Archive for Something Shiny

Waxing Gibbous Moon

Waxing Gibbous Moon

I had a notion this evening to grab my camera and take a photo of the waxing gibbous moon shining overhead at 85% illumination. Again, as I did taking the photo of the emerging crescent moon last week, I did not use a tripod and remote shutter release, but rather I propped myself and the camera up against one of the porch pillars out in the courtyard. I used the automatic program shutter priority along with some post-processing to get the result seen above.

The Camera Settings were:

  • Camera - Canon Rebel EOS SL1
  • Program - Shutter Priority
  • Shutter Speed Set To 1/4000 sec
  • F Stop - 5.6
  • ISO 6400
  • Lens - Canon EF 75-300 set to 300mm Focal Length

Other than shutter speed, the camera automatically picked the other settings. In the post processing, I used my IRFANVIEW utility to crop the image, to enhance the gamma setting and eliminate the chromatic aberration caused by the cheap Telephoto lens. I would really like to get a better lens, but they are somewhat cost-prohibitive for as often as I have a need for one. I do have a camera adapter for my little Matsutov-Cassegrain telescope, but that, like a bunch of other things only comes out when I am highly motivated. Maybe the motivation will come one of these nights.

After I took the photo, Damsel and I stepped out to the courtyard to enjoy a nearly overhead pass of the International Space Station. The weather is starting to cool off a bit and we wore outer garments for the first time since early spring. This evening, the temperature plummeted to the low 70s which we consider quite cool. I know, I know, it’s snowing up north, and lots of snowbirds are already in town because of it.

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Emergence of the Waxing Crescent

Waxing Crescent at 3%

After yesterday’s lunar new moon phase, we knew that a pencil thin crescent moon might be visible after sunset and before moonset today. Damsel and I went out to the courtyard to witness the thin crescent just at the end of civil twilight this evening. We could see it just above the hill to the west of us which obscures the western horizon from our view, so the timing was important.

After viewing the moon with Damsel, I went back into the house and got my camera to see if I could capture the image posted above. My Canon SL1, like other cameras of it’s class, has a programmed setting which automatically chooses most of the camera settings. To get the photo, it chose F 5.6, 1/400 sec. exposure and ISO 6400. I used a 300 mm telephoto lens. I didn’t have time to get the tripod and set it and the camera up before the moon would set, so I propped myself and the camera up against one of the posts holding up the porch roof.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Classic 1935 Ford Sedan

Classic 1935 Ford Sedan

Damsel captured this photo of a classic old Ford V8 this morning on our way back from the “environmental services” facility (a.k.a. dump) on the west side of town. I saw this guy the other day when I was getting ready to leave the chiropractor’s office. I had a camera then, but the classic went by before I could grab and shoot. I’m glad that we saw it again today. It’s a beauty.

We went to the dump to dispose of a mattress that we bought when we first moved into the house. The mattress was our first place to sleep until we took our time to acquire the house furnishings as the first year here went by. Now, the 8-year old mattress has seen better days and needed to be replaced with a new one.

The new mattress is similar to the one we got for the RV last year. Same brand but a queen instead of king size. The new mattress is intended to help me get over the lower back problems I have been having since mid-February. The visits to the chiropractor have helped a lot, but we’re still not a hundred percent on being able to function normally.

I’ve had back problems since I was a young man, but it usually would heal quickly and get back to normal, Not so, as a septuagenarian. It takes time and visits to the chiropractor now, but it will get better soon. And a new memory foam mattress will help too, I’m sure.

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Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas

May God bless everyone on this Christmas. Merry Christmas from us to all of you!

Click on the Christmas Card to enlarge.

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ISS and SpaceX Dragon Sighting

SpaceX Dragon

One of our regular activities in retirement in our desert place is to watch for overflights of The International Space Station when they are visible. Tonight’s flyover was the last in the current series of visible passes in our area and included a special treat of which we were unaware until after the pass.

As the ISS soared across the sky, Damsel noticed a fainter speck of light following in trail of the brighter space station. We both saw it and wondered what it could be. I suggested that it might be a cargo resupply or something of the sort. We continued to watch the pair as they swooped out of sight towards the southern horizon.

I came back in the house and got on the computer to see if I could find out what we were seeing. It turns out that the fainter dot of light was a SpaceX Dragon CRS-12 resupply ship with 6400 pounds of “stuff” on board to deliver to the ISS on Wednesday morning.

This is from the NASA blog about the SpaceX Dragon Launch:

Crew members aboard the International Space Station can expect a special delivery Wednesday morning. A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft loaded with more than 6,400 pounds of supplies, equipment and science materials is heading their way after the successful liftoff of SpaceX CRS-12 at 12:31 p.m. EDT from NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A.

The on-time liftoff marked a spectacular conclusion to a countdown that proceeded like clockwork throughout the morning, aided by cooperative weather conditions across the launch site. With a sonic boom sounding across Florida’s Space Coast, the first stage returned to SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station while the rocket’s second stage finished the task of propelling Dragon to orbit.

Read more at the link above the quote. Damsel and I feel very fortunate to have witnessed this extraordinary extra-terrestrial event.

Damsel remarked earlier this evening regarding that she’s glad to see SpaceX, rather than Russians, supplying the ISS these days. I wholeheartedly agree with that.

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Announcing a Blessed Arrival

Baby Maci

Announcing our second great grandchild and our first great granddaughter. Meet little Maci - Born last night (4/12) at around 10:30, 7.3 lbs, 19¼ inches. Perfection!

We will formally meet the little one early next month when we take our spring excursion to Northern California to visit family. After that, we will take the long, scenic way home.

The other granddaughter, mother of our great grandson has also announced a new arrival due in November of this year. We’re going to be busy doting for a while. ;)

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Fireball over Wickenburg

fireball.jpgDamsel and I were out in the courtyard to watch the overflight of the International Space Station this evening. It was still pretty light out and I wanted to see if I could see Sirius in Canis Major as a gauge for the predicted magnitude of the ISS at -1.9. Sirius is magnitude -1.46, a little less bright than the satellite.

Image: Similar fireball photographed over Russia.

When I turned my attention eastward to look at Sirius, a bright meteor streaked across the sky, bright white initially and turning to orange and breaking into fragments as I watched. It was gone by the time I called to Damsel to come and look. This is the first fireball meteor we have seen in Arizona and the first one I, personally, have seen in over 20 years of looking up. The image in this post is not of the event we witnessed tonight, but a stock image of a fireball seen over Russia in the past.

In scanning local news reports, I have not seen any mention of this event. The good news is that Damsel and I both saw a nice ISS pass which makes three out of four in this recent series of evening passes. One was rained out earlier in the week.

We like to keep looking up. The stars here are usually spectacular and we see the Milky Way most clear nights.

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