Posts about photography, contract bridge, astrophotography, astronomy, Java development, internet systems.

Video of comet NEOWISE

I set up the AP180 last night and was able to capture comet NEOWISE as it passed through Ursa Major.

This video is fifty frames covering about 27 minutes, from 9:11 p.m. to 9:38 p.m. on July 19, 2020.
Each frame is a 10-second exposure.


Here’s a view of my computer screen and the AP180 as I captured […]

More Spring Messiers

We had several great clear nights in Monrovia. I had a night where everything clicked. If I hadn’t napped a bit, I might have gotten two or three more Messier objects.

I think now I know the most difficult part of urban astrophotography — at least with the camera I use: Finding suitable guide stars!

I can position […]

This story is a bit flat

Last night (Saturday, May 23, 2020) was a beautiful dark clear night in Monrovia. Tonight is forecast to be even better and warmer. I can’t resist! When will I sleep?

By the end of evening twilight, I was aligned, focused, calibrated, synced, and ready to image.

I’ve been cherry picking Messier objects that were near their highest altitude […]

Playing with the big guy

Evening twilight with the AP180 at Sawpit Wash, 50 yards from our front door.

The previous post mentions how I started trying out photographing Messier objects from my home in Monrovia, using my Astro-Physics Traveler 105mm f/6 refractor. The results were encouraging enough that I had to bring out the giant AP180EDT and see how that […]

Astrophotography from home

In the wee hours of May 15, hunting down Comet C/2020 F8 SWAN

Normally I wouldn’t even have considered trying this project. I’m known for hauling my telescopes to a dark sky site in the desert to do deep sky astronomy — visual or photographic.

But here we all are, staying home for the duration.

I have a […]

Where to go from here …

This is the first new blog post from me in four years, and long overdue.

Why blog now?

I enjoy writing and reporting about stuff in my life: astronomy, travel, bridge, wine, photography, network systems.

And Facebook is Dead To Me.

Since my last post, Jane and I have both retired, I opened and closed a weekly bridge club, we […]

Internet service has no maverick

If you’re like me, you have exactly two places from which to buy high-speed internet service: your phone company (mine is Verizon) or your cable TV provider (mine is Time Warner Cable).

That sounds like competition, doesn’t it? If you don’t like one, you can go to the other.

Why would I switch?

After nine years (and about $10,000) […]

Home theater upgrade, part 2, fixing HDMI

(Part one found here.)

First I’ll mention that the AV preamp I started out with, a Marantz 7005 purchased as B-stock from Outlaw Audio, turned out to be hopeless. It would never successfully handshake video output to either of my displays, even with no sources connected. Sometimes on a hard reboot, it would send some video, then […]

Home theater upgrade story (Part 1)

Old system:

Rotel RSX-1065 receiver
Panasonic TH-50P9UK plasma display
Old Pioneer DVD player
InFocus ScreenPlay 5700 projector
B&W CDM7NT 5.1 system, with broken tweeters on the front mains
Logitech Harmony One universal remote

Why upgrade?

The Rotel receiver has annoyed me for years with its few seconds of silence after mode switches (like Dolby Digital to PCM during a TV broadcast). It’s volume behavior […]

Kaiser Low Calorie Diet, Terrible Execution

Like so many of us, I need to lose weight. My doctor at Kaiser referred me to a new in-house weight loss program, a low-calorie “meal replacement” program. The program appears to be a franchisee of Robard Corporation’s “New Direction” program.

The program itself is very good. The class materials are current and instructive, and the high-protein […]