Thursday August 23, 2012 Napanee Community Food Bank Garden Update
It’s been dry again and the garden soil grounds are cracked again. Watering what is left of our rows took some time with the little watering jugs. We will have to remember to bring some larger buckets along sometime.
Rows 1-6 have gone back to field. Rows 7&8 have a few beets.
The tomatos are coming along strong and the potatos are starting to die back.
Archive for August, 2012
Thursday August 23, 2012 Napanee Community Food Bank Garden Update
We are building a new roll off building observatory for a large telescope.
The concept was that this would be a quick and dirty, smallest footprint possible and low cost operation.
We`ve had experience in building many others but this would be the first roll off building.
The design started out as a 4`x8` footprint building on wheels running on rails on deckblocks. One entire end would be a double door and the roof would be fixed.
After more design reviews including scaling down the sidewalls from 2×4 studs to 2×3 studs, we thought the margin of clearance for the scope (48″-6″=42″ and the scope was 36+6-1=41″) was less than 1 inch. Too close for comfort. So the footprint was expanded to 5×8 feet.
There is no real soil in the area.. limestone rock covered by a couple of inches of peat moss. Concrete pads are out of the question as this is a temporary installation.
The height of the building needs to be 5 feet taller than the top of the pier.
Project steps in approximate order needed to complete by end of August 2012
1. measure out rails,blocks. outside wheel to outside wheel: 48″-1.5″-1.5″-1″-1″= 43″ should place the wheels on the centre of the rail. Rev2: 60″ outside move 12″ in on each side to balance = 60-12-12=36″ hmm this is worse than before for stable stance. Try 10″ in from the outsides: 60+-20=40 inches . No. Try 6″ in from outside = 60-12=48″ better.
2. lay down gravel and then deck blocks. Revision2 dig down hole as platform floor is now 2+4+5.5+7+1.5+5.5+.75 = 26.25 inches (gravel+deckblock+rail+ wheel+wheelsupport+ platform frame+platform floor) is too high above grade. So that would now be -4 added to the above giving the platform floor 22.25`above grade. Still high and may require a step to get inside the observatory when it is rolled open.
The concept being to unlock building, open doors, roll building off, lock down building, lower trap doors, go inside building, turn on power, start up computer and telescope and work inside the building.
3. place deck blocks
4. place 2x6x8 rails and level deck blocks, measure for parallel
5. attach rails with plates
6. build 4×8 platform frame. Revision2 is now 5`x8`
7. add 3/4 plywood to platform frame. Revision2 – cut plywood to fit
8. cut out gap area for pier
9. mount four wheel supports 2×6 rev2 flat, more support
10. mount four 6 inch wheels with bolts from top, nuts at bottom.
11. Add rail end blocks to stop building from rolling off track.
12. Mount platform and test rolling. Cover with tarp when not in use.
add C channel for wheels to run in or add 1×4 edges along rail to keep on track
13. build side walls using 2×3. double up ends and maybe L mount them. Long walls are a full 8′
14. Build end wall shorter than 4′. It fits inside. Build and mount frame first then add plywood after installed. rev2=5`
15. Build dual door flap cover for floor opening to allow rolling. Rev2 now has 6 inch end walls on the southern doors allowing for full 48 inch doors (2x24in) but with better support and stability.
16. build trap door cover for 15″x18″ opening where pier is when building is opened
17. Roof – metal 4’x8′ with overlap, slightly elevated at one end for drainage. elevated parts to be tricky. Rev2 now 5feetx8feet
18. Doors two 2′ at front, open all the way, hinges on outside. cover gaps with wood and weather stripping. add secure lock
19 misc. check for screened venting to aid cooling
20. Paint outside walls white.
22. add power cable
23. add cable conduit at pier
24. add computer, folddown table, mount lcd display on wall.
25. test operation.
26. oh yes.. install telescope!
The RASC Observers Calendar has notable events listed in its pages. Not accessible at all unless you purchase the calendar but perhaps one year, it will be.
For Tuesday August 21st, 2012 it showed a Crescent Moon 2 deg south of Spica with Mars and Saturn above, in the evening twilight.
Here is our best image of that stellar planetary conjunction,
a 2 second exposure f5.5 with a Canon Powershot A540 on a tripod from our driveway.
We visited the Sheffield Lake Conservation area on Sunday (2012 August 19) to do some canoeing and to see the Lennox and Addington Dark Sky Viewing Area 30 minutes north of Napanee on Highway #41.
