31 August 2013

Astroclub Toutatis Fall/Winter observation season OPEN!

Artistic picture of 200mm (8") Reflector Telescope and Galactic object.
Credit: KTY Toutatis/S. Lamoureux
Astro-Club Toutatis here in Kustavi, Finland met on August 25, 2013  for the closure of the summer season exhibition and the opening of the Fall/winter observation season 2013-2014.

The club's duties where to clear out the exhibition part and convert the space into an office/Club room. We had the opportunity to bring in the tables, sofas, computers and other stuff needed for our remote controlling of the scope within the office.
We had an amazing clear sky this last week that permitted us to snap pictures of the night sky. We tried the remote control of the mount from our computer, but we had problems with the drivers of the USB extender. The cables are already in the ground, the mount and pier is perfect, the telescope and all works, but the computer part is not so trusty.

Galactic Forge. Blacksmith shop in our
club's backyard with the Milky Way.
Credit: KTY Toutatis/S. Lamoureux
Never the less with the mount controller (HEQ5 controller) we manage to slew and track object/stars/Moon and take shots at the same time. We took 50mm lens pictures, fish eye pictures, piggyback on the scope for tracking (longer exposure) pictures, and prime focus shooting (with and without Barlow) on the telescope.

We took a couple of pictures, but mostly we took series of pictures to be able to do short GIF animations. With Canon 550D and the software Magic Lanthern on the SD card we were able to take time lapse pictures by using the intervalometer mode of the software ML.

Have a look at our Astro Club Timelapses and animations here.

Links through space Photo-GALLERY

23 August 2013

Let's meet Astronomer, Writer, Podcaster and Pioneer in New Media Astronomy: Pamela Gay!

In relation with EWASS or European Week of Astronomy and Space Science that was held in Turku, Finland last July, I met with an Astronomy icon of mine Pamela Gay.

She announced her arrival for the conference on her google + profile and I immediately contacted her if she would be willing to meet with a "fan". She responded with an email a few days later and told me we could meet for a while. I could not believe it, the woman I followed for many years with Astronomy Cast is coming to meet me!!!! It was really great! I had this feeling that if you want to do something, just do it and you will be rewarded. So I did...

Pamela Gay has been a pioneer in new media, social medias and on the Internet at large related to Astronomy. I remember in 1999 when Universe Today came out, I was one of the first to follow this great website and a few years later in 2006 Astronomy Cast hit us with great audio/podcast to listen to all related to Astronomy. Pamela and Frasier were in the forefront of this scene on the Internet.

Pamela Gay continues to be an active member of the Astronomy/ Space community on the Internet. She has many projects including Astronomy Cast with Frasier Cain, her own nest Star Stryder blog, co founder of Slacker Astronomy and her most recent project the fabulous citizen-science community.

Pam has received a B.S. in Astrophysics from Michigan State University in 1996 and a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Texas in 2002. Today, she teaches at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Of course as a professional astronomer, Pamela Gay is invited in many conferences and seminars to speak and give lectures about astronomy.

These Pioneers of outreach on Astronomy and Space related topics are the foundation of the Astronomy/Space community out there. These are men and women who have dedicated their time to generate more awareness on astronomy in new media. But also in person by attending to different get-togethers around the world.
I salute you Pamela and I wish you and all the pioneers out there a bright future in your projects. I will be following!

Here are links to Pamela Gay's projects. Please have a look at these projects, you could find something you like :D

Astronomy Cast
Star Stryder blog
Slacker Astronomy
The Swinburne University of Technology
Wikipedia: Pamela L. Gay 
Pamela Gay on Facebook
Pamela Gay on Twitter

07 August 2013

Motion in the night sky. First dark skies since last spring.

Animation of the Constellation Cygnus in the night sky
Credit: KTY Toutatis/ S. Lamoureux
August brings darker skies here in Finland. This last week is been exciting with dark skies and opportunities to look at the Stars.

On August 7 2013, we took a series of picture to do this short animation of the constellation Cygnus (The Swan) over our club's "headquarter" in Kustavi, Finland.

We wanted to shoot the Perseid Meteor Shower and see if there were satelites going in our field of view. We manage to capture satellite trails, but not really meteor trails.

Fall will bring us more dark skies and the club is looking forward for comet ISON in late Fall. It's good to be back outside and have a proper night sky and be able to shoot some stars.

WIKI: Constellation The Swan (Cygnus)
WIKI: Perseid Meteor Shower
WIKI: Comet ISON C/2012 S1