Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's a subsidized nonrenewable resource people!

And it's running out! Here is the proof that it's affecting us in our every day lives right now! That helium just leaks out of the balloons (or your silly high pitched voice) up into the atmosphere and doesn't stop till it has escaped into space where the solar winds whisk it away. When are we going to come to our senses and switch to a renewable resource like hydrogen for our Harry the dragon and birthday balloons?!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


We came across this fine patch of grass and thank you note on our normal walk yesterday.

In case you couldn't read it +

And what we found the next day.

And here we go again but in 3D! So get those red/blue glasses out.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Not all toys had a good holiday

I felt bad for this little dirty, squished, sad, lonely and lost teddy on the side of the road. Poor little guy. Did I ever mention I had a bed full of stuffed animals friends till I was in my early 20s? I still have them all in a big bag and get sad from time to time when I go an visit them. I have a few of my favorites on the shelves in the bedroom now. A few of them are in about the same shape as this little guy though they do have company almost every night and get dusted off semi-regularly. tmi?

Monday, December 24, 2012

it just spoke to me

We all see faces in things. Some times I take pictures of them. I had heard the term before but had to look up what this is called. It's called pareidolia. I love pareidolia.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What does it mean?!

It's an SF double rainbow!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Went out for a cool shower

Last night was the peak of the Geminid Meteor shower so I hopped back on the roof where it was cool and damp and took a bunch of pictures and here is what I ended up with.
 There are about 20 meteors in there. Some are pretty faint. I think all but one are from the Geminids. There is that one in the lower section that looks to be from a different radiant.

Here is a cropped of the section I like the most. Didn't get any as good as Owen's shooting star from last night but I sure did catch a bunch. Also saw a whole lot more than I managed to capture. It was fun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Caught a Falling Star for Owen

Went out on the roof and caught a falling star and made a wish for my new nephew, Owen, who was born yesterday.
I'm pretty sure this is a Geminid. This is a cropped image as I was using an 8mm lens.

Here is the full image. That's Orion up there at the top and Jupiter about 1/4 of the way down from the top. That was by far the brightest meteor I saw tonight but there were a lot of meteors to be seen. I was probably on the roof for an hour or two and saw at least 30-50 with about 10-15 of them being pretty good. And that's in a light polluted city. I bet the view from darker skies is pretty fun.

Monday, December 10, 2012

And Andromeda Again

Giving Andromeda yet another try. This time I used a dew heater to keep my lens from fogging up.
I stacked 117 images for a total of about 22min of exposure. I think this one has a tad more detail than the last version. Not bad for a roof top in San Francisco. I need to get somewhere dark and try this again.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Andromeda from the roof

It's been raining for the better part of the week but the skies cleared up a little so I took my portable astrophotography rig out for another test. Took a picture of Andromeda.
This might be the best image I have taken of Andromeda so far. I did have a fair number of problems tonight. I think the biggest being my lens fogged up. I think this is causing a big bright spot in my images which I managed to clean up a little in photoshop. This is about 8min of exposure. It was cold and wet on our roof tonight so I didn't last to long. Still I'm pretty happy with the results I'm getting with my new portable rig so far.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mobile Astrophotography kit v1.0

I've been trying to put together a compact yet very usable astrophotography rig for a while now. I think I have finally put together a version I am finally pretty happy and excited about.
 It all fits in this medium size camera bag.

 And here it all is. It consists of:
- Canon EOSM
- Canon 55-250mm zoom
- Bower 8mm
- Canon EOSM 22mm f2 lens
- Canon Infrared remote
- Vixen Polari Star Tracker
- Manfrotto Table Tripod
- Celestron StarPointer finder scope
- 3d printed hot shoe mount for the finder scope

 Here it is all setup with the 55-250mm zoom.

 And in 3D just because -:]

 And another view.

 And another 3D image -:[]

 I managed to test the new setup just before clouds and rain hit. I had about 20min on our roof to setup, adjust and take some pictures.

