Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summer 2013 comes and goes....

Wow, this summer has had really great weather for a change!  We set a record for the most warm nights in August ever I think.  Astronomy has been kind of weak though.  Yeah, I do have a new 60Da camera and almost got the dome working well, but the skies have just not been super great again.  Either the hazy stuff moved in after dark, a full moon, or just plane gunky.
A very raw single image NGC891
I've been out of work since mid-April, so spending has been reduced to just a very tiny trickle of necessary things.  So $80+ set of new drive wheels for the observatory have been put on hold until finances start flowing the right way again.
I have been out a few nights at least, mostly collecting photon data that I still have to process.  This is a single raw image of NGC891 that is just extremely roughly processed.  It was about 6 minutes at ISO 1000 with the 60Da.  Stars look very round, so my autoguiding seems to be doing well!
I do have a handful of other images of this that I still need to stack and process, but waiting for a rainy day - which I think starts this week.
When the moon comes out, you can get a pretty nice shot of it before it goes full and just blows away the whole sky.  Either play with it, or close the dome and do other things.  This is a nice 1st quarter I took last week.  Canon 60Da, at f/10 on the 12" Meade.  It's three images attached together.  It does come out pretty, and the sunrise along the terminator down the middle is the best part where you get a nice 3d effect from the long shadows from the lunar mountains and crater rims.
Just a few more things and it will fly
So what else have I done this summer?  I've spent pretty much every weekday morning hunting for jobs and spraying my resume around.  I've started a very major project that I never thought I would ever dream of doing - building an airplane!  My girlfriend is a pilot and former aircraft owner (she has owned a few in the past and is currently between airplanes).  She didn't have to twist my arm when she said she has always wanted to build a Van's RV-7A aircraft.  So I've been teaching myself metalwork and the art of riveting this summer.  It is nice and cool in the basement also on the very hot afternoons.  It's been pretty much my  full-time job over the summer during the day.
Horizontal Stabilizer done
I'm still waiting for a job interviewer to ask me "what have you done during your period of unemployment?" I'd reply and say, "Uh...I've been building a high performance aerobatic airplane in my basement for my girlfriend."  I can't wait to hear the silence and blank stares from that comment!
More on that project later.

It will look something like this in 2 years