A Not so Dramatiq Change: A Celery Alternative

🔖 code  astronomy 
Both Celery and Dramatiq are asynchronous task processing libraries. You’d use them when you want to be able to parallelize Python code, and you need more than the multiprocess module offers, like persistent distributes queues, automatic retries, and result handling. I’ve been using Celery for almost my entire career, and it’s treated me well. Recently I’ve started to become frustrated with it. There have been numerous regressions that have broken my code, as well as some totally inexplicable issues in the last few months (that last one is the reason I started looking for alternatives). Read more...

Imaging the Space Tesla

🔖 astronomy 

Back in the beginning of February SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket to much fanfare and excitement. This test launch also had a test payload: Starman, a mannequin in a prototype SpaceX space suit behind the wheel of a cherry red Tesla Roadster. Spaceman was successfully inserted into a heliocentric orbit and there he’ll remain for millions of years.

For a few days Spaceman was close enough to earth to be visible by professional grade telescopes. As an employee of a company that builds and deploys a network of robotic telescopes I had to see if I could get an image of this guy.

Dr. Tim lister and I both set up observations, but of course Tim’s (who studies near earth objects) came back in better quality. I did some stacking and scaling and ended up with a .gif. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Starman in 9 parts:

Starman GIF

The image consists of 9x32 second exposures on one of our 1 Meter telescopes in Cerro Tololo, Chile. The images were captured around 2018-02-09 08:43 UTC.

See if you can find the faintly visible galaxy in the top left corner of the image.

Godspeed, Starman.

Santa Barbara Solar System Ride

🔖 astronomy  cycling 

LCOGT has participated in this year’s Cyclemaynia event in the best way we know how: by geeking out over both cycling and astronomy at the same time.

I thought it would be neat to do a scale model of the solar system that people could ride in order to experience in order to gain a deeper appreciation of how vast the solar system really is.

2016-05-10-santa-barbara-solar-system-ride.markdown

100 Observations Logged on AstroChallenge!

🔖 featured  astrochallenge  astronomy  code 
I created AstroChallenge to scratch my own itch: to have a place to keep an observation journal for astronomy and to share it with the rest of the community. In that I believe I’ve succeeded, check out my profile and journal. Since then the word has gotten out and other astronomers have been logging their own observations. Now, only 2 weeks after making AstroChallenge public, over 100 observations have been logged! Read more...

Reviving fchart to Create Beautiful Astronomical Finder Charts

🔖 astronomy  code  astrochallenge 

I’ve spent a good deal of time in the last few days searching for a good library to draw star charts (finder charts) that I could use to integrate with AstroChallenge. While there are plenty of utilities to create star maps, they mostly consist of desktop software or websites that are not open source.


Eventually I found fchart which resembled was I was looking for. A set of python scripts with minimal dependencies that would output star maps! This I could use.


Using Django and PyEphem to Determine the Location of White Fuzzies

🔖 AstroChallenge  astronomy  code 

I’ve been working on new project recently called AstroChallenge. While the details of what exactly AstroChallenge is will have to come later, rest assured, it has to do with Astronomy.


One of the bits of information I’m interested in is whether a particular celestial object is visible in the sky or not. Given an observer’s latitude, longitude and elevation and an object’s right ascension and declination it becomes a straightforward calculation.


Photographing the Triangulum Galaxy

🔖 astronomy 
This will most likely be my last “Photographing X space thing” where X is some object we studied in Observational Astronomy at Cabrillo College. The first was Comet Jacques, a small icy object moving within our solar system. Next up was the beautiful Great Nebula in Orion, a star factory near to us in our own galaxy. Here finally we have the Triangulum Galaxy one of the closest galaxies in our local group. Read more...

Photographing the Great Nebula in Orion

🔖 astronomy 
The winter skies bring new treasures. The Great Nebula in Orion, also known as Messier 42, or just the Orion Nebula, is one of the brightest nebula in the night sky located in, you guessed it, Orion. The nebula is actually visible to the naked eye: to find it look at Orion and locate the 3 “stars” that make up his “sheath”. The middle star is not a star, it is the nebula. Read more...

Photographing Comet Jacques

🔖 astronomy 
This is Comet Jacques. There are many photos of it online, but this one is mine. This photo was taken on September 23rd, 2014 when the comet was about 1AU from earth, using a SBIG ST2000XCM color CCD camera mounted on a 12” Meade LX200. It was a little late to be photographing this comet, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to caputre it. And with all the excitement about the Rosetta mission recently, I thought it would be a great time to fix up the image. Read more...

How great is community college?

🔖 astronomy 

Pretty great.

I recently began taking classes at Cabrillo Community College in Santa Cruz California out of interest in astronomy. The college offers an AS that is pretty impressive: it requires an (expected) amount of physics classes but also includes many astronomy specific classes dealing with planetary science, cosmology and observational astronomy. I was surprised and impressed after I took a look at the catalog - it didn’t take me long to enroll.