The rocks at the front look like a method to prevent people from driving up onto the pad. They will not stop headlights from shining right in your eyes however. The raven on the pad indicates North.
See our previous visit on 2012 March 12th to the site before the renovation work.
So, 30 minutes north of Napanee, maybe 10 minutes north of Erinsville and a good 50 minutes from our home near Yarker.
As Kim noted earlier, we will be returning to try the site out on a clear night.
This summer (2012) seems to have zipped right by, with hardly a time to breath. Yet, there never seems to be enough time to just sit and reflect.
We had a great weekend. On Friday night , went to Elbow Lake and had an Astronomy retreat. Saturday, getting ones hair done, lifts the spirits, and hides those grey hairs : ) Upon coming home the new to us, used by others tent trailer named “Sunny” was in the driveway. We gave it a go over with some small repairs that need to be done, and gave it a good cleaning. Washed the curtains, painted some spots on the stove, and she looks good and ready to go camping. We still have a list of things to do and get, but she is good to go.On Sunday we took the Guppy and went canoeing up to the Sheffield Conservation area, for about an hour. The clouds starting to come in and the wind picked up so we headed in. Stopped up at the top of the hill to the Dark Sky viewing area, that Terrence Dickinson is behind and promoting. You can go to their website at darkskyviewing.com. We are hoping to go up and observe at this site when on holidays next week.
Home we came to relax, and have dinner, a stirfry, and watch the Saskatchewan Roughriders and BC Lions game. Saskatchewan needs to go back to the drawing board, they are falling apart from first place to tied with fourth?????
In July 2012 we were in the neighbourhood of Point Petre, the sourthernmost portion of Prince Edward County, near Sandbanks Provincial Park.
At one time we were considering using it as an observing site for the 2012 June 05 Transit of Venus event, but eventually settled for something closer to Kingston Ontario. It turns out that was a good decision.
The entire area was closed off and off limits as it was a Canadian Forces facility, with fences and warning signs everywhere.
As it turned out, we would not have been able to follow Venus down to the horizon at all.
The pyramid? Cool! One of the sand sculptures on the Sandbanks Beach.
The Lennox and Addington Horticultural Society went on a members garden tour on Wednesday July 18th, 2012.
We were out in the evening of Saturday August 11th, 2012 but only got in about 90 minutes of viewing from 21:30 to 23:00 before the clouds rolled in. Kim picked up quite a few observations.
“In an hour we were averaging around 20 Perseids. Many were fast, but quite a few were med slow, bright, with 25 degree trains.
One in particular was a -5 white-yellow, and a 30 degree tail.
Many satellites were seen, some iridiums, some flashers and the ISS was passing over around 10:21 pm for a very long pass. -1-1 started at 22:19 and lasted until 22:25 pm”.
We packed it in and left the rest of the night to the allsky cameras. At 02:00 local both cameras picked up the most spectacular meteor:
|Allsk1 camera, 90 second exposure ending 02:02:10 EDT||Allsky2 camera combined exposures ending at 06:00:42UT = 02:00:42 EDT.|
To Top it off is the spectacular part… the video:
ev_20120812_060042A_10A (2mb .AVI)
Updated Thursday August 9th: Well, that did and did not work. Most of the noise went away but enough stayed to make it tough to analyze. Not only that, the noise moved around!
Now we try -noise 3
As of this morning (Friday August 10th, 2012) the convert -noise 3 function did its job and produced a much cleaner image.
|2012 August 9th|
convert -noise 2
|2012 August 10th|
convert -noise 3
In addition we moved from using the lossly .JPG format to the lossless .PNG format.
Looks like the lat time I wrote about the Napanee Community Food Bank Garden was back about the July 19th, 2012 visit. We skipped the next week as it was raining that day and the garden becomes inpenetrable during rain… multiple kilos of clay soil sticks to your boots.
We were there on August 2nd and watered and weeded. Things are still looking good.
We skipped August 9th as it was raining again.
