Sunday, October 19, 2008

Scanner Camera color

If you could synchronize a tri-color set of filters with the RGB set of LEDs in the Canon Canoscan scanner, you could produce color images with a single scan of the diy scanner cameras out there.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

National Geographic on Light Pollution

The End of Night: Why we need Darkness

National Geographic Magazine brings the issue of light pollution (or expressed for concerns outside astronomy, Light At Night) to the cover of the November issue.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Inbound bolide: 2008 TC3

Astronomers have discovered a small inbound object a few meters across that appears to be on an impact course with the Earth. The object may enter the Earth's atmosphere somewhere over Europe or North Africa just after 2:30AM UT Tuesday (9:30PM CDT tonight). The orbit is uncertain enough to have a number of possible interactions with the Earth, including missing entirely. It is small enough, based on its brightness, to cause no concern, but should be a nice bright fireball and might drop some meteorites. The self-assigned ID is 8TA9D69, and it was discovered on Mt. Lemmon near Tucson, Arizona by the Mt. Lemmon Sky Survey.

Update: It's now designated 2008 TC3

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I showed some RAS folks how to use the CCD camera last night. We couldn't get the drivers installed on the new laptop, despite tweaking the INF files to identify the USB device (at least in Windows, when you first connect a USB device, the device sends an ID number down, and Windows looks in the INFs to locate the driver). Unfortunately the manufacturer of the Starlight Xpress SXV-H9 camera changed the camera and the driver without changing the name or offering the old driver for download--the result is old camera owners can't get it working at all. Having to ask for the driver when it could just be on a website someone is really dumb.

Anyways, we got the camera working on the ancient soon to die laptop (94MB of RAM!) and took this 3 minute (12x 15sec) exposure of the Dumbbell Nebula. Enjoy.

Dumbbell Nebula M27

Friday, October 03, 2008

Article in Sun-Times about Light Pollution

Yes, Light pollution does affect the ecology of the region.,CST-NWS-night03.article.

Do I believe "A spokeswoman for the Chicago Bureau of Electricity said the city "has been actively pursing different methods to address the issue of light pollution."? Not in a second.

The University of Chicago just added over $7000 in electrical costs a year in extra, non-effective lights on campus. Is that sustainable?