Here is a crop of the image. Not to bad for a quick test on a windy roof in a bright city. I'm excited to take this setup all  over the place in the coming months to see if I can get better at using it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Morning Sun

Got up this morning and saw the sun coming up and decided to break out the solar scope. Worked out a few issues I have been having and managed to take a higher res image. At some point maybe I'll work out how to focus better with this little scope. Still I'm pretty happy with the images I am getting with this $60 scope that came with a solar filter.
 This first image is about 2x the resolution of the one bellow. Click on them to see the difference. I like them both so I'm putting them both up.

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's Spotty

Testing out a new camera on a near by star.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Space Shuttle Fly By Friday

The Space Shuttle was flown by work today. It was about 1500 feet up and almost directly over our office.

Since I knew it was going to happen I took my camera to work and shot some pictures as you can see here.  

And well since I took the pictures here it is in 3D! I shot a bit of video and managed to use a few frames to create a stereo image. Seems like it worked out okay.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Milky Way from OBX

It's been raining and cloudy for days on our vacation to the Outer Banks. Finally ha a little bit of clear weather to play with my Vixen Polari and Canon s100 with CHDK. Unfortunately there was a bit of haze and some light pollution which caused some bright washed out areas.

Here is the first results of the Milky Way. 9x 50sec exposures stacked with Deep Sky Stacker and tweaked in Photoshop.

And here is my second image which includes Andromeda.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Road Kill

Someone went and killed our road.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Venus Transit

Managed to get a little telescope with a filter just in time to watch and image the last Venus transit of the sun for the next 105 years. I think this is also the first time I've looked at the sun through a telescope. Still have some images to sort through and try to process but here are a few to get things started.

There is Venus about mid way through the transit. Look at all the sun spots! I'm not really sure which way is up and left to right because my camera ended up mounted at an odd angle and I think the telescope flips the image one way or another.

Started viewing and imaging at work then clouds started to come in. So I drove home hoping to catch the sunset over the ocean. I made it and here's one of the first sunset images.

Is that the sun or Jupiter? It looked pretty cool in the clouds.

A bit wider version.

Almost had a few ships get into the transit pics. I think you might just be able to see Venus in this image. It was so close but the ships managed to slip by before the sun could catch them.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Be Cute. Good Girl.

Our girl kitty likes to play fetch and look cute.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meat Sundae

Saw this add on the back of a pickup truck. I want!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spaced Out Friday

Finally had some clear skies and a little time so I took some old and new gear out to play with. Had fun but also technical issues with some new gear. Seeing wasn't to good either so none of my images came out as well as I would have liked.

Probably my best Satrun image yet but I am a little disappointed. I guess the seeing wasn't so great so there was probably not much I could have done to get a better image.

I think this might be my first image of Mars.

I think this is a slightly better image of the Sombrero Galaxy (M104).

And a noisy but okay(ish) image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Kind of Servalance

All security cams should be 3d! I wonder why it looks like it's 3d because I'm pretty sure it's not.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Naked Eye Venus In Broad Daylight!

I read about seeing Venus during daylight hours before but it sounded pretty hard to find under normal circumstances. But on Saturday the moon was really close to Venus in the sky making it pretty easy to find. So I went out at about noon and found it. This is the first time but hopefuly not the last time I see Venus in the middle of the day. Anyway on to the pictures.

Can you find Venus to the lower right of the moon? It's about 4-6 moon lengths down and a few over. You may need to enlarge the image to find it.

Here is a zoom with more contrast that should make it much easier.

Here's another wide view.

And enhanced.

You can see Venus during the day when ever it's up and the sky is mostly clear. It's pretty amazing seeing a planet in the middle of the day. If you have a smart phone get an app like google sky (free) and it can help guide you to the area in the sky to look. Or with a little prep on the web you can find a sky chart that can help point you to the area to look. Or wait till the Moon is close to Venus again to help you out. Good luck!