What did you see in the sky tonight?

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Beyond
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:44 pm

Nitpicker wrote:
Beyond wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:(Beyond, I'd avoid automatic windows update.)
Oh yeah, i do have IE 11. As for the auto-updater, I'd rather have it that way. When you do them manually, they tend to screw up, like the one i just found waiting for me. In manual mode, sometimes the damn things stop before they finish installing. A real pain in the 7th planet :!: Auto doesn't do that.
Automatic Windows Update is not unknown to stop machines from booting.
Hmm... I've never encountered that.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:12 pm

Beyond wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:Automatic Windows Update is not unknown to stop machines from booting.
Hmm... I've never encountered that.
It used to be a bigger issue. Once upon a time, updates occasionally introduced problems, so it was wise to manually update a week or so after releases, allowing time to avoid problems. These days, Windows is so robust, and updates so well tested, that I doubt you'd have any problem.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:46 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Beyond wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:Automatic Windows Update is not unknown to stop machines from booting.
Hmm... I've never encountered that.
It used to be a bigger issue. Once upon a time, updates occasionally introduced problems, so it was wise to manually update a week or so after releases, allowing time to avoid problems. These days, Windows is so robust, and updates so well tested, that I doubt you'd have any problem.
There are still many people running Windows XP these days.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:18 pm

Nitpicker wrote:There are still many people running Windows XP these days.
Windows XP is certainly a robust operating system, although not quite so solid as Windows 7 or 8. XP usage is quite far behind Windows 7, but well ahead of Windows 8. Still, it would be foolish for most people to continue using XP after next March, which it goes completely out of support. And it's getting increasingly difficult to use now, as newer software and hardware often doesn't support XP.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:13 pm

The moon was smiling at me tonight. Libration offered a pretty good show of the SE limb (bottom left of image). My mind is starting to ponder a Jade Rabbit shortly after sunrise next week in the Bay of Rainbows.
Moon_325_20131207_1938+10_reduced.jpg
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:14 pm

I mix up libration and libation. I guess you can have both in this case.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:27 pm

It's the moon light. Sunlight reflecting off the surface of the moon, that has the reflectivity of asphalt, does strange things to the photons, that when taken in by human eyes, sometimes causes the human system to be overloaded and expressed outwardly, in a range from complete Lunacy, to Amore'. :mrgreen:
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by neufer » Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:33 pm

geckzilla wrote:
I mix up libration and libation.
I guess you can have both in this case.
That would probably amount to too much liberation, IMO.
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:17 am

Inspired by yesterday's APOD:
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131207.html

... I woke very early this morning to see if I could spot Nova Cen 2013 in the currently brief window between its rising and the Sun's over Brisbane. I was extremely sleepy and clumsy, but with unusually good luck, the heavy clouds rolled away with perfect timing to reveal the nova to my naked eyes, easily visible between The Pointers and Crux. I managed to get a reasonable fixed-tripod, wide-angle shot of it, too, which was similar to another I took back in March this year, allowing me to compose a couple of (very amateurish) blink-comparisons.

Here is the first:
Click to view full size image 1 or image 2
Hover mouse over image to see before-and-after

...
Cru_Pointers_20130314_2126+10_reduced.jpg
Cru_Pointers_Nova_Cen_20131208_0343+10_reduced.jpg
[/hide]
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Last edited by Nitpicker on Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:21 am

And here is the second, narrower, higher-res one:
Click to view full size image 1 or image 2
Hover mouse over image to see before-and-after

...
Nova_Cen_20131208_0343+10_cropped.JPG
No_Nova_20130314_2126+10_cropped.JPG
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:42 pm

Looking at the first (wider) comparison, I've also just noticed that Mira variable star R Cen (HIP 69754) -- the reddish star between Alpha and Beta Cen, slightly closer to the latter and more northward -- has noticeably brightened between March and December 2013. It might make a seasoned variable star observer yawn, but I've never observed a pulsating variable star varying before, so I'm chuffed enough to mention it here. :ssmile:

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Beyond » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:51 pm

Chuffed... To be, or not to be, 'happy'. http://english.stackexchange.com/questi ... or-unhappy
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:59 pm

Beyond wrote:Chuffed... To be, or not to be, 'happy'. http://english.stackexchange.com/questi ... or-unhappy
Interesting. Maybe "chuffed" is a pulsating variable word, with a period of a couple of centuries.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:55 pm

Before dawn today since this was forecasted to be a clear night here in S. Texas (after about 10 nights of clouds!) I made another attempt to see Comet Lovejoy as well as some o dem dar “shootin’ stars”.

I was disappointed to see streaks of high, broken cloud cover though. I persevered, and yes, to the right (east) of Zeta Her right where the charts showed it to be I found through 10x50 binoculars a faint glow of what must have been Lovejoy’s coma. I wasn’t able to discern any tail however.

As for the Geminids, I only saw one. However, as the sky brightened I was surprised by how much cloud cover there really was. Considering the clouds, I feel good that I was able to see Lovejoy’s coma and at least one meteor.

Oh, and I enjoyed hearing a pack of coyotes.
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Century of the Fruitbat

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:31 am

Around this time of year at dusk, we see huge colonies of fruit bats as they make their daily passage of up to 50km from their day roosts, to their evening feeding grounds. Literally thousands of bats pass overhead for about a hour after sunset. A few of them stop for a break in my Golden palm trees, and a few others visit throughout the night. I try to discourage the bats by trimming the fruits and nuts off the palms. As amazing a spectacle as these bats are, they need to be treated with caution. A decade or so ago, it was discovered that about 30% of these bats are reservoirs for a lyssavirus variant, similar to rabies. Only a very small number of people have died from this variant. A larger number (a few hundred I think) who have been scratched or bitten by infected bats, have survived after being treated, post exposure, with the rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin (which I understand is quite a painful procedure in itself).

