So I have arrived in Utah. Capitol Reef National Park is in south-central Utah. Though a sprawling park, it’s mostly overlooked by travelers rushing from the big letter parks of Zion, Bryce Canyon and Arches. I like places that are mostly overlooked by others…it always suggests to me that there’s really something of value there.
Night sky over Fruita in Capitol Reef National Park (Punkastronomy)
As I took my first trip down the scenic drive, my first hike to see a natural bridge tucked onto the top of a (more…)
Posted by DougReilly on June 26, 2011
The short story: over the past two decades, humanity’s space probes to Mars, Saturn, comets and other planets, as well as our space-based telescopes like Hubble have collected millions of images. Like those boxes of family photos sitting in flea markets across the world, many of those images have never been seen. There are several artists out there, however, that are mining these treasure troves to make films out of them. Chris Abbas is one. He downloaded thousands of images taken by the Cassini spacecraft in the Saturn system and set it all to an evocative soundtrack by Nine Inch Nails. It has the look of one of the first motion pictures, which is fitting because, advanced as we are, our eyes on the universe are as new now as our movie cameras were then:
Posted by DougReilly on June 8, 2011
So I’m writing a review for what I hope will become my bicycle-transportable telescope. It’s a three-pole dobsonian design made by Dennis Steele of dobstuff.com and designed to be lightweight and easily broken down into components for a more compact travel profile. Dennis offers complete telescopes, rebuilds from existing components, and kits for semi-DIYers like me. I went for a kit, and I brought some of my own ideas to the table (well, ideas from other amateur telescope makers…there’s a lot of really innovative and inspirational work out there). I’ll go into the design and construction of the telescope in an upcoming review for Astronomy Technology Today magazine.
I wanted to give readers a sense of what set up and use was like with this scope, and I’ve been meaning to do a bit more with time lapse photography for a while. A simple $30 timer that plugs into my DSLR and a tripod were really all I needed to get started. So I headed down to a punk show at the theater space I co-manage with a buddy of mine, and set up my scope outside on the sidewalk. It wasn’t a good night for observing! It was clear at first but Geneva’s downtown is terribly light polluted. Then, when easily-recognizable Saturn came into view over the buildings, clouds rolled in! But I had fun talking to people and I showed a few people Saturn. Anyway, the time lapse is useful for getting a sense of how the telescope comes together and how it moves. It’s obvious, for example, that the scope, which is about 50 inches tall, is really for seated observing.
Posted by DougReilly on June 4, 2011