Setting Up Field Astrophotography

Telescope Setup at Twilight
Setting up the telescope for lunal viewing as the sun sets

The clear summer skies are upon us it seems, so my nephew and I setup for some viewing and photography last night. For more of a how-to-tutorial I should at some point talk equipment and setup but I’ll save that for another day. The skies were clear last night but the atmospheric conditions were not the best for planetary astrophotography, so we stuck with “night shots” and the Milky Way.

Continue reading “Setting Up Field Astrophotography”

Not One is Missing Among 10 Billion Trillion of Them :: Isaiah 40:26

The Milky Way Galaxy and Jacob

I have been walking, and sometimes running, through the book of Isaiah over the last week or two. There are so many incredible passages in Isaiah, but this morning I came across something that made me stop, it was just one phrase, just four words, “not one is missing” (Isaiah 40.26.d). This passage, in context is Isaiah 40:25-26, is talking about the pagan worship practices, many of Isaiah’s contemporaries had failed to resist, which now surrounded the Israelites. They often worshipped astrological phenomena, but Isaiah here is saying that Israel’s God is the only thing worthy of worship, and he created the stars themselves.

Apparently astronomers say there were about 5,000 stars visible in ancient Israel, so saying that God created these stars would have been an awe-inspiring thing (and it reminded me of the star images above from last summer).[1] What is always so awe-inspiring to me, in a time and culture where not many people worship the actual stars, astronomers now estimate there are more than 400 billion stars in our own Milky Way galaxy, there are 125 billion galaxies in the universe, making the total number of stars 1×1022, or about 10 billion trillions. If this isn’t mind boggling enough to contemplate, Isaiah says God knows all these stars by name! In His own strength He created, controls, and sustains millions upon millions of stars, each one of which He, amazingly, has named (cf. Ps. 147:4).[2]

I’m not even sure I can fully understand what 10 billion trillion is in a numerical order. The only thing I could think to compare a number like that to is something huge, like our national debt which is around 15.6 trillion. Even something we are told is as huge as the national debt looks absolutely minuscule when compared to how many stars God has created. The point being of course, if God knows the name of every single star, such a God will surely never forget even one of his own people. After all, there are only about 7 billion of us for God to remember!

[1] See EXIF Data of Star shot above on Flickr

[2] John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-), Is 40:25–26.

cf. confer, compare

Creation Proclaims the Milky Way Galaxy on the Summer Solstice

As I mentioned in my blog post last night we were going to try to get some shots of the Milky Way Galaxy, and these above are what I ended up with last night. There are so many different aspects of creation but this one always blows my mind. I love how Paul puts it in Romans 8:20-25

…ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

The lights at night out where we live are always interesting. Some nights it’s so dark you really can’t see your hand in front of your face, but most of the time we have a good bit of “glow” from Auburn-Opelika on one side and several other cities on the other side, but they are farther away. The shots of the Milky Way above (the first three) were taken when it was very low in the night sky facing south east. Turn around and you see the difference between the glow facing south and the glow facing Auburn. That last image still shows a good bit of stars, but nothing like the shots from the other side of the sky, and that shot was an entire f-stop longer (in other words the shot in the direction of Auburn let in twice as much light as the shots facing the Milky Way and showed less stars). Still, either way, the number of stars visible is always just amazing to me. Thanks goes to my nephew Jake who stood in and modeled for the first shot and explained to me what I was looking at in the night sky.

The North Star and Long Exposure Star Trails

If you have been following the progress of our tree and tree swing, it now has just about no leaves on it at all, so last night I decided to take advantage of the very dark night out here and do a long exposure of the tree showing the North Star.  This shot was a single frame, 3 hour exposure with another 3 hour noise reduction process.  I started the exposure when I went to bed and it finished around 4am.  Showing star trails are a little easier with a film exposure but this one turned out pretty good. The tree looks like it is leaning over to the side because it was shot with a 14mm lens pointed almost straight up at the sky.  I am actually standing about 5 feet or so from the tree.

You can just see the North Star behind the right side of the tree.  I couldn’t actually see it when I setup the tripod and I was just shooting for somewhere close to the center of the frame.  Missed it to the left by a little but close enough.

