Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Seeing Red

I'm "on vacation" this week. Actually just trying to catch up on car repairs, health checkups and running my other businesses.

Took a few minutes out of the day to check out a CCD camera I got a few months ago that is designed for planetary and solar imaging. Below is my first attempt at solar hydrogen-alpha imaging through my Coronado PST. The sun is in an unusually low solar minimum - no sunspots and very few flares - but managed to catch a nice prominence on the east limb.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bath Time

Today, Gary Rosenbaum of Steward Observatory operations came up to the VATT to show us how to give the telescope mirror a bath. Fascinating stuff if you like tediously meticulous optical janitorial duties . . .

Here's some snapshots of the Pro at work.

NOVA Night

Tonight a crew from PBS showed up at the VATT to film the LBT from our roof (my favorite photographic perch). "Brian" - the NOVA series cinematographer - sported a HUGE (and expensive) High Definition video camera with which to record the opening of the LBT building just past sunset. Although he was a godless "nikon" shooter (we all know - Canon Rules!)- I let him practice his trade anyway ;->

Here are a few shots of the picturesque scence.

"Brian" - the godless nikon shooter.

Looking West from the top of the VATT.

Looking East toward the LBT and SMT telescopes.

Burning Bright

Up here on at the VATT again on Mt. Graham. Just before midnight the LBT operator called to ask if it would be OK if they turned on the high-bay lights. As we had just closed the telescope for the night we agreed and I ran to the roof for an all too brief photo-op. Shortly after midnight they closed the shutter to the building and the show was over.

The LBT high-bay lights are EXTREMELY bright when fully energized (which takes about 2 minutes to accomplish) and even overpowered the full moon to illuminate the surrounding landscape.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Got a chance to photograph Anthony - the 3 month old son of my good friends Scott and Amber. Here are a few snaps of this big bundle of joy . . . Congrats to Scott and Amber!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Servo Daze

For the last couple of days I've been privilaged to be involved in a review of the new MMT Telescope elevation servo system - a new and improved algorithm designed by Dusty Clark, Keith Powell and Tom Trebiski of the MMT staff. The review team consisted of a couple of top-notch servo engineers (Dusty Clark and Pete Cheimets of SAO), and ace real-time programmers Tom Trebiski, Skip Schaler, Jeff Hagen and myself. Well - OK - so I'm a hack RT Programmer.

Anyway - today we took a trip up to the 9,000 ft. summit of Mt. Hopkins to where this 6.5 meter MMT monster lives. An impressive machine. Here are a few snapshots from the top-o-the-hill.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"The End of Slideshows"

A little presentation I made in 5 minutes using ANIMOTO. The images are both mine and Michelle Rasmussen's - Enjoy.