Better Views of Jupiter

I realzed that the reason I couldn’t image Jupiter had to do with the planet being to bright. I captured the following with no filtering.

Jupiter Without Filter

I then added in a polarizing filter and dialed down the brightness until I got the following image… the detail would have been better if I didn’t use digital zoom

Jupiter Best

Orion XT8

12mm Ioptron PL (100X)

Orion Polarizing Filter 1-40%


Tonight was perfect for observing. It wasn’t too cold but it was very clear and without the moon I was seeing stars nearly down to magnitude 4.5 – 5 at the zenith. Interestingly I realized that my star chart had a funny little error where it looks like they labeled Zeta Persei as Atilk instead of Omicron. Consulting two other charts and wikipedia corrected me on it. Weird that such a widely used chart would have that kind of an issue. Perseus is in such a good spot of the sky right now that I am going to stick with it for a while and make a detailed study of it’s stars over the next few nights.

Objects observed:


Beehive cluster

Perseus Double Cluster

Orion Nebula

Crab Nebula

Double Stars split

Omicron Persei AKA Atik 


spectral  type:B1 III

Distance:1,000 Ly

Companion info: B3 Dwarf 

Zeta Persei 


spectral  type: B1

Distance: 750 Ly


Companion info: Mag 9.2

Don’t be a snob be an enjoyer

So today I was contemplating why some people are snobs and exactly what is it that causes people to cross the line from an enjoyer to a snob. I think it’s a kind of an idealism that has gone way too far. People find some interest and they like it. Eventually they get to a point where they experience whatever the best of that particular interest is. At this point this “Best” gets put up on a pedestal against which all other things are measured.At this point only what is approaching the best is acceptable and everything else is considered far inferior.

The problem with this mentality is that you are no longer enjoying this interest you have just become a snob with a very discriminating outlook. You sink tons of money, time and effort in your snobbish ambitions. Meanwhile people who are just casually enjoying things are looked down at as just not getting it.

I would prefer to just save my money/time and bump into the best now and then than chase that best all the time. I call myself an enjoyer. I enjoy things but I won’t get snobbish about them. Do I like coffee sure but I drink instant now and then when I am lazy because I enjoy coffee I am not  a snob about it. Do I like expensive guitars? Heck yes but my 200$ backpack guitar gets the job done too.

So get on with it people and stop being a snob. If you only drink 200$ bottles of wine… go buy a cheap 5$ bottle now and then and just enjoy it instead of being all judgmental.

in groups and out groups

Here is something that I notice about in-groups and out-groups that we might all want to think about a bit deeper. People love to talk trash about other people. It gives them something to bond over. People not only talk trash about people outside of their group of friends they do it within their groups of friends too.

So you now have subgroups of cliques that form within groups that talk badly about each other. Strange thing is the people will basically talk bad about nearly anyone that is not in the room. That means most likely when you are not around they are talking bad about you too.

Maybe we need to be a little easier on each other. Instead of trying to bond over the mutual hate of someone else we should try and find something of more substance. Most people seem to be trying to do the right thing even if they have weird personal quirks or mess it up more often than get it right. So instead of just hating on someone think that they are trying to do it right but it’s just hard for them for whatever reason. May be they just don’t get it, or maybe over time they have just become jaded and just stopped trying. Just saying we could all do with forgiving a bit more, and allow people a bit more room to breath before we attack them.

Going out tonight into the cold

It’s going to be clear so I will be out at the eyepiece tonight. Seems cold and windy but we have Geminids basically all week. Jupiter is still a little low in the sky during early evenings but I am hoping to get some great views later in the month. High in the sky is Queen Cassiopeia and Princess Andromeda. Which means lots of star clusters and the Andromeda galaxy! Unfortunately with the Full Moon the deep sky will be pretty drowned out for the next few weeks. Hopefully I can get some good images tonight.

this is going on /r/crappydesign

HAHA reddit your survey is going on the crappydesign subreddit.


Stuff from the internet today Part 1

Here you go my daily digest of interesting crap from the internet.

Chromebooks now more popular than Ipads in US Schools

This is not really surprising to me. Think about how much cheaper they are than IPads and the fact that there is really not much else you can do with an IPad that you cannot do with a chromebook.

“Chromebooks are simpler, easier and faster to manage and deploy across huge number of students.”

This is another perfect point especially if the school has a corporate gmail account which is becoming more common.

It’s cyber monday!

People get out there and buy something online… at least you wont get trampled on your way to the eCommerce site. I am not a big fan of materialism so try to keep your purchases modest and utilitarian. Also be aware of decision fatigue as you shop. It might be better to take frequent breaks

Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher then and now. 

I am so excited!! Mark and Carrie look like they are in great shape.

Vegan Strip Club riot on Black Friday. 

obviously satirical but hilarious non the less.




Life just keeps remaking itself

It’s interesting to think about given the season. Life just keeps remaking itself. Things pass out of your life and new things come in. Passions you were once excited about wane and old passions get reawakened. Things that at one time seemed restrictive are now comforting. Life just has this amazing flow to it. Sometimes it may annoy us and we think “man every day is the same and it just sucks”. But hopefully these are fleeting moments because as a whole life is a very interesting and worth while journey.

