When I was a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh my graduate assistantship required me to work in the University Testing Service. My boss, Dr. Fahey, was a tall, craggy-faced ex-Navy man who routinely ate his lunch in the University Faculty Club Dining Room one floor above our offices. We graduate students usually brought a couple of sandwiches which we ate in the cavernous student cafeteria in the basement. More
The recent controversy regarding the administration’s opinion that fifteen-year-old and younger females should be able to go to a drug store and purchase emergency contraception, without a prescription from a doctor and without the parents’ knowledge, was set aside on April 5th by Judge Edward Korman, from the Eastern District of New York, who gave the FDA 30 days to remove age restrictions on the sale of emergency contraception, such as Plan B One-Step. More
Tonight, April 20th, the evening was cloudless and “seeing” was quite good, meaning there was little moisture in the atmosphere. I began by using my Imaging Source 41 camera and my 6″ Celestron OTA to capture two avi files of over 2000 images. If you followed my last blog on Saturn, Registax software is able to stack, align, and select a great image. Below are two images of the moon at 76% waxing gibbous illumination. More
As a little kid, I wasn’t too discriminating on the subject of cookies. Like the Cookie Monster, I presumed the best cookie in the world was the cookie I was eating right that minute. As a pre-teen, I got a bit more sophisticated, recognizing that some of my friends’ parents had special cookies they made better than anyone else. Mrs. Richardson’s Peanut Butter Cookies, Mrs. Lietz’s Hermits, and so on. And no one matched my own Mom for her Chocolate Chip Cookies. More
I am a simple kind of guy, who, when undergoing any project —whether it be taking astrophotographs, writing a blog on theology, or planting crops for our farm market — does a lot of praying. I think cherry, apple, strawberry and grape growers can relate as we enter the critical frost season. As a Catholic, Mary and the Holy Spirit are my go-to persons for help.
As winter was ending on the calendar, I decided, since we heat our house with wood, to build a wood shed with a floor of cement. More
Amazing how quickly the days, weeks, months, and seasons come and go. Spring has finally arrived here in the Luberon … just as I must leave. This post will be shorter than most, so I can get on with packing.
I’ve had a nasty head cold, which seems to be on the run. Gratefully, it seemed to run its course in record time. Pardon the racing analogy, but being in France did not mean being immune to, nor away from, the non-stop reporting on the Boston Marathon bombing. My head and heart were both heavy. More
I have been waiting all winter for weather conditions to clear sufficiently to image Saturn. Viewing Saturn is probably the best experience an astronomer can offer youngsters to get them interested in astronomy. Even for adults, the experience can be memorable.
The plane of Saturn’s rings changes over time. Not too long ago, the rings were hardly visible, so viewing the planet did not have the “wow” factor. Below is an example of images in their various stages, showing how the plane of the rings change. More
Ancient history first drew us to explore Bulgaria and then we found much more. Thracian kings once ruled this land of mountains, valleys, rivers and the western Black Sea shore where archaeologists say European civilization began! The oldest man-made gold object in the world, dated about 4,500 B.C., was found near Varna on the Black Sea. Inland, Stara Zagora has a museum built over the clay remains of a duplex house dated 5,500 B.C. In the Valley of the Kings and Roses are tombs, some with exquisite paintings, made of rock and covered in dirt. Nearby museums display beautiful gold and silver objects from the tombs. More
In the hoo-hah over the 2014 budget, and whether seniors, who are mostly middle class, or poor, should lose some of their Social Security in order for us not to have to tax the top 1%, I have to wonder: Who actually deserves to fork over a bit more of their money?
Middle-class people generally work a full job, pay taxes on what they earn, and spend most of their money in ways that support the American economy: for housing, cars, groceries, movies or whatnot. (Poor people often work hard or even harder, but one of the definitions of “poor” is that they don’t get a living wage, so they don’t have a big tax imprint.) More
March 27th the moon was full, the sky was cloudless and the temperature was not unreasonably cold. By this time last year I was taking my ATV out to do some imaging, but this is still snowmobile weather. I did have a challenge beside cranking up the machine. The objects I was to image, though listed in the “100 Best Astrophotography Targets” by Ruben Kier, were small objects. What enticed me to image NGC 3718, 3729, and UGC 06527 was simply that I had never done so before, and the difficulty of imaging such small objects with a full moon not far away. More