This was outing #6 of the year (following 1 OLT, 2 NAC, 1 hockey game, and 1 Gladstone) to see the NAC Pops show called “80s Mix Tape” with conductor Stuart Chafetz and singers Julie Reiber and Bryce Ryness. The show was a collection of 21 songs from the 1980s performed by the NAC orchestra, with 8 instrumental versions and 13 with lyrics. The full playlist (with two extra songs) is at the bottom.
The show kicked off with the instrumental version of The Final Countdown (Europe), and it was good, but not amazing. A nice light opening. They then went directly into a song with the female singer, Call Me (Blondie). I felt like she was doing a pop lite version of the song, no real grit, and the version I’m used to from Blondie has more deeper tones behind it. Or so I thought. However, you’ll see in the playlist version below, my memory might be off because it isn’t much darker/deeper in tone than the version I heard last night. » Read the rest
My wife and I enjoy the NAC Orchestra shows, particularly the Pops, and if it wasn’t for simple cost and logistics, we’d sign up for them every year. Instead, we pick and choose the shows we want along with some others. With 17 shows across multiple venues, this was outing #2 this year. The theme for the night? The music of John Williams, namely from all his soundtracks of the greatest hits of films.
Up first was the Main Title from Star Wars (1977), and it’s a great blockbuster opening. From there, they slid into Superman March from Superman (1978). Just those two alone would be worth the price of admission for some people, including me.
After that, they went through The Flight to Neverland from Hook (1991), excerpts from Artificial Intelligence (2001), The Cowboys Overture from The Cowboys (1972), and Theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). They’re all good, and the Cowboys Overture has that big epic Western feel to it. » Read the rest
I’m usually a “telescope-only” sky observer. But last Thursday, August 22nd, I was up at the in-laws’ cottage, and after a couple of previous nights of “no go” seeing, the night was still looking iffy. Clouds were rolling in from the West, and it wasn’t obvious if it was even worth setting up the scope. I’ve done the same before at the same location, and almost always, the clouds sock me in.
So I decided not to set up. Instead, I went and borrowed their simple terrestrial binoculars and gave it a go while sitting on the dock. I could see Jupiter and Saturn easily with the naked eye, but I couldn’t resolve the discs with the binoculars. While they are better quality design, they aren’t very strong (7 x 25 perhaps?), and they seem to be out of collimation. Everything I tried to resolve ended up having a skewed shape to it. » Read the rest
In my previous posts, I had the same three targets. The moon is easy (ISO24, 1/250s), although the fuller it gets, the more washed out if I don’t use a filter:
And I can see some single frames of Saturn are worse than others (ISO32, 1/10s):
But I was REALLY setting up so I could play with my camera centring. As I noted in a previous post, the feedback from an online FB group was that my EP wasn’t centred. So I wanted to ensure 100% that I was centred last night. For one of my stars off to the side, defocused into a doughnut, I was clearly NOT centred (screengrab of Night Cap below):
But I moved the stars around a bit in the EP and managed to get something a little more balanced:
And then BAM, I got this:
Only minor differences in positioning, no difference in my centring over the EP. » Read the rest
In my previous two posts, I noted my standard setup for backyard imaging:
Celestron NexStar 8SE;
stock alt-azimuth mount;
an iPhone XS Max phone running Night Cap software;
the Phone Skope smartphone adapter; and,
a 25mm Celestron Plossl.
My last set of targets for the night was stars. Although my thinking was more like:
Okay, the moon is easy. I’ve got a handle on planets. Now I need to figure out how to do stars.
There’s a guy online named Loren Ball who can do an amazing job getting asteroids, and his stars are always pinpoint perfect. His technique is to use a hand-held magnifying glass to get his stars in focus, and then snap away. He sets his iPhone for ISO 8000, does 10s bursts in Night Cap, has documented all the buttons he pushes to do that, and then stacks 18 images in Nebulosity. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, it seems. » Read the rest