The Ramblings of Jeff & Gilly...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Damn comet...

Snuck out of the room at 10:30pm last night, while Giliane was sleeping. I really wanted to try and take a picture of this green comet that I had heard so much about. Apparently, what I neglected to take into consideration is that this comet isn't that spectacular. Sure, it was visible to the naked eye. Sure, it was green. However, it was small. If you could find Saturn, which I could, then it was only about 2° from it.

So, trying to be as quiet as possible, I set up my telescope in the backyard, all the while the damn motion sensor light kept lighting up the neighborhood as I went in and out of our AZ room. Finally got the telescope aligned, using Sirius, Saturn, and Arcturus, I believe, as the three points of reference for the telescope's SkyAlign process. Beautiful. Time to get out the laptop and my CCD camera. Got it all plugged in, and went looking for this elusive comet. I found it, only the damn thing looked just like any other star. It had a magnitude of about 5, maybe 6.

By now I'm scowling at the sky. This wasn't what I wanted. I wanted to take a picture of something easily recognizable. So I pointed the telescope back at Saturn and tried my luck with taking its picture, adjusting saturation levels, gamma levels, and the like. It's a little fuzzy, but at least you can see the rings! This was using my 3x Barlow lens, too. I'm still learning all about the different options, so I hope to put a better picture up here sometime soon. Giliane is learning more about her new camera, so I'm hoping she'll be able to give me a few pointers.
I have a 30% moon filter that I can use with my CCD camera. I'm looing forward to trying the moon again. Last time wasn't too bad, but could have been better. Gonna have to get the A/C adapter for my telescope, though. That sucker eats batteries like I can eat Krispy Kremes. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Great Debacle of 2009

The Oscars were on last night! Anyone watch 'em? Giliane & I have a long-standing tradition of filling out an Oscar ballot with who we think will win. I will admit, I don't usually win these things. Sometimes I get close, and I have even won a few times. But it's been a while and I was figuring I might get lucky this time around.

How wrong I was.

I believe there were about 23 or 24 categories. I got 6 right. That's it. And Giliane got those SAME 6 right!! Guess how many Giliane got wrong total. Go ahead! You'll never guess! She only missed by 5 or 6 questions. That means she got somewhere around 17 right!!! What does that tell you? That I can't pick a winner worth crap. Want someone to lose? Ask me. I'll bet I picked that person to win. It was terrible! Every time I tried to think outside the box and take a simple guess, I went down in flames. **sigh** At any rate, good job, babe! That's your best showing yet!

So that means that either I have to cook Giliane dinner AND clean up afterwards, or else I can take her out to the restaurant of her choice. Guess which one I'll choose? :)

Comet Lulin will be making it's closest appearance to Earth tomorrow. That means it should be visible to the naked eye provided you're in a darker part of the country at night. Fortunately for me, I just happen to. So I think I'll try later tonight to aim my new telescope at it, hook my CCD camera to it and try and take a snapshot or two. Will have to see how it goes! If it goes well, you'll see some pictures posted in here. If not, then you'll know that I still haven't learned the nuances of the thing.

If you're interested in reading up on this green comet, here's a few links:

Wish me luck!