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_bat_lyssavirus

...

I find it quite difficult to photograph these bats well, as they are fast moving targets in quickly diminishing light. But here is one photo I was reasonably happy with. It shows a few bats flying past the top of my Alexander palms, whilst the Moon pokes its eastern limb through an emerging thunderstorm (about four hours before the Chang'e 3 landed):
moon_bats.jpg
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:43 am

In honour of Chang'e 3's landing, I recorded some HD video of the Bay of Rainbows with my little 6 inch scope operating at about f/60. The night before the landing, I enjoyed quite good seeing conditions, and the terminator was closer to the landing site (near 9km diameter crater Laplace A, near centre of frame). However, on the next night, Dec 14, just as the craft was about to land, my sky was still suffering the effects of a recent thunderstorm and was about as wobbly as I've ever seen it. So, I thought I'd show these two images (nothing more than simple, cropped screen grabs from the videos taken on successive nights) as a comparison of different atmospheric seeing conditions:
dec13.JPG
dec14.JPG
(And yes, I need to clean a few specks off the sensor on my camera!)
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:02 am

Nitpicker wrote:In honour of Chang'e 3's landing, I recorded some HD video of the Bay of Rainbows with my little 6 inch scope operating at about f/60.
You could stack a few hundred frames. That should provide dramatically higher resolution.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:21 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:In honour of Chang'e 3's landing, I recorded some HD video of the Bay of Rainbows with my little 6 inch scope operating at about f/60.
You could stack a few hundred frames. That should provide dramatically higher resolution.
Yep, as soon as I figure out how to do it well. Thus far I've tried stacking similar videos of Jupiter and Saturn with Registax and yielded nothing better than any single frame (or maybe I've just contracted ABLV). I think it will work better on these Moon videos. Cheers.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by geckzilla » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:41 am

It's just hard to learn new things when you are constantly interrupted by random aggressive wildlife.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:45 am

geckzilla wrote:It's just hard to learn new things when you are constantly interrupted by random aggressive wildlife.
And I haven't even mentioned my neighbours! :ssmile:

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:40 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:In honour of Chang'e 3's landing, I recorded some HD video of the Bay of Rainbows with my little 6 inch scope operating at about f/60.
You could stack a few hundred frames. That should provide dramatically higher resolution.
Okay Chris, I'm sold. A couple of hours of playing around with Registax with my two short HD videos of Sinus Iridum (10-15 seconds each @ 25 fps) has yielded much better results. I still don't know what I'm doing with Registax, exactly, nor do I feel I am a good judge of good or bad when it comes to different image processes. My gut feel is that I have overcooked the processing here, to the point where it is starting to look like a painting. But I have to admit the final images I've come up with are a lot better than my simple screen grabs. Here is what I've come up with, closer to the full HD frame of the original videos:
Sinus_Iridum_20131213_2115+10_stacked.jpg
Sinus_Iridum_20131214_2310+10_stacked.jpg
(Of course, there's still no substitute for good seeing conditions.)

...

Hmmm, now I'm going to have to revisit a whole bunch of other videos I've been quietly recording and hoarding on my hard drives for the last year. With luck, the wet season will come early here, to give me time to work on them. :ssmile:
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by BDanielMayfield » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:07 pm

No clouds this morning, but the clouds last night must have been helping me somewhat, blocking moonlight. I couldn't find any part of Comet Lovejoy. It's getting lower each night toward the light polluted horizon, and it's moving away from the sun so it's dimmer each night too, so tonight's no show made me happy that had caught a few looks at it yesterday. Also no meteors, but I did enjoy a nice view of Jupiter and its four large moons and a bueatiful orange setting Moon.

No coyotes, but I did hear a great horned owl.

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by geckzilla » Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:53 pm

It does look more detailed and smoother, Nitpicker. Is there an adjustment for sharpness or deconvolution? That's way too high if so.
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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by stephen63 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:19 pm

Nitpicker, here is a nice tutorial for using registax. It's written for Ver 4, and mono processing but the workflow is the same for color.
http://paulhaese.net/planetaryprocessing.html

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Re: What did you see in the sky tonight?

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:29 pm

Nitpicker wrote:Okay Chris, I'm sold. A couple of hours of playing around with Registax with my two short HD videos of Sinus Iridum (10-15 seconds each @ 25 fps) has yielded much better results. I still don't know what I'm doing with Registax, exactly, nor do I feel I am a good judge of good or bad when it comes to different image processes. My gut feel is that I have overcooked the processing here, to the point where it is starting to look like a painting.
Yes, Registax has a crazy number of processing options. Figuring them all out can be a bit daunting. I tend to steer away from its sharpening tools and just use it for bad image rejection (with my seeing here, I usually reject about 90% of the frames), alignment, and stacking. But that's not to say there's anything wrong with the Registax post processing tools.
(Of course, there's still no substitute for good seeing conditions.)
To a degree. But even sites with bad seeing usually have moments of very good, so if you have enough video frames, and your object isn't changing (Jupiter rotates so quickly that getting enough frames under poor seeing can be impossible), you can achieve the same results under poor seeing as you might under much better. Lucky imaging is a great technique to apply to bright targets.
Chris

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