Inspirational Wonders of the Cosmos

Space Weather

For some time now I have thought about adding a section to this site that deals with real time space weather data. Last night I decided to finally sit down and code it out. The main menu at the top of the page now contains an item named SPACE WEATHER which brings you to a page with charts and images showing near real-time data from many satellites and ground based stations. The page updates every minute and when it does all the images are regenerated from the server.

New gear and a whole new set of techniques to master

After having replaced the coated shutter blades with new stainless steel blades in my SXVR-H18, it seems that dust on the sensor is a thing of the past.  I decided to try my luck and attempt to image the Whirlpool galaxy last night.  Since the last time I was out imaging, I’ve upgraded several pieces of hardware on my mount and with all this great weather I am finally having a chance to get out and figure out how it all works.  (more…)

A Journey Through the Constellations

With spring finally here and the snow receding, I thought I’d take a nice leisurely stroll on my bicycle down to Manotick yesterday. A friend of mine had been asking me to take her out cycling for quite some time so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to combine the two activities. As we made our way across rolling terrain, the blacktop guided us through quiet farmland and across quite a few streams now only half frozen. The sound of many birds brought music to our ears and the sun warmed our faces. (more…)

Inspirational Wonders of the Cosmos gets a “code” lift!

For the last several weeks I have been writing and testing code in order to facilitate a new way of managing all the content on this website. After initially writing the code for this website just over a year ago, I quickly realized that the task of having to modify code every time I added content was going to grow exponentially in its complexity. I decided about 6 months ago to make the change, but it took a while before I had the chance to sit down and learn other programming languages necessary to implement it all. I am happy to announce that the change has been made! (more…)

GS skis and powder – a skier’s approach to observing binary stars!

I just got back from an evening of skiing at Edelweiss Valley.  It’s not the largest ski hill by any means, but it has enough of a drop to pick up a bit of speed.  Once I got to the hill it looked like perfect conditions for grand slalom skis so off I went up the chairlift with my new set of GS skis.  At the top, I poked fun at Jamie, egging him on to keep up with me now that I had new skis.  He is a far better skier than I am so I usually push it to keep up with him.  With a designed turning radius of 27 20130322-004450.jpgmeters, these new GS skis do two things very well.  They point down hill, and they GO.  It wasn’t long before I had put some distance on Jamie, but I remember feeling like I was riding the ski…  not usually a good thing.  It felt too soft and too fast.  It wasn’t too much longer down the hill when my left ski caught an edge and directed it pretty fast right into my right ski with a hard thump.  Down I went at 65 km/h.  Funny how you always remember the sky/ground/sky/ground/sky visuals and the groans you get from the chairlift above as gravity wins and you wipe out in what can only be described as a complete yard sale.  There I lay, looking straight up into the darkness of space with one ski still attached and a sharp pain in my left knee. I chuckled to myself as I thought, “nice… double stars…  everywhere up there tonight.”  Then I got up on my feet and skied to the chairlift, already pumped for the next run.  Though as I write, the pain shoots up my left leg in a way that has me thinking tomorrow will be slow walking day.