The tree is the same one you see in the previous posts, here, here, here, here, and even here.  Some day I will put all the tree shots together in one post.  It is pretty neat to me to see the changes in one single location, sort of like a very long time lapse.  For those of you still wondering, no, I did not sit out there all night with the camera, I just set the exposure time to 3 hours and hoped that a deer or other large animal didn’t tip over my tripod.

Star Trails Over the House in a Nature Kind of Day

If you are new to my blog, welcome, glad you came by. I usually do a wrap up of the day, called my daily post, and this is it. Not always the most exciting post in the world, but sometimes, days are just normal days.

I try to keep up with a quick daily post for myself as much as anything else. Looking back, I can remember things I never could have remembered before without writing them down. So, in a nut shell, that is what this post is all about.

I took this photo of my house, late last night, so I thought I would go ahead and include it for today’s post. The sky was clear with no moon. First time I have attempted to photograph our house at night, I am sure it won’t be the last (you may have to click on the larger version to see the star trails, if interested).

Please do excuse the boxes on the patio, thanks.

May 5, 2008

Today was a day spent at the office without leaving, which is fine, since I work out of my home. I got pretty much a little of everything done today, but it was mostly work with a little Twitter. Tomorrow will prove to be a very busy day as we take all our processed orders from today into town and do all our various tasks when we hook up with everyone in Auburn/Opelika.

Nature in View

Today was a nature viewing kind of day. It started off with three deer wandering through the pasture and into the pond. They did a nice slow walk all the way across the width of the property and ran off across the road to a graveyard near by.

After they left, we had a very loud pair of Canadian Geese they landed like a bomber without engines into the pond. They managed to take a bath leaving a ton of feathers behind when they left.

I had a headache that just wouldn’t let go so I decided to take an early walk around the perimeter and once back into the deeper part of the woods here I came up onto a Whip-poor-will sleeping in the leaves. I had never seen one before, and apparently they are not easily seen since they are nocturnal.

Seems I was walking in his sleeping area. As I made my second lap he was still up in the trees moving around from branch to branch waiting for me to leave no doubt.

Top 10 Stars of the Week, May 5

This is my normal weekend link love list from my starred items in my rss feed reader. There were way to many to list this week but a few stood out and I have them listed below. Thanks for a good week of reading to those below.

There were to many to dial it down to 10, so here are the top 15 for you.

Top 10 15 Stars of the Week, April 29 – May 5

via Vandelay Website Design by Vandelay Design on 4/28/08 This post was written by Jacob Gube of Six Revisions. Flash is unparalleled when it comes to providing users a highly rich,

via SEO – by Aaron Wall on 4/29/08 Welcome to GoogleNet! Hitwise recently mentioned that Google controls over 1/3 of UK web traffic.

via Daily Blog Tips by Daniel Scocco on 4/29/08 Bloggers and webmasters know that every single visitor helps to build up traffic, right? If that is the case, you should make sure that Google

via Google Operating System by Ionut Alex Chitu on 4/29/08

via Online Marketing Blog by Lee Odden on 4/29/08 Online Marketing Blog manages a list of over 500 search marketing blogs called the BIGLIST, but it’s not ordered other than

via Blogging Experiment by Max Davis on 4/29/08 Ah, how great it must be to be a make money “guru”, right?

via Chad Jarnagin by chad on 4/29/08

via Elance Blog by Guest_Blogger on 4/29/08 No doubt you’ve heard a lot about Facebook, and you might have even read Anita Campbell’s most recent blog post about why you

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 4/30/08 Today I was scanning through some emails from readers and it struck me that so many of those that I hear from are suffering from a

via SEO – by Aaron Wall on 4/30/08 Summize is a conversational search engine which allows you to search Twitter in realtime. Useful for finding customer feedback even

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 5/1/08 Yesterday I wrote about the problem of blogger inferiority complex and how often as bloggers we can limit our potential by defining ourselves negatively.

via techipedia | tamar weinberg by Tamar Weinberg on 5/1/08 Last month, I wrote about the ease of FriendFeed to spy on your friends. In other words, I can check someone’s Friendfeed page and

via Network Blogging Tips by Jennifer on 5/2/08 Sometimes the plain old blog post, seems well, plain and old. Spice up your blog with a variety of posts.

via Xefer on 5/1/08 Below is a segment from a scatter plot generated using a specific Twitter user’s “tweet” data, gathered via Yahoo Pipes and rendered

via openswitch by Ben Gray on 5/4/08 I’m addicted to Twitter. And ever since Adobe released the alpha version of AIR for Linux I’ve been eager to try some of the Twitter

Top 10 Stars of the Week, April 28

I am going to try to get back to doing this post once a week like I use to do, but for now, here is the latest version of this past weeks starred items from my Google Reader. A complete list is shown on the sidebar to the far right, but these are some posts from the previous week that caught my eye.