Recently I have been working with what is called the Greenwood. There is this profound realization in the greenwood namely that everything is organic. Even in this seemingly electronic artificial world we live in. The Greenwood will win and restore balance and flow. It doesn’t have to be a revolutionary shift. however we are all being nudged in the right direction. In order to become the tree in spring time we need to at some point be the tree in winter.

As we pass further into this season of materialism and consumerism don’t forget to give pause and dwell on the true meaning of the season. Namely how are you renewing your self? Are you doing it in positive ways or are you renewing hurtful cycles? Are you giving out of love or obligation?

I will continue to stare out my window and day dream and share the good thoughts with you.

leaving facebook but you can still find me.

So I have decided to bite the bullet and leave facebook sort of. I still have some people that I can only contact through facebook so I will leave a skeleton account open. Also I will continue to cross post from this blog to facebook. Basically facebook has become a royal pain in the ass. I have a hard time keeping up with their privacy policy and I shouldn’t have to worry this much about a site to connect with my friends.

So I am going to continue public posting from my blog here. Also I am setting up  private site for friends and family only. So if you still want to get new pictures of the baby then send me a private message and I will send you a like to the private site. On this public blog I will keep posting about my public interests, ideas, and cool stuff I find while trolling on line. On my private site I will post about what I am doing in my private life as well as pics of get togethers with friends and family.

Unfortunately you cannot have your cake and eat it to. You cannot be both private and public at the same time. You need to keep these two things separate. So feel free to keep messaging and following me on facebook you will still see updates. However I will not actually be posting there just cross posting from here. All of my posts in the future will get stamped with a CC share alike license just to cover my ass.

See you online.

Ioptron Smartphone eyepiece adapter

This is going to be a unboxing/review/photo show case of the new Ioptron Smartphone eyepiece adapter. Get yours here : Ioptron smart phone adapter They are going quick!

So as most people know I am an amateur astronomer that is functioning on a shoe string budget. Which is great, I am content to keep up on the science and use my modest scope to browse the skies and look at some nice stuff. But all of us get the itch sooner or later to take pictures. It’s kind of like saying you bagged a major fish but have no photo to show it.

However CCD cameras are super expensive and you need to drag your laptop outside. Now we are talking you need tracking systems and and equitorial mount. And this is just the entry level stuff. You then need to focus your shots do multiple exposures and use software to stack your exposure. Okay I would love to be doing all this great stuff but as I said I am working on a shoestring here.

So imagine my excitement when I read the latest Sky and Telescope and saw the ioptron phone adapter. I was instantly like hey I can’t believe no one has thought of this before! It was cheap and seemed fairly intuitive. Yes no long exposures, no special imaging software no 800 dollar camera or 1500 dollar mount with drive. Just the convenience of my old Dobsonian mount and smart phone.

So what’s the 411 on the device?

  • Includes aluminum bracket that fits most smartphone brands
  • Includes 12.5mm fully coated PL eyepiece
  • Fits smartphones from 58mm up to 96mm wide (2.28 inches up to 3.77 inches wide)
  • Fits smartphones with thickness up to 14mm (0.55 inches)

It will definitely fit most phones. It fits my Wife’s Galaxy S3 no problem as well as my HTC one M7.  The 12.5mm eyepiece is a bit more than you would want for viewing the moon or open clusters but is right where you want it for planetary observing and globulars. will they eventually sell an eyepiece for widefield? I don’t see why not because this thing is threaded so it could accept other eyepieces.

The Unboxing:

It comes in a nice foam lined box. I appreciate this because most of my gear is kept loose so this will protect it well.


You might be wondering… hey wait do they have black? Yes they do but it’s out of stock and I wasn’t waiting. hahaha! The box also had instructions but it’s pretty self explanatory so I am not sure what the point of that was.

Here is the mount hooked up to my Wife’s phone.


Every thing is controlled by one thumbscrew. One of the issues that I found is that if you don’t have things squished together real nice things will slide around. This is especially true in the cold. If you put this together where it was warm and then went out into the cold you will have to adjust it at some point. for the most part I found that there wasn’t too much movement and the construction is really solid.

Here is the camera mounted to the draw tube.


What I did find is that the camera when mounted is ever so slightly off from using a standard eyepiece. So this means you will need to readjust your finder scope with the camera mounted in order to get accurate centering. At least that is what I found.

The Views!!

In my haste to try this out I kind of forgot my star map in the house. So I didn’t get a variety of targets in. I am going to try some other targets as time goes on so I will keep updating my blog with what is working and not working. An exciting aspect will be video especially with redspot transits and solar conjunctions.

  • The Moon: The moon provides good views
  • Open Clusters: Terrible not a wide enough field.
  • Stars: Yes stars can be photographed
  • Planets: According to the documentation yes haven’t tried yet.
  • Deep Sky: from what I can tell things like Andromeda should work dim objects probably won’t though
  • Globulars: Yes these will definitly work from what I can tell will test later
  • Nebula: bright ones like orion and dumbell may work dim ones will not.

Here is some of the views I have so far. remind you no special processing in post these are as they were snapped. don’t forget to click on the image and select the magnifying glass for full resolution.

All photos were taken with and Orion XT8 F/5.9 with 96 X Magnification

IMAG0251 IMAG0252 IMAG0254 IMAG0253 IMAG0250

Here is a quick snap of Aldebran. Nothing special but you can distinguish the color and is did resolve into a nice point which is good



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