For those astronomers and others who do not get up before sunrise, just take a look at one of the spectacular views you are missing!
This was taken on the road, from inside the moving vehicle, Monday Morning. Wow. The digital image does not even come close to the reality of the dynamic range and colour saturation that the human eye does. Suffice it to say, it was even better live in person.
Archive for September, 2016
#2 was as a display controller for a kiosk. This is were the Pi would start up from power on, come up, do all network stuff it needed, fire up a web browser full screen and go to a site you wanted to display. For astronomy purposes, mostly useful at outreach events. It takes only 2 watts of power so this could be run in the field standalone, from batteries. The display would take much more power.
#3 was the surveillance camera system, destined to be inside an observatory, outside an observatory and maybe even a wide angle northern aurora camera, or a wide angle weather camera. I used a regular $30 webcam and got very good results of: live streaming on demand (I had it set up in my office while off at a press conference, watching it on my smartphone browser), detecting motion and saving video of that motion plus before and after segments as well; regular interval single frame image.
Awesome. And I think I just saw a reference that you could have more than one webcam on this system as well, saving the approx $50 of another Pi.
The “motion” package also has ftp options for those interested.
Currently a Pi2B sells for $55 in Kingston at Qkits. Accessories not provided.. you will need a 5VDC power supply (about $15-20), a case (about $15-20), an 8GB microsd card (about $15-20). best to try and find a kit
A Pi B (not the same as above) kit with power supply, 4GB SD card and case sells for $70
Next Project: The Tinyastro that Malcolm demo’d a few months back.
A couple of weeks later and things do not look nearly so bad. I’m talking about how the Saskatchewan Roughriders at 1 win 10 losses, last in the league then and now at 3 and 10, still in last place but very close to the Montreal Alouettes at 3 and 9.
Not that it help that much… we still have to pull ahead of the Edmonton Eskimos at 6 and 7 and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at 8 and 5 to get into the playoffs, barring some bizarre crossover.
I think most fans would accept another win to put us ahead of last years final tally.
That and stop swapping in and out so many players. Those of us attempting to keep track are sooo lost.
Woke up Sunday morning to twitter and web reports of a loud noise Saturday evening, 2016 Sept 24th around 20:50 edt.
Local television also covered the story: http://www.ckwstv.com/2016/09/25/128535/
Both cameras image throughout the night, and after daybreak, process, annotate and store the data locally, then upload to this server. The local data was fine but there was a data upload glitch that was finally resolved only this morning (Mon Sept 26). In the meantime I manually uploaded the Sat/Sun run and then took a look through them.
Unfortunately, there was no evidence from either camera for a bright meteor event.
Allsky1 takes images throughout the night, each exposure is 80 seconds, followed by a 10 second dead time for the image to download from the camera to the computer. So in theory, this camera could miss events. It has been running here for 10 years and the camera is even older than that, donated to us from the folks that run the Astronomy Picture of the Day.
Allsky2 is provided by the University of Western Ontario Meteor Physics group and is more modern. It images continuously from dusk to dawn at up to 30 frames per second, and then processed by software looking for fireballs specifically. However, since it is looking for a specific behaviour, it identifies and then discards things like satellite, airplanes, helicopters and more. Because of this, there is a small chance it too may miss an event.
We looked through imagery in and around Sept 24 at 20:50 EDT (Sept 25 00:50 UT) for 30 minutes either side of that time and found nothing.
This is the image that should have had the event at 20:50 ish:
With Allsky2 there was a small event at 00:38 UT (20:38 EDT) and another at 01:05 UT (21:05 EDT). Coincidentally there was a larger meteor caught at 01:50:15 UT (21:50:15 EDT), almost exactly an hour later than the reported time. So we carefully checked our Eastern Daylight Time to Universal Time conversions, doubled check the time stamps on the images and the system times on the computers and came to the conclusion that the 01:50 UT event was just a coincidence… the time was correct.
