Waste of Time: DST change approaches

Having a seriously geek moment tonight I was perusing the ‘official’ time zone data file found at ftp://elsie.nci.nih.gov/pub/ There are two files there, a tzcode* archive and a tzdata* archive see (http://www.twinsun.com/tz/tz-link.htm for info). My wandering there came about from a recent biongbiong.net post.

What I found interesting was the comment in the northamerica file located in the tzdata archive, qouting:

# I don’t really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some
# agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving
# daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind.
# I even object to the implication that I am wasting something
# valuable if I stay in bed after the sun has risen. As an admirer
# of moonlight I resent the bossy insistence of those who want to
# reduce my time for enjoying it.
At the back of the Daylight Saving
# scheme I detect the bony, blue-fingered hand of Puritanism, eager
# to push people into bed earlier, and get them up earlier, to make
# them healthy, wealthy and wise in spite of themselves.
# — Robertson Davies, The diary of Samuel Marchbanks,
# Clarke, Irwin (1947), XIX, Sunday

Emphasis added by me, I could not have said it better myself. So as everyone gets shocked again by the sudden loss of an hour of daylight, I ask “What do we gain by doing this daylight savings time crap?”.

Clouded Out For Orionids

This years Orionid meteor shower was predicted to have higher intensity than normal. With a possible broad peak the shower was observable for several days. Mother nature delivered a stunning knock-out punch to the midwest with a slow moving low pressure area being feed with moisture from defunct hurricane Rick. We have been cloudy and rainy for days.

The live data from IMO suggests there was higher than normal activity, as predicted. Impressive modelling from the meteor scientists.

SSAG First Light

All things wear out and fade away. My trusty ST4 autoguider, while still functional, is nearing that time. While I love its simplicity it suffers from poor sensitivity. Many of its critical parts are no longer available, repair would be difficult. Its better to have a new system ready than have the old fail in the middle of nowhere.

Friday I received my new Orion Star Shooter Autoguider (SSAG) and last night was its first light. Right out of the box it worked, the latest version of PHD Guiding works very well. Last nights 50 minute test was done using PHD’s default configuration and my G11 was setup like I was using the ST4 (2x guide rate). The guide rate maybe too high. While tracking was good (+/- 1 pixel) there was some RA overshoot on corrections. So I need to spend some time tweaking the software and finding the proper drive rate for this setup. Overall I am extremely pleased with the SSAG plus it weighs 80% less than the ST4/flipmate setup.

Oh, and sorry everyone in the midwest. I’m sure it will be cloudy for a week now!

OTSP Four Years Ago

Four years ago the Okie-Tex Star Party was having the Saturday night great give-away. At the end of the event I had my first digital SLR (300D) setup to capture the crowd. After an exchange with Ann, a fellow OTSP and NSP amateur I revisited this forgotten image. Ouch! Bad color and noisy – it needed serious improvement. Tonight almost exactly four year later I think the image is much improved. Click here or the image on the right!

NSP New Image

Picture on left taken Monday night at the Nebraska Star Party, click here or image for larger view. The Milky Way was fantastic that night and I think the picture represents closely what the sky looked like. I noticed a tiny meteor captured in the middle left side. Just recently processed the image, still have another widefield for NSP to finish as well. Amazing how usable ISO 3200 is on the 5D.