Showing posts with label astronomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label astronomy. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Jupiter on NBC

This afternoon I received an email from an NBC Nightly News rep asking for permission to use my shot of Jupiter on a segment about Jupiter sightings. I said they could, as long as I was given credit.

Here's the short segment; my ~15 seconds of fame. :)

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A visit with Jupiter

According to, jupiter is the closest to earth since 1951. Mother nature cooperated and gave us a clear sky tonight so I decided to finally try out the T-ring adapter for my Canon T1i/500D.

I power my wife's laptop from my truck's cigarette light adapter and connected my camera directly to the laptop so I had a decent LiveView, rather than having to stare at the tiny LCD on the camera. This worked quite well.

I started with using just the T-ring adapter on the camera and fired off a few shots of the moon.

Next, I went looking to get jupiter in the scope. It was easier than I expected. Focusing, on the other hand, was not as easy. Lots of trial and error, but I did get a few decent shots.

I tried adding a 10mm eyepiece between the adapter and the camera, which turned out not to be such a good idea. I could't get jupiter in my sights, not could I even find the damned moon.

I then gave the 2x barlow lens a try.

I found the moon and got some good shots.

I then managed to find jupiter. Focusing was hell, but I ended up getting a couple of nice ones.

That shot is cropped, which makes it look a little larger than it was in the original shot.

Overall, it went pretty good. I would have really liked to use the 10mm eyepiece though. If we have any other clear nights this month, I might give it another shot.

Oh yeh, I was pretty happy about was the tracking motor. I managed to get the scope lined up pretty good and the tracking stayed pretty true which made it easier to tweak the focus on the telescope without losing jupiter.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

My wife liked the star that I had dedicated to her. She took the certificate and other stuff in the envelope to work and showed it to some of her co-workers. They seemed to think it was pretty cool too.

I did have to print out my own certificate to replace the incorrectly dated one as I'm still waiting for the replacement. My wife said she wouldn't have known the difference if I hadn't mentioned that it was still coming.

As I mentioned before, we don't usually do anything special for Valentine's Day. My wife did get me a card and some heart chocolates though.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Star Stuff (Continued)

As expected, the large envelope was my wife's certificate for the star I had named after her.

It's very cool and came in a cardboard frame/card, with a sky map showing which star is named after her. I might go out buy a nice frame for the certificate. It also came with some astronomy software (which I'll probably get more use out of) and code she'll need for her free viewing of her star at SLOOH.

The information on downloading the Astronomy eBook still says it's for 2006. I went to the link printed on the sheet and as it turns out, it is for 2007. I guess they haven't printed a new download instruction sheet. I'm glad the eBook was updated though.

I told my son what it was, since he's sitting right next to me. He knows it's a secret, so hopefully he won't say anything to his Mom. :)

Addendum: I just noticed that they never fixed the registration date on the certificate. It still says January 1, 2006. AAAAAHHH! I just replied to the last email I received from them that said they would change it. I hope they can fix it and send me a new certificate with the correct date before Feb 14th.

Addendum #2: I already received a response! Man, that was fast. They apologized and said that the new date was in their database and the error was probably due to the certificate already being printed prior to the correct. They're sending a new printed certificate and they sent me a link to download a digital version to print out in case the new one doesn't arrive on time. Excellent customer service!

Star Stuff

My wife called me earlier to say that I got some "big envelope" from "some space place" in the mail today. I assume that it's from Name A Star Live. :)

She asked me what it was. I didn't know what to say, other than "Can't tell ya".

She left it at that.

I hope I don't get anymore questions about it. Dammit, it's for Valentine's Day.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Coming soon to a constellation near you!

For the last few years, my wife and I haven't really celebrated Valentine's Day. It was pretty much a mutual decision not to buy each other anything.

Last week, I got an email from Name A Star Live. They provide a service that allow you to name a star, somewhere in the universe. They offer various different packages from very basic print-your-own certificates, all the way up to packages that include printed (and/or framed) certificates, charts, and software, and even a free LIVE viewing of your star using THE SLOOH Observatory, in the Canary Islands.

I thought that would be a cool thing to get my wife, even though, like I said, we don't usually get each other anything.

I logged on to their web site from work this morning to place an order for their Deluxe Gift Set. According to their web site, it includes:
  • Star name registered by Space Services, Inc— the world leader in public participation space missions.
  • Star Certificate showing the new star name, the date of registration, the star's telescopic coordinates and the message you dedicate to the recipient (8.5"x11"). Also available framed.
  • Launch Certificate — certifying that your star name and personal message was launched into Earth orbit on board our next satellite. Available for download after the launch occurs.
  • Astronomical star chart — showing the precise location of the star you named (8.5"x11").
  • Astronomy software — Virtual Planetarium™ is a software suite that includes a library of stunning astronomy imagery — new Hubble, Spitzer and Mars images; information about the sky, the solar system and the latest space events; and space weather reports about sun spots, auroras and more.
  • View your star LIVE with SLOOH — an online, robotically controlled telescope.
  • Astronomy e-book— What's Up 2006 - 365 Days of Skywatching — a daily guide to the night sky for 2006.

All for around $50.

(I just noticied the e-book was for 2006. I wonder if I'll get an updated one for 2007?)

I went through the entire process right up until the last step, when it told me that the transaction was declined, My first thought was "Crap, my MasterCard has been compromised!" I then tried to log onto the credit card's web site and it notified me that there was a problem, and to call them. Panic set in.

Anyway, as it turned out, my browser had cached my CC number and was using the old number to try and log in. I rectified that and logged in without any problems. I tried again during lunch to place the order, and again it was declined. It gave me a phone number to call for assistance with placing the order, so I called them up.

A nice lady (Carol?) answered the phone, I explained what the problem was, and she asked me if I lived outside the U.S. I told her I was in Canada. She kindly explained that sometimes it will do that for orders outside the U.S., and offered to take my order over the phone. I told her that would be fine. She then asked me if I had called them on their 800 number. I answered "No". Surprisingly, she asked me for my phone number so she could call me back to process the order so I wasn't paying long distance charges.

A few minutes later, she called, and we went through the entire order process. (I named my wife's star after my wife's name) She even advised me that sometimes there is a short delay when it gets processed through customs. I told her that it wasn't surprising.

Anyway, I thought the experience was worth mentioning because it was a good example of excellent customer service. Sure, I should have been able to order through their web site, but the rest of the experience more than made up for the small inconvenience. Kudos to Space Services Incorporated.

Once the package arrives, I'll let you know what it's like. :)