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Canterbury Astronomical Society

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  1. Yesterday
  2. Electron launch schedule

    Analysis of yesterday's launch attempt is complete. The launch was aborted due to rising liquid oxygen temperatures - the result of a LOx chilldown bleed schedule not compatible with the warm conditions of the day. Electron performed exactly as it should by carrying out a safe auto-sequence abort. The fix is simple. Next attempt tomorrow! Stay tuned for updates.
  3. Last week
  4. Auroral activity

    Thanks Simon and Terry I have built a simple mirror magnetometer using a laser diode and a first-surface mirror attached to neodymium magnets about 9 metres distant. Very fiddly to set up and currently only shows By. It has a resolution of about 0.025 degrees so very clearly picks up the regular diurnal cycle in deviation (something I only learned about by playing with this toy). Once I have that reasonably well characterised along with any temperature sensitivity, I hope to be able to subtract it and perhaps more easily reveal disturbances in the solar wind/magnetic field. Obviously it all has to be well away from ferrous metals :) Alas, it's not data-logging (yet) so there's not too many readings 11 pm - 6 am!! best wishes G
  5. Electron launch schedule

    Looks like she went...... - scroll to 2 hours on the video post above
  6. Electron launch schedule

    Tuesday updates : Currently targeting no earlier than 16:00 NZDT (3:00 UTC) for #StillTesting launch attempt. Weather looking good, but we're continuing to monitor. Webcast can be viewed at Live coverage will begin approx. 15 minutes prior to launch attempt.
  7. Spring/Summer is always busy for us with animals etc so the last months have really been a focus on updating the AP setup. I now have the EdgeHD 11 now and finally got all the Moonlite focuser and stepper motor / controller to allow me to install autofocus options from SGP. The stepper is controlled from a small USB interface that is driven from SGP without much fuss. I managed to aquire a focal reducer for it .. damm that things lumpy!!! I also updated my CGEM, sold to another CAS member, and bought a new CGX mount which I am blown away by, really been a superb purchase. And the new belt drives in the CGX really lovely. The whole mount is even bigger than the CGEM and it's now going on a pier in an obs as I can't totter round the garden with this! I had one mishap with it - during some trials it was living under a cover over a weekend and a NW blew up and relocated my picnic table that I operate from. That lodged itself against the CGX and knocked it over! (lucky with no OTA on!!!) - It bent the CW arm and a saddle knob :( Jamie kindly bent out the CW arm - and in the meantime I asked Celestron for a replacement which was sent FOC to NZ ! Can't complain at that!! Speaking of which the CGX has a Bintel 2 yr RTB warranty and return shipping inc'd - really was a no brainer given the costs from the US for a Losmandy G11 or HDX110. I had one surprise - the CGX is slightly different to the CGEM in that it has no through axis polar alignment which means the Polemaster didn't mount! I bought an extra dovetail for under OTA mounting and an ADM Polemaster adapter - so now the Polemaster mounts on the front of the Edge11. During the winter I decided I wanted to look at new cameras and filters - particularly as I wanted to do some narrowband imaging - sick of moonlit nights I hope NB imaging will help with that to an extent. After some deliberation I bought an ASI1600MM-Cool camera, an EFW8 filter wheel and after a HUGE amount of reading, a set of Astronomik LRGB filters + 6nm Ha / Oiii and Sii filters! So next stop is to get the obs and pier done before winter - first job is to finish a field shelter for the horses and then I can crack on Kind of looking forward to Christmas / NY - hope we might get some less cloud and more sky time - I have some northerly targets I want to try but every night the cloud rolls in off the ocean or I am fogged out!!! I can also get some later nights / early mornings and still survive next day!! Don't know how Gary does it!!!
  8. Electron launch schedule

    The stream will go live 12 minutes before launch, but a countdown timer in the bottom left suggests 2pm? Not sure what this is
  9. Electron launch schedule

    Looking like today is the day Conditions are looking good for a #StillTesting Electron launch attempt today. A launch could happen any time between 14:30 - 18:30 NZDT. More updates and livestream details to follow throughout the day! I'll try and post the livestream link if I can - but feel free to do so if you get it before me.
  10. Auroral activity

    have the same unit .. the sensors are highly sensitive to temperature and need to be in a drain pipe and buried at least 1m down - also worry about anything magnetic that moves .. cars.. garage door.. the mower etc ! http://www.reeve.com/Documents/SAM/Reeve_SAMSensorBurialDepth.pdf You should get pretty similar cyclic waves but they can appear flattened out depending on scales for the price they are pretty awesome units :)
  11. Electron launch schedule

