heat). The heaters are hot to the touch but being elevated makes for better heat circulation, especially since the new fan continues to work well.
In addition more cleaning of the lens to try and get a cleaner surface. The camera was also reoriented a little to try and line it up with north a little better.
We added a swatch of dark cloth to cover the camera body, so as to help reduce the reflections in the dome that we have been seeing since the renovation.
Lastly, a taller light shield was built to help block residential lighting from reflecting around the camera.
Archive for December, 2011
The laptop computer running the radiojove project failed on Friday the 16th of December.
Specifically the old 30gb IDE hard drive now makes either no noise or a whole lotta noise, either way it no longer works.
The smallest new drive for this is around $100. Even with this, the existing laptop is over 8 years old, runs slow and doesn’t have room to expand its 512mb memory. A brand new netbook with more and faster memory, more and larger and faster hard drives, etc is only about $230.
Guess which one we are going to choose? 🙂
We’ll be keeping an eye out for a boxing day sale on Monday and see what we can find.
Oh yeah.. this is also the computer that controlled the 20cm telescope as well.. so no imaging for a while!
Welcome to Dora and Payton!
They came out of the Napanee SPCA branch on Saturday.
|Dora is an 8 month old female tabby? who is full of energy and rarely slows down.|| Payton is a polydactyl 6? month old female calico mix. She is still pretty scared and sick but will get better soon!|
They are old enough that there shelter given names will probably stick, especially in this day and age of microchipping.
On the night of Monday December 12th, I was outside setting up for an imaging run of Jupiter and totally missed the Selwyn fireball event! It would have been behind me and in the trees and maybe even behind the house. In any event the imaging run of Jupiter ran from Monday /Tuesday 2011 Dec 12/13 Starting around 23:00UT and ending around 02:00UT) (that’s 6pm EST to 9pm EST).
The setup is an lx200 f-ratio=10 FL=2000mm, using the meade lpi camera (640×480 pixels).
Each of the 22 images is composed of approx 100 exposures automatically combined by the meade lpi camera software.
The images were manually cropped down to 120×120 pixels.
Jupiter itself comes out around 60 pixels across.
The images were flipped vertically (using acdsee photo manager v9 in a batch edit operation) to (hopefully) give accurate representation of actual orientation and movement through a schmidt-cass optical system and a 90degree eyepiece adapter and the camera itself.
Jupiter appears to be rotating left to right with the dark storm spots on the upper side.
Checking with the stellarium software, this appears correct.
Imagemagick convert (linux software) was used to combine the 22 images into one animated .gif
More lessons learned:
During the end of the run, the scope was pointed much higher in altitude and there was fog and frost on the corrector plate… still need more power! on the heating system, even with a dew shield.
The corrector plate heater is rated at 12 watts (@12vdc=1 amp). The telrad heater pad is 6 watts, both running at a 90% duty cycle. This totals 18 watts give or take (or 1.5amps) when the 110vac-12vdc power supply is only good for 1 amp!
I varied the exposure time around the base of 0.044 seconds by +- 0.015 seconds, just to see if features would come out better or worse. In an animated image, this is a bad thing as the exposure variances really pop out.
Note the change in angle of the plane of jupiter during the course of the 3-4 hours or so of the run. Finding software to correct for small degree amounts may be difficult, especially without a time reference.
More pixels would be nice for more detail. I tried the barlow previously and you do lose a stop in light but you also lose sharpness, contrast as well. On the plus side you do get a bigger image on the ccd chip, more pixels.
Will try that again for another nights run… when it gets clear!
We were contacted by local media this afternoon about a possible fireball Monday evening. But with no information about time, location, etc it could have been any of a dozen or more events appearing on the allsky camera last night. Most are airplanes and helicopters. Some are car headlight reflections.
However this turned out to be a true fireball:
The event is low in the west south west, just over the house.
We went back to take a look at the captured imagery after an email from Peter Brown of the South Western Meteor Network, stating they had picked up an event at 23:04:42 UT (18:04 EST). We checked and found the event low in the west south west just over top of the house. This was a 90 second exposure ending at 18:05:10 EST.
Our long exposures are due to the limited and old equipment we have, but we are looking at upgrades to provide a multiframe per second with GPS timing information to boot.
More information is available from
The white light image on the left is the way our netbook used to look like outside when we were running the imaging telescope at night.
The light on the horizon to the right is the light pollution from Kingston.
Even with its brightness turned down!
We finally mounted some red lithograph film on it with velcro and our nightvision has been saved.
Eventually, once we get the pointing accuracy down pat, we will not need to be outside manually pointing the scope
while checking the imaging readout to see it is centred.
The netbook is running off wifi, batteries and is sitting atop a portable outdoor table (like a tv table) along with a shield made from aircore to keep the dew off the computer.
The red light off to the left is the meade hand controller sitting with the telescope.
As seen in this image, we’ve had water seep in and discolour the wood platform, the two resistive heaters were actually touching the wood surface and burning it, the 12vdc circulation fan had stopped working, the dome was getting foggy in places, and there were a bunch of hornet, bees and flies inside the dome that we could not get out.
So today we took it down and
*replaced the dome,
*replaced the platform and made many modifications.
* To counteract the water seepage we put the platform up inside the dome.
* The hole for the camera lens was enlarged to have the entire camera come up inside the dome. This would reduce the amount of air inside that needed to be heated, and reduce the surface area of the dome that as looked through and kept clean.
* The 12vdc fan was replaced with a larger one, this time mounted inside the dome instead of underneath. Underneath it lost much of its airflow and little if any circulation in the dome. Now, inside the dome, will give a good circulation to keep the condensation down.
* The two resistive heaters (24vdc) were mounted off the surface of the wood 180 degrees apart, instead of being close together on one side before.
* The dome used to be sealed with silicon to the platform and there was no easy access inside.
Now the dome is removable as is the platform.
The two platform vents are covered with mesh to stop bugs from getting in .
The net benefits from all of this work: fewer bugs inside the dome, less condensation and fog inside the dome, faster melting of ice and snow on the dome, better cooling efficiencies of the peltier cooled ccd camera, easier maintenance in the future.
And the final assembly for now with some more minor revisions in the near future, including the replacement of the blocking band around the bottom of the dome to block out local low elevation light sources, rainx on the dome surface.
It’s been a few years since we were last at the Waupoos winery down in Prince Edward County. We had been visiting every year, sometimes twice, since 2001. But times change, grapes change, and 40 other wineries opened up in the county. There is just not enough time (or money) to visit them all.
So we dropped in on a rainy Sunday and discovered the renovated main building now included a chocolate store that looked really really good. But we were here for wine. After tasting 6 or 7 types, we ended up picking up quite a few bottles of reds and whites, some actually to give away as holiday gifts.
They were open on Sunday afternoon, which was very nice!
We noticed last night that the allsky camera dome was fuzzy and foggy. Going outside we found the inside of the dome condensing and freezing in places. The 24vdc heaters were working but the 12vdc circulation fan had failed.
This will push up the redesign of the dome system to this weekend I think. Adding two circulation fans and mounting the heaters up off the wood and bringing the camera body up higher into the dome as on the list of modifications.