It is really amazing how many quality blogs there are now. I now have 686 feeds in my reader. Yes, not all are quite the premium material, but with so many good articles to choose from it is hard to narrow it down to 10, but, here they are.

Top 10 Stars of the week of April 21st

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 4/22/08

image by Jeff Bauche

Yesterday I wrote about being a ruthless blogger and named a number of areas that I find helpful to have more harsh boundaries in with the hope of it helping me become more productive and focused…

via The Blog Entrepreneur by Bill on 4/21/08

If you are trying to make money blogging then you have no doubt become well versed with the typical methods that bloggers use to try and make money online. The problem is that you and every other one

via by Ades on 4/23/08

Author info: This is a guest post by Alan Johnson, the author of The Online Business Handbook. If you are interested in reading about something, you can rest assured that the information you are looking for is just one click away. If you want to talk to someone, all you have to do is pick up…

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 4/24/08

@happygirl08 asks about how to – “get more relevant readers to your blog/ mailing list??”

Good question – some bloggers tend to focus on getting more…

via FreelanceSwitch – The Freelance Blog by on 4/26/08

Freelancing can be a rewarding career, with many benefits over being a salaried employee. But success in freelancing means there are a lot of things you shouldn’t do – things I’ve done over the past twenty…

via Shoemoney – Skills To Pay The Bills by ShoeMoney on 4/27/08

Cathlyn asks:

For affiliate newbies, should they really by By Rosalind Gardner’s book, the Super Affiliate Handbook? (?? Yes, even knowing you are…

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 4/28/08

This past few days have seen me experimenting with a new type of post here at ProBlogger – Speed Posting.

I set myself the challenge to answer 20 or so questions from my…

via Caroline Middlebrook by Caroline Middlebrook on 4/28/08

What is Forced Continuity?

I had not actually heard of the term “forced continuity” before last week even though I have encountered it many times. It is where you…

via Bruce Clay, Inc. Blog by Lisa Barone on 4/28/08

Hey, friends. We’ve got a busy week ahead here at Bruce Clay, so let’s just jump right into some of the big stories of the day. Grab a…

via Blogging Tips by Elaine Ramos on 4/28/08

If you are looking for additional way to add spice into your blog, why not try having guest bloggers?

Guest bloggers could be considered as another way of livening up the blog since it brings a fresh voice and at the same adds value to the…

Top 10 Stars of the Week, March 31

RSS Items ReadHere are my top 10 stars of last week. For those who are new to reading this blog, this is a post I normally do on a weekly basis that I haven’t done in a while so I thought I would bring it back this week. Each week as I go through my rss reader I start several articles for future reading. I try to make this list a quick recap of the previous week’s posts from various sources around the Internet. Not always blog posts, but most of the time they are articles written by other bloggers.

I have approximately 700 feeds that I go through each week, and as always, there were some excellent articles written last week. Below you will find a few that stood out to me.

Top 10 Stars of the week of Mar 24 to Mar 31

New Owner Lays It Out There

via Blogging Experiment by Max Davis on 3/28/08

Hey there, this is Max Davis. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Ben has sold his amazing website and many of you are interested to see what is going to happen next.

Linking To Differing Opinion

via Andy Beard – Niche Marketing by Andy Beard on 2/18/08

There is nothing wrong with having strong, even biased opinion about a product or service, as long as you provide a basis for that

Designers and Communication Skills: Why and How to Improve

via Vandelay Website Design by Vandelay Design on 3/26/08

Earlier this week I posted a group interview with several established and successful designers. One of the questions that was asked to each participant was “What do you feel are the most important skills

The Right Advertising Revenue for Your Blog

via Blogging Tips by kelbycarr on 3/25/08

If you have a blog, odds are good you’d like to bring in a few bucks. There are actually several options for doing this, but not all will work

A Step By Step Guide To Writing About Stuff You Know Very Little About

via Freelance Folder by Ram Karthik on 3/27/08

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing only on a handful of topics, but what if a client asks you to write on a topic you know nothing (or very little) about? Can you afford to turn down work?

