I have traditionally NOT been a binoculars guy when it comes to astronomy. If I’m totally honest, I’m even a bit judgey for those who respond to newbies’ questions about what type of telescope to get with “get binos, great way to get started” advice. It’s a common refrain, by experienced amateurs, and I think it can be amongst the worst advice to give anyone given the learning curve, unsteady viewing if going hand-held, and low magnification. But it should probably be part of everyone’s toolkit, so who am I to argue?
So, I was thinking of getting a pair just as SkyNews for July/August 2020 arrived on my doorstep with an article from no less than famed Canadian astronomer Alan Dyer reviewing entry-level / beginner binoculars. Perfect, I could choose one from his list! His cut-off was $300 and generally available in Canada, which is a pretty good starting point. » Read the rest
About two weeks ago, I started a new challenge for myself — to blog each day about forward-looking choices I was making. Things that involved some extra effort to “create my reality” beyond drifting through the day. I went for the Seinfeld method — how many days in a row could I keep the chain going — and I crashed at 8 days. On the ninth day, I made poor choices or let my scripts push me through the day. So what do I do with a broken chain? Start a new chain.
That new chain starts today, and I’m maintaining my numerical sequence (so today is #9) but I’ve added a “b” after it for my second series. Let’s see how far I get, particularly with holidays coming up. Will I still blog while I’m at the cottage?
I don’t know either, but today I was still at home, and I registered for a RASC Speaker Series presentation by Zoom from the President of the Vancouver Centre. » Read the rest
Back in April, our local astronomy club decided to use Zoom to hold our monthly meetings for members as a virtual meeting and they did it again in May. It is working well and a side-benefit is that in addition to being able to see it on Zoom, the video can be automatically streamed to YouTube (with about a 15s delay) and saved there when the meeting ends. Our group isn’t alone in this, lots of organizations are doing the same thing for virtual conferences.
However, one downside to the final saved video is that you get the entire raw footage from the time you press RECORD to the time you press STOP. This means for meetings and conferences that you often see hosts saying exciting things like, “Okay, we are now recording and streaming. You can begin.” And another host saying, “Okay, I’ll just share my screen…can you see that and hear me okay?” » Read the rest
Earlier this week, I mentioned that I need to let go of my dream of having a backyard observatory (https://polywogg.ca/letting-go-of-an-observatory-dream/). It was based on the crash between the dream and reality, with the reality that multiple variables don’t work in my backyard:
I don’t have space for a pre-fab observatory (normally 8’x8′ minimum);
There’s really only one place in the backyard that works, and to make it functional, I would have to raise it up to deck level, but once there, the only options are either too expensive, too big, too ugly, or all three.
The weird part is that I’ve known it was unlikely for quite some time, and I thought it was “gone” from my plans and options. Some of it remains because I have had nothing to replace it with, to be honest. One frustrating thing for me with my hobby is that I don’t have any places nearby that I can just pop over and start observing from, with most decent options being quite a drive. » Read the rest
I have almost 1400 posts and pages, and with a redesign that I’ve recently been working on, i.e., changing many things behind the scenes in layout and workflow, I need to go back and fix a bunch of featured images for sizes. So at the same time, since I’ll be using the Featured Images in a slightly different way along with other graphics in my site, I’ll take advantage of the update to also consider new images.
For astronomy posts, most of which up until now have been about astronomy and telescopes and imaging, oh my, I’ve tended to use a whimsical graphic for all of it.
It has a transparent background, PNG format, and I like the light nature of it. It reflects my approach to astronomy, generally informal, non-scientific, heavy focus on observing over imaging or logging. In short? Fun.