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Moon, Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter

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Here's a photo of the dual conjunction that just happened this evening. In the upper left are the Moon and Venus. In the lower right are Mercury and Jupiter (Jupiter is slightly brighter on the right).


It was shot with a Canon EOS 40D at ISO 1600. The lens was a Canon EF28-135 IS lens. It was shot at 35mm and F4.5 at 1/10 second.

Some minor processing was done in Photoshop (just tone curves and resampling to half resolution).

Happy new year!

Big Blue Telescope

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My previous major obsession before beginning electric carconversions was telescopes. I built two - a 6" f/8 Newtonian (which I ground my own mirror for), and this beast - a 12.5" f/6 Newtonian:


I was getting it out of storage and cleaning it up in preparation for taking it to a Boy Scout troop meeting. And then I realized - this would be a fun model to Sketchup. So I did. Here is an "x-ray" view:
You can find a PDF wireframe of the same perspective view here.

Some statistics:

Weight: 120 lbs (including 40 lbs of steel shot and a 10-lb counterweight at the back)
Height: 84 inches
Primary Mirror Diameter: 12.5 inches / 320mm
Focal Length: 75 inches / 1920mm
Focuser: 2" NGF Crayford-style low-profile
Finder scope: 8x50 with crosshairs

It's not the best scope for astrophotos (no motor drive), but I did do a composite photo of the moon with it a few years ago:

Scenes from a Window

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It's time to play a game I like to call... Scenes from a Window.

Today, on the way back to the hotel from the office, we managed to find ourselves in the middle of a huge pilgrimage - related to the Palkhi Festival. This necessitated a scenic tour through Pune, since the main roads were blocked. So, I got a couple of pictures along the way.

First, a temple (it looks like the god Ganesh peeking through the door there):


Here are a few pilgrims. Many of them carried these orange flags. In addition to the people walking, there were thousands of people lining the route. Quite a cultural experience...


The next morning, I snapped this picture from my hotel window. This being the rainy monsoon season, the air is generally clearer than when I was here in November, so you can see all the way to the mountains (when it is not raining).


In general, I was surprised to find that the summer monsoon climate was not as hot and muggy as I was lead to believe. It was *much* better than Atlanta in …

Back to India

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I'm back to India for work this week. I won't have really any time for sightseeing this time, so instead, I will treat you to an installment of "Things I Could See Out My Window"

First, the coast of Greenland - rising out of clouds over the North Atlantic:


Next, crossing the coast of the Caspian Sea:


The fun thing about this trip was that I got to see two sunsets on the same flight. We flew into shadow just outside Chicago, but as we hit the northernmost point of our great circle route, we got back into sunshine, and then sunset just before we landed in Delhi.

A 10-hour layover in Delhi was entirely at night. So, this is what I could see out my window:


And, finally, here are some nice mountains I could see out the window of my car as we drove from Mumbai to Pune:


There may or may not be subsequent installments of "What I Could See Out My Window" for this trip.

ADL successor

Way back in 1987, Tim Brengle and I created Adventure Definition Language and released the source code to Usenet. A small community has followed it over the years, and I even designed and implemented a successor language in the late 1990s, OADL. Recently, there has been renewed interest in ADL, so I thought I would post the documentation for OADL. You can find it here.

Unfortunately, I don't have time to support it, so I won't be posting the source code to OADL for now. Maybe someday...

Edit - here is the source to a program written in OADL for your entertainment - 99 bottles of beer.