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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 09:11 PM
Number of posts: 45,851

Journal Archives

Detect known exoplanet with a DSLR and telephoto lens

Here's some science you can try at home, kids!

It's amazing what you can do with enough raw computer power and extremely modest instruments.


My target was HD189733b, which seems to be one of the easier transits to capture. It is also right next to M27, making it easy to find. I used the ETD (exoplanet transit database) site to determine transit times for my location. For my location, WV, there was a transit starting at 3:45am local time, ending at 5:35am local time on May 13th.

I used an unmodified Canon t3i and a Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 telephoto lens stepped with a 72-52 step down ring to about f/5.7. I took 15 second exposures every 30 seconds at iso200.

I then loaded 272 canon raw files into iris to register and align the images, and then used the automatic photometry tool in iris to generate the raw data. I used 4 reference stars on plus the HD189733 target star. I then ran 5 reference stars for a baseline. Here are the resulting light curve plots.

Meteorite trail photos

I've been going through my sky shots that I took for my contest entry and so far I've found two meteorite trails out of maybe five percent of the total shots I've looked at so far..

Nothing spectacular but they are kind of hard to get...

On The Beach

NASA-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?


A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to "precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common."

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary 'Human And Nature DYnamical' (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

"The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent."

Read the rest of the article at the link.

Asimov's guide to understanding people...

Since we have been talking about Asimov lately I thought this quote from Foundation's Edge was interesting.

“There’s nothing to it. All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else. We’re in no way different ourselves... You show me someone who can’t understand people and I’ll show you someone who has built up a false image of himself.”

Chapter 11 “Sayshell” section 3, p. 205

"If you suspect that my interest in the Bible is going to inspire me with sudden enthusiasm"

If you suspect that my interest in the Bible is going to inspire me with sudden enthusiasm for Judaism and make me a convert of mountain‐moving fervor and that I shall suddenly grow long earlocks and learn Hebrew and go about denouncing the heathen — you little know the effect of the Bible on me. Properly read, it is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived. -Isaac Asimov

"I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it."

"I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time." -Isaac Asimov

The single most powerful moral statement the USA could make against Putin moving into Crimea

Put Dick and Dubya on trial for Iraq.

Extra points for conviction of war crimes.

DougJ @ Balloon-Juice: "I believe that trolling is the highest form of human expression."

DougJ is hands down the most brilliant troll I have ever seen in my extensive online wanderings, he mostly trolls conservatives including quite a few "journalists" but he is not above trolling his own OPs with sockpuppets too.


I believe that trolling is the highest form of human expression. Art, music, and literature are too often about fantasies, the notion that the world is beautiful, that human beings have some decency, things that no adult could possibly believe. Trolling, by contrast (when done properly), illustrates the most profound eternal truth, that people are mostly ignorant, delusional sociopaths. I believe that the Socratic method is just a sophisticated form of trolling since its goal is to get people to say things so stupid that they’re temporarily shocked into trying to think.

This clip of Alex Pareene on CNBC is trolling at its best. Pareene says Jamie Dimon should step down as head of JP Morgan because of all the JP Morgan scandals. Who knows if he’s serious or not — though his point about bad PR is more relevant than his interviewers want to admit — but he gets Maria Bartiromo to sputter “the New York Times!”, revealing to all that she’s a teahadist whack job who has no place in journalism.

The comments on this OP are worth a look too, for instance:

I love the sarcastic way Bartiromo shouted “Oh, the New York Times,” as if it were the National Enquirer or Weekly World News. It really is mind-boggling how often ostensibly media savvy people unthinkingly make complete asses of themselves on national TV. It’s like watching self-proclaimed gun experts repeatedly shoot themselves in the gut while cleaning their rifle collection.

What a Godlike power to tap into people's webcams and watch them when they think they are in privacy

Every move you make every step you take I'll be watching you

I can read your mind

Get in touch with the people Big Brother

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