This is the nightly summary of events detected by allsky2. North is up, west to the right. The brightest meteor in the west was the 21:50 EDT event, the slightly dimmer one in the center top was 05:43 UT or 01:43 EDT Sept 25th.
We also reference the American Meteor Society for visual sighting reports. Checking the events section there is only one listing for the Ontario region, at 01:49UT (21:50 EDT)
Event 3582-2016 30 2016-09-25 01:49 UT 2016-09-24 21:49 EDT CA US MI, NY, Ontario, MA, OH, Québec
There is another listed in the pending section for the correct time but sound was not heard.
3582ag 2016-09-25 00:50 UT 2016-09-24 20:50 EDT CA Athens Ontario ≈3.5s -13 – – – Correia A 4
So we can be pretty sure there was no visual eye witness observations of a meteor at that time
The last step we are following up on, is to pull the raw footage from around the estimated event time and inspect it manually.
** Updated Sept 27th. We reviewed 15 minute either side of the 20:50 EDT event of the raw video and did not see anything that could account for the event.
The Lennox & Addington Horticultural Society (aka the Napanee Garden Club) met last night (Wednesday 2016 September 21).
There was a good turnout of 19 people for the first regular meeting since early summer.
The meeting started at 19:00 with the business of the night, agenda, minutes from May and announcements.
That followed by a roundtable of short verbal presentations from all those present on the summer garden events and notes.
The meeting adjourned around 20:45 with a round of refreshments provided by Prez Tom Bridge.
Much more time has gone into the Torus telescope project this summer.
The latest results from last night show a good night coarse collimation. The plan was daytime coarse, nighttime coarse, nighttime fine collimation runs.
Daytime coarse collimation was done attempted many times until we thought it was a good as it was going to get.
The next step was a night time star collimation.
The scope was pointed up on its end (to eliminate the push bolts from the equation), at Altair, defoccused to fill 1/2 the field of view and imaged with the ASI120MC camera with 0.5x focal reducer.
The Vtruss hangers were loosened, the push bolts loosened and this first image was taken, as a starting point.
The end goal is to get the dark centre centered and symmetrical. Here you can see it over near the 9 oclock position.
Very tiny (1/6 turn) adjustments were made on one pull bolt at a time and recorded and imaged. In the end, as good as I could tell visually, the end result was one pull bolt 2/6 turn counter and another pull bolt 3/6 turn clockwise from the daytime coarse collimation (I recorded the session in audio and have to transcribe the notes to be sure those are the final adjustments).
Where it looked pretty much centred by eye. But possibly still not good enough.
After that, the push bolts were moved into contact and then tightened 1/4 turn each in turn. The image did wander a bit and lost some of its centering. Then the Vtruss bolts were tightened hard. The image did wander again but came back to its starting point when done.
The next attempt we will overlay a transparency target and try to actually measure as we go. Looking at this some more, it now appears to me to be a little to the 7:30 oclock position.
The air currents were tremendous, and it appears to have some dust in the optical system, most likely the camera. It will be cleaned later today.
The scope was outside before sunset and given 40 minutes to cool down. There was some dew as well and I wonder about heating the secondary mirror… it looked a little foggy at times. Even this little amount of tweaking to the collimation broke the pointing again and that will have to be redone in the end.
Another dead mouse to add to the tally. We now have 4 traps on the pier.. a little hazardous to the astronomer as well!
Lastly, I shot an imaging run of Mars… at 2 or 3 ms per image! but at an equivalent of f5, Mars was little more than a bright red star with no surface features.
The nights are good.. warm low temps means the telescope does not have as far to cool to ambient. No mosquitos for the first time in months is also very good. However the moths are out in force, flying towards all of the lights inside the observatory 🙁
Yay! Success! After a year.. or two.. the time and pi and motivation all came together in the space of under an hour last night.
