Jun 052016

I haven’t had many opportunities to image Mars this year, as it’s been very low in the sky and the weather here in the eastern U.S. has been very rainy and turbulent (typical of an El Nino year).  Here are two images taken recently, however.  The first shows the Elysium region and bright spot that may be an uncharacteristic dust storm, to the left, and Olympus Mons with some orographic clouds formed around it, to the right.  The next shows a cloudless Olympus Mons (the largest volcano in the solar system) centered on the planet (it’s the light colored ring in the middle) with some clouds over the Tharsis region (just to the right and a little lower).

C14 /PGR Flea3m/Astrodon filters
Apr 302016

Nope.. this has nothing to do with Google or IBM.  This is about the tremendous amount of data that I’ve accumulated using video-based data acquisition for my planetary images.   You see, I’ve been attempting to catalog all of the video data that I’ve captured over the years, lately.  I find myself (again) out of space on my hard disk drive and all of my external backup disks (6 drives with a total of 10 Terabytes of data), so it seemed like a good time to take stock of what I have.  To put this in perspective, if I took all of the video data of the planets that I’ve collected, just since my wife and I moved to Pennsylvania in 2007, and played it continuously, it would take almost three weeks to watch it.  Now I need a place to store it all that’s more secure and reliable than a bunch of Western Digital Passport drives.  They’ve been pretty solid over the years, but it would be nice of they were backed up for long-term storage.

As I’ve gone through my old drives full of data, I noticed that most of the data that I’ve captured has never been processed. On any given night, I may have captured 10 sequences of RGB (and usually L and IR) data, but only processed what appeared at the time to be the best set or sets. Some nights’ data was completely skipped (quite a few that fell in the middle of a particularly good stretch of seeing, for example).

Here’s an example of a night with outstanding seeing while Jupiter was very high in the sky and close to opposition (a whopping 48″). Taken December 14, 2012.  Some wonderful data that’s been sitting quietly waiting to be processed for 3 1/2 years.

Next step?  Scan all this data for fireballs and bolides using DeTeCt software.



Apr 252016
Jupiter -- April 18

I’ve taken a lot of data over the past week, although not much of it was very interesting due to poor imaging conditions (lousy seeing, passing clouds, etc.)  Here are two shots from April 18.  There was a period of fairly good seeing early in the session when these were taken.  The seeing deteriorated later, […]