10 Things You Need to Know About WordPress 2.5

via Technosailor by Aaron Brazell on 3/18/08

WordPress is about to release version 2.5 into the wild (It just hit Release Candidate yesterday so the release date, though officially

Ten Killer Interviewing Tips

via Freelance Folder by Keith Johnson on 3/30/08

As a Technical Writer, I have had to interview hundreds of computer professionals to better understand the technology that I would be documenting. Programmers, Quality Assurance, Implementation,

Goodbye 800×600?

via Blogging Tips by John Leschinski on 3/29/08

As I was redesigning my own site I debated what resolution to use. More and more sites are optimized for screens at 1024×768, and the WC3 reports 80% of users have monitors that big or bigger. Even my…

Should I Change My Website Into a Blog?

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 3/29/08

“Hi Darren, I’ve got a website at which I’ve had for a few years and not really done much with. I’ve heard that blogs are a good way of building traffic and making money, should I change it to a blog?”

10 Things You Need to Know About WordPress 2.5

via Technosailor by Aaron Brazell on 3/18/08

WordPress is about to release version 2.5 into the wild (It just hit Release Candidate yesterday so the release date, though officially not known, is coming soon). If you’ve been using or have peeked at the demo site you will know the biggest change coming to WordPress with this release.

Top 15 Stars of the Week, December 3

This was a busy week for me and I didn’t get much posting done but my reader subscriptions were busy as ever. Looks like my feeds to a big jump this week to 498 feeds, but there were several added that were in a specific niche market for a website I am developing.

If you are not familiar with this list, each Monday morning I create a list of the top 15 posts from my reader from last week. You can see the entire list from the footer in the center where it says “starred items”. I am going to get right to the list since there were so many good articles posted last week.

Top 15 21 Stars of the week of Nov 26th to Dec 3rd

The Nasty Four-Letter Word That Keeps You From Writing

via Copyblogger by Brian Clark on 11/26/07

When it comes to the things that keep us from writing, you’ll see the usual villains pop up. Lack of time is a big one, as are the various other life distractions that take us away from the keyboard.

Writing for Multiple Blogs

via Vandelay Website Design by Vandelay Design on 11/26/07

Many bloggers either own multiple blogs or they write for others as well as their own. Those who aren’t writing for other blogs are missing out on a great opportunity to gain exposure and network with influential bloggers. For a few months I was posting 5-6 times per

Continue reading “Top 15 Stars of the Week, December 3”

Top 15 Stars of the Week, November 26

Google Reader Starred ItemsI hope everyone had a wonderful week last week, it was certainly one of the more quiet weeks online since many of the U.S. blog writers were on vacation or just taking a little bit of a break.

I took a little bit of a break, on the computer anyway, and did a whole lot of outside “work” over the week, along with watching the multitude of football games that were played over the later half of the week.

Week In Review

There were several Thanksgiving day posts on various topics and I also tried to post something with a little meat to it about thinking globally, Thanksgiving is a U.S. Holiday, Think Global, which I think all of us, especially here in the U.S., should keep in mind when operating on the Internet where articles don’t see political borders.

There was still the musings on the Google PageRank, I guess that is here to stay, but there were also several news stories that came out of eBay, Overstock, and many of the online retailers in preparation for black Friday. I don’t normally star these items since they are very visible by all, but I have put some of them on the share list (see bottom left of the footer). There was still a great list of high quality articles I have listed below.

Top 15 Post and Feed Information

My feed reader is now up to about 370 subscriptions, not to many added last week since I tried to take a little time off myself. Something I have found feeds to be very useful for is searching and creating its own feed. I have posted about this before, but displaying a feed from these feeds can be quite useful (see footer), especially for niche sites where you can target information directly to your visitor.

If you are not familiar with this post, it is a weekly recap of the Internet happenings (as seen by me) from the prior week. As always, if you have other good articles to suggest I would love to hear about them. Even though it was a vacation week of sorts, there were still many high quality posts over the week and I have listed them below for you.

Top 15 Stars of the week of Nov 19th-26th An Underrated Link Building Tool

via Vandelay Website Design by Vandelay Design on 11/19/07

On the subject of social media, Digg and StumbleUpon seem to get almost all of the attention right now. While the traffic potential for these two is considerably higher than other social media sites, can be one of the most powerful resources for your link building efforts.