This week others:
Other completed the following during the
week of August 6
“We ripped the lettuce out yesterday. I took in 1 1/2 bushels of beans, 1 bushel of tomatoes, 10lbs of onions, 1/4 bushel of beets and a few peppers today.”
week of August 2
“On Thurs morning we harvested 3/4 bu.tomatoes, 1/2 bu.beets,1/4 bu green peppers, and 10lb.onions, and took all in to the food bank. “
For some years now, we’ve used the ImageMagick package on a linux server to process our allsky1 camera images, in particular to remove noise. For some reason, that function has stopped working in the last few weeks.
|Before example||After example|
The actual function is called from a bash script and looks like this:
convert -noise 1 1-$i.jpg 2-$i.jpg
We see from the operating system log:
grep -i image yum.log
Jun 23 03:36:25 Updated: ImageMagick.i686 188.8.131.52-5.fc16
Jun 23 03:36:35 Updated: ImageMagick-c++.i686 184.108.40.206-5.fc16
Jun 23 03:36:36 Updated: ImageMagick-perl.i686 220.127.116.11-5.fc16
That the package was recently upgraded… right about the time things broke.
After much research through the http://www.imagemagick.org/ website, I’ve decided to implement the change from generating .JPG from the .FITS to .PNG
.PNGs are lossless unlike .JPGs
Add or reduce noise in an image.
The principal function of noise peak elimination filter is to smooth the objects within an image without losing edge information and without creating undesired structures. The central idea of the algorithm is to replace a pixel with its next neighbor in value within a pixel window, if this pixel has been found to be noise. A pixel is defined as noise if and only if this pixel is a maximum or minimum within the pixel window.
Use -noise radius to specify the width of the neighborhood when reducing noise. This is equivalent to using a -statistic NonPeak operation, which should be used in preference.
The scripts have been altered.. no we wait until tomorrow morning (2012 August 09) to see the results 🙂
Updated Thursday August 9th: Well, that did and did not work. Most of the noise went away but enough stayed to make it tough to analyze. Nopt only that, the noise moved around!
Now we try -noise 3
It has been a hot summer, often not cooling down at night at all, for many weeks now (July, August 2012). We’ve noticed that the peltier cooled CCD camera inside Allsky1 has rarely been getting down below 0deg C and as a result, is showing a lot more noise and less contrast than normal in its 90second images at night.
The image on the left is the existing vent with mesh inside (to stop the &#^$ wasps). The image on the right is the new 4″ vent (also with mesh), in the hopes of getting better airflow through the system and getting rid of more heat.
Offhand it looks like it worked. The last image of the nights run shows -8degC. Then again it did dip down to 13 degC last night.
It also look like it could use another coat of white paint on the wood housing. It helps keep the daytime heating down a bit.
The internal mask slipped a bit and the noise has returned.
This is the midnight image:
We’ve been running linux fedora 15 on our house server for some time… too long apparently as support for it and the updates that go along with it stopped on 2012 June 30th.
One of the issues why we did not update sooner to Fedora 16 or now 17, is that it is an old system, that when first installed put in a /boot partition of only 100mb. At the time (10 years back) it was plenty of space. Modern installations now use 500mb.
It took a few hours to work around that problem.
Basically it involved using Gparted to copy the 100mb boot partition to the end of the used space on the drive, expand it to 1000mb, reboot and have the entire system fail to start.
Another hour with live disks to try to fix Grub also failed.
Finally what worked was booting into the Fedora 16 DVD (after replacing the older DVD-ROM that would not boot the disk) and allowing it to reinstall the boot sectors and grub2 while doing the general upgrade.
An hour later the system restarted into Fedora 16. Another hour for the 900Mb of updates and it was back up and running. Several services were not running (httpd, named, dhcpd, etc) and it took some more time to fix those and get them to autostart as well.
I even tried to upgrade again to Fedora 17 but it ran into some python problems in the initial sections of startup into the upgrade.
I downloaded a newer version of it in the hopes that this problem has been solved, burned the .ISO to a DVD but have not yet had time to test it.
Another couple of hours was spent trying to expand the LVM partitions volumes and groups when the initial error was “not enough extents”
In the end, I created a new primary partition in the free space at the end of the drive, gave it type 8E (LVM), then used various lvm commands to create a space, attach to the group and presto chango, the root directory went from 18gb to 70gb.
A reboot to confirm it works and the system was back up and running normally.
Later this week we’ll try the Fedora 17 upgrade 🙂
Every morning over coffee we sit down and scan through the imagery from the two allsky cameras from overnight. This morning (2012 August 02) we got some really great surprises.
Here are the still composite images with the .AVI links below them.
|ev_20120802_032526A_10A (3mb)||ev_20120802_032618C_10A (2mb)|
We took some time appreciating what we thought were very interesting contrails or cloud formations.. but something was funny about them.
Luckily the newer Allsky2 camera takes multiple frames per second and combines them into a video.
The truth quickly and scarily! came out.
Ain’t wildlife wonnuerful???