    Still Testing is on the pad at Launch Complex 1 and looking healthy. Ideal launch conditions open up Monday. Currently targeting no earlier than 2.30 pm Monday 11 December NZDT for a launch attempt. (Sunday, 8.30 pm EST/5.30 pm PST/Monday 1.30 UTC).
  12. Despite media reports suggesting a Friday afternoon launch, its very clear nothing will happen until Saturday afternoon at the earliest. Electron will be rolled onto the pad at Launch Complex 1 today for final #StillTesting prep. We're targeting no earlier than 2.30 pm, Saturday 9 December NZDT for a launch attempt. At this stage weather is not looking good for Sunday either, so an attempt could still be pushed to Monday NZDT. Rocket Lab is due to roll its Electron rocket out onto the pad at the company's Māhia Peninsula launch complex, at the start of a 10-day launch window. It will be the second test launch for the 23-metre carbon-fibre Electron rocket, which is capable of carrying a 150kg payload into orbit. The maiden test launch was in May, when an Electron rocket became the first orbital-class launch vehicle to reach space from a private launch facility.
  13. Earlier
  14. Auroral activity

    Hi Graham, It is flux gate 3 axis. Home built using SAM (Simple Auroral Magnetometer) circuitry. Kit is available on line. It is well designed and comes with excellent manual. Took me a couple of weeks to build and setup. The slow drift I think is due to temperature. I have it buried in a compost bin with hot water cylinder lagging around it but should really be a meter underground. It is actually a variometer - it resets to all zero at midnight UTC.
  15. Auroral activity

    Spikes around 0300 UTC (3pm) may be significant
  16. Full Moon (04/12/2017)

    Fantastic photo, thank you Gary. I set up my Dob about 2300, the moon was surrounded by cloud, but bright enough to get good viewing. The long streaks of cloud only partly obscured the moon, and the streaks made a longish eerie rainbow pattern, it was so beautiful to look at. I just gazed for ages, then the clouds parted and the moon was much brighter, I needed to use my moon filter, spent a long time looking at the craters and dark spots, plus the little diamond like lights sparkling on the surface. One of my best nights ever for lunar viewing. Then it started to cloud over, could only see Canopus and Orion faintly. Time to pack away and off to bed about 0145
  17. Auroral activity

    Terry, this is interesting. Is your instrument a flux gate device or what? Home-built? It's a topic I'm just starting to learn a little about. cheers Graham T
  18. Full Moon (04/12/2017)

    I stepped outside around 22:00 to take a photo of the so-called "supermoon" tonight. It was a bit indistinct, sitting low in the east and with light, gauzy clouds making their way across the face of it. However, given that it was at closest approach (perigee) and a mere 355,548 km (or so) away, I thought I would chance a frame or two (or about 400, in this case - video is a wonderful thing). Photo stuff: 392 frames @ 1/30 sec. each; ISO 100; Canon 6D with Tamron 500mm f/8 catadioptric lens.
  19. Meteor showers

    I will come out about 10
  20. Meteor showers

    Yea it did the same in the city too so I decided against heading out n just peeked at the moon 😊 I will make sure to post in the correct thread in future...thanks
  21. Meteor showers

    You should have posted a new post in observatory activity, thhen everyone would have got an immediate alert. It clouded over here after sunset.
  22. Meteor showers

    Anybody out at the observatory tonight? The weather app says its gonna be clear skies at West Melton and I was hoping to get out there.
  23. Meteor showers

    Yes m praying for clear skies now that I can get back to star gazing

    Several CAS members were fortunate enough to experience first-hand the total eclipse in North America on August 21 2017 and they have agreed to share their experiences with us. There will be photos and stories of what they saw and tales of what not to do! Join us for a night of jaw-dropping pictures and discover what happens when the moon occults the sun and day turns to night!
  25. Meteor showers

    And the BBQ is on the 9th...
  26. Auroral activity

    Spikes around 0300 UTC (3pm) may be significant
  27. Auroral activity

    Interesting - my magnetometer here has shown no such activity. Just regular diurnal variation that is normal for here . No spikes although BZ usually follows BX more closely.. Moot point I guess looking at the weather.
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