Since 2002 we have had a weather station of some type (first a Radio Shack model, then an Oregon Scientific, and most recently a David Vantage Vue), data logging to a computer and sending it to The Weather Underground data repository. We have gone through many computers in that time and each one of them took anywhere from 60-100Watts of power, 24/365… a sizeable amount in this day and age of high energy costs. At 100 watts * 24 hours = 2.4kwh * $0.223/kwd= 53 cents/day = about $200/year.
Last week the latest hand-me-down computer died… arcs and melted power connections on the motherboard, not worth fixing or even replacing.
Last night I dug out the first Raspberry Pi Model B+ out of its box, hooked it into a display and keyboard, and installed the weewx package.
Another 30 minutes of tinkering with the configuration and then moving it into the same room as the weather station console, and connecting it,
and Presto! We were online again.
www.weewx.com supports many weather stations, supports uploads to major
websites, and also allows FTP upload to your own site (still working on that one).
(that is now working as well… look here for the page the weewx generates)
The best part is that it takes on the order of 2 Watts of power, not 40-100 (depending on what the computer was doing… updates, virus scans, etc).
Some of the software installation required a lot of manual installs of various python libraries, and that is what took most of the time to setup.
Now that we have proof positive that these little beggars can work, it is time to look forward to the next project… either the tinyastro one
or a simpler observatory surveillance camera system (or.. how do those mice get up there on top of the scope?)
Raspberry Pi B has 512MB RAM@400MHz, 2GB microSD card running raspbian, 2 USB
ports, 100Mbps ethernet. From 2014 August! Broadcom BCM2835 chip, ARMv6 single core CPU, 700MHz processor speed, 3 watt power max draw,
Always a little more expensive in Canada, I got this from amazon.ca from
canakits. Close to $90 at the time.
QKits in Kingston has them in single or kit form, for less (Raspberry Pi 2 Model B $55).
Looking at our summer rates of electricity her in Ontario Canada provided by the Hydro One Network (as it is a big political issue of late):
cents/kwh Low 8.7 Mid 13.2 and high 18.0
Add in the “Cost of transport and admin overhead” and those costs double. cents/kwh Low 17.4 Mid 26.4 and high 36.0
Assuming a 1kwh load 24/7 we get an average cost of electricity of 22.3 cents/kwh.
One day would be 22.3*24=535 or $5.35 over a 30 day month would be $160
We are actually averaging about 39kwh/day right now so that would be 39/24= 1.625 kwh each day on average.
$5.35*1.625= $8.69 /day
and over a 30 day month would be $260, which comes close to our average monthly billing.
If you are like us, you have already done every measure to conserve that you can, 10 years ago. And the literature keeps saying “replace your incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED”. We did that!
Of note, only 4 years ago in 2012
Low was 6.2 Mid was 9.2 and high was 10.8
and 2016 is
Low 8.7 Mid 13.2 and high 18.0
To determine the costs of transport and admin overhead, a bill breakdown from 2012 was:
other charges and taxes $44
to recap electricity was $102
other charges $125
so the given rates were only 44% of the total, where I estimated 50%.. so the number above should be viewed even worse.
The worst of the heat and drought have almost given rise to cooler wetter conditions, but not quite yet.
This is raised bed #1, containing heirloom tomatos. They are still mostly small and behind with many of the blossoms some weeks ago dying off.
Raised Bed #4, having had garlic in the fall winter and spring, was harvested in July and then allowed us to transplant heirloom tomatos from pots, into the ground. They are a good 2-3 weeks behind the rest of the tomatos but otherwise as doing ok.
Raised Bed #5 is mostly potatos. Only a few varieties have died off with the others still bushy and hopefully growing large potatos. There are a few scattered tomato plants here and there that are also doing ok.
Raised Bed #8 did hold the garlic bulbil project over the fall, winter and spring, and were also harvested in July. Now there are late growth lettuce, radishes and a couple of strawberry plants transplanted in.