Monday, October 19, 2009

Just playing ball....

I've been trying to capture this on video for the last year but every time I had the camera handy, Sirius was not in the mood to play ball this way. Anyone that has a dog, especially a Lab, knows they love to play ball. But every once in while Sirius is just not in the mood to get up and run after it so he'll just nudge it across the floor to me and as long as I roll it back to him, he pushes it back to me.
There's nothing really great or cinematic about the clip, just a simple :48 seconds that I'm sure one day I'll be very glad I captured on film.
I recently saw the movie "Marley & Me" and realize now how important it is to capture these moments.
I hope you enjoy the clip and it puts a smile on your face like it does mine even after watching it several times during the processing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What happens when worlds collide?

I had a chance to find out today.
Penny dragged me to the LV Renaissance Festival today and we saw plenty of the usual suspects, Queens, Kings, knights, knaves, fine ladies and wenches and then just as we were leaving we spotted a couple of Trekkies headed into the festival.

Unfortunately we had already exited the gate so there was no way to go back inside to see the reaction from the Renaissance guys and gals. Of course after seeing the girl in the schoolgirl outfit with fox ears and tail, I'm sure the Trekkies blended in with the rest of the crowd.
As usual, clicking on the photo will take you to the gallery of today's images. Mostly just a bunch of snapshots.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lunar blast a dud?

I'm not so sure the mission was a dud but from a ground based amateur telescope point of view it sure was a dud. There was no visible plume from my 10" scope and from what I saw in NASA TV there wasn't a visible plume from the trailing probe that crashed just a few minutes later.

I wouldn't say it was a waste of time though. It was great getting up so early and doing a little urban astronomy viewing prior to the big show. Orion was high in the sky and the viewing wasn't too bad considering all of the area light pollution. My neighbor has three large dusk to dawn lights that completely illuminate the driveway and add to that the several streetlights not to mention I live in the Las Vegas valley, the capital of light pollution, pretty much all the deep sky objects are washed out. We did have a decent view of M-42, the Orion Nebula and later in the morning after the lunar event we watched Venus, Saturn and Mercury rise in the east.

Even though the blast was not visible I did get some more great lunar video to share with everyone as well as some behind the scenes shots as promised but you'll have to check back later this evening for the pics. I'm gonna get some shut eye now as I only got about 4 hours of sleep last night.

As the great star gazer Jack Horkheimer would say, "Keep looking up!".

UPDATE - Friday 2:15pm PDT: Photos added! Click on the image for the gallery of the setup. Video coming later!

Another UPDATE - Saturday 8:30pm PDT: I uploaded a 587MB video late last night and knew it would take a while for SmugMug to "process" the video so I expected it to be done today. Oh well, another "Error - Tried and failed 10 times :("
Hey but they put the little frown face on the log so that makes everything ok, right?
I'll try again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ready for a Lunar blast.....

A few of you may have heard that NASA is planning on crashing a probe into the surface of the Moon early Friday morning. The purpose of the crash is to try and detect water deep inside the craters along the pole that never see the light of day. If you want to read about exactly what's going to happen, here's a media report in layman's terms. If you are interested in a bit more technical info about the mission you can read all about it here on NASA's website. NASA is even planning on broadcasting the event live on NASA TV and on the web.

There's hope that the impact will be visible in modest amateur telescopes so I plan on trying to capture the event myself. For those of you on the west coast, you'll have to be hard-core to get up for this event. It's going to impact the moon at approximately 4:30am PDT.

I plan on recording the event in HD through my Meade 10" SCT scope. It's really just a giant telephoto lens. And when I say "giant", I mean giant. It's equivalent to a 3048mm F10 telephoto lens. I'll have my Canon 5D MII hooked up to catch the even in beautiful 1920x1080 HD.

Even though I've had the camera for almost a year, I've never got around to trying to capture the moon on video through the scope so tonight I figured I would set everything up for a test run so I have no kinks early Friday morning.
As soon as the clip has finished processing I will add it to this post.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and be clear Friday morning. If so, I should have some exciting video to share by late Friday morning and if I remember I'll take some BTS shots as well.

UPDATE: Here's the video clip!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All the leaves are brown...and the sky is gray....

Well ok, all the leaves are not brown, but they are starting to change.

My wife and I recently returned from a trip to her hometown of Plattsburgh, NY. We had a great visit with her family while there even though the weather did not cooporate with us while there. It rained on us every day we were there. The one morning we woke to what appeared to be a break in the rain we decided to take a drive down around the Lake Placid area about an hour South of Plattsburgh. We were on the road for about thirty minutes before the sky opened up on us again and we turned around. We managed to take a few shots before the rain caught up to us and I've posted a couple of them in the gallery that can be viewed by clicking on the photo above.

I'm sure some will get the song reference in my title to this post and it's a song that I've been thinking about all day today. It's one of those songs that I think about when I'm a bit depressed or dealing with upsetting news and I received some of that upsetting news very early today. I was awakened this morning with a text message from a friend that another dear friend and work colleague had died over night. My friend Shaun Rodgers, a young and otherwise healthy 39 years old, past away while in the hospital in Washington, D.C. Shaun and I worked together at AVW-TELAV for about four years. It was only four years but it seemed as though Shaun lived eight years in that time frame. He was always the life of the party and if he wasn't, he surely knew where the party was. I thought about our short time together quite a bit today and tried to remember a single time when he didn't have that grin on his face. He always saw the positive side to every situation he encountered and because of that was not only a great sales person, he was a great person to be around. He will be sorely missed by everyone he knew, friends, co-workers and of course his family. For those of you reading this that did not know Shaun.....that's your loss. Everyone that knows me knows I'm not a religious person but if there is a God then I hope he's looking over Shaun and his family.