5 Powerful Techniques to Help Your Posts Stand Out

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Skellie on 11/19/07

In this post regular contributer Skellie from helps you differentiate your content.

Blogs are now so popular that it’s very hard to find a niche that isn’t already saturated. There are probably dozens or hundreds of other bloggers writing on the topics you cover.

The Flagship Blog Project: Creating Multiple Blogs for Profit in 30 Day Cycles

via Dosh Dosh – Making Money Online by Maki on 11/19/07

Popular blogs are often read daily by a large audience. Reaching thousands of people, popular blogs can widely influence opinions and are terrific personal branding platforms as well

How to Create a Blog That People Really Digg

via Copyblogger by Jonathan Morrow on 11/19/07

Have you ever noticed that some blogs seem to rise to the top of Digg over and over again?

You might think that they’ve discovered some magic formula for getting attention, built a “Digg culture” on their blog, or they just get all of their friends to Digg their posts.

And they might.

40 Resources for WordPress Theme Designers

via Vandelay Website Design by Vandelay Design on 11/20/07

One of the reasons WordPress is the most popular blogging platform is its theme system. WordPress allows its users with almost unlimited design options when modifying or designing themes. This is a collection of 40 resources that every theme designer can

Why TLA (and others) has to follow Google

via by Ades on 11/20/07

There are couple of reasons why TLA and its counterparts LinkWorth, ReviewMe, and P-P-P… etc should be considering “nofollow” tags.

Are You Sabotaging Your Social Stories?

via Blogging Experiment by Ben Cook on 11/20/07

I’ve been a participant in the social media scene, both as a reader and content producer, for a quite a while now. I’ve had several stories I’ve written become popular and I’ve had even more submissions

International Copyright on the Web: What Rules Apply to Me and What Court Will Apply Them?

via SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog by Sarah Bird, Esquire on 11/21/07

Posted by Sarah Bird, Esquire

May it Please the Mozzers,
I present myself to you as your legal resource for all things SEO/M related.
A graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, I have spent the last three years litigating complex and diverse legal issues. With much gratitude and enthusiasm, I recently accepted SEOmoz’s invitation to bring my expertise to the SEO/M community.

The SEO Book Blog is Now Creative Commons Licensed

via SEO – by Aaron Wall on 11/22/07

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

When I published the SEO glossary I made it creative commons licensed. I wanted to do that with all the blog posts on SEO Book too, but just got around to doing so. If you like any of the blog posts here feel free to do what you like with them.

Readers vs Visitors – Whose Needs are You Meeting?

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 11/23/07

The following post on meeting the needs of Readers and Visitors is a guest post by Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on WordPress.

Smashing Magazine asks Who Is Your Visitor?, using some new research into the preferences and characteristics of the average visitor to your blog and website.

10 Things To Do With Your Old Computer

via The Computer Zone by Adam McKerlie on 11/23/07

One of the constants in this world is the fact that technology will change, and it will change quickly. The average lifespan of a computer these days is between 2 to 5 years. Since technology is changing so quickly this equates to a lot of garbage from your old

Bonnie Brown On Her Years at Google

via Google Blogoscoped by Philipp Lenssen on 11/23/07

Bonnie Brown was working as massage therapist at Google from 1999 to 2004. Before that, she ran a private school for 10 years. Now, Bonnie is traveling and also wrote a book called Giigle: How I Got Lucky Massaging Google. I met up with her on Google Talk (the transcript below has spellchecking and punctuation added).

Does Commenting on Blog Posts Really Increase Your Visitor Traffic – An Experiment

via by Mark on 11/21/07

One of my new goals here at MyTropicalEscape will be to experiment (I am a trained scientist after all) with helpful techniques and tips (whether it’s attracting more traffic or making money) that other bloggers are suggesting and then report back on my success, or lack thereof.

30 Beautiful Blog Designs

via Daily Blog Tips by Daniel on 11/23/07

The folks from Smashing Magazine are always looking for beautiful designs around the Internet, and this time they published a list with 30 blogs that feature an appealing and unique look.

Post Frequency, Case Study on 5 Blogs

via by Ades on 11/24/07

This is a follow up case study on the 3 parts series that I had previously blogged – “Guide on blog posting frequency”

Lately, it seemed to me that, post frequency for the blogs that I read regularly, started decreasing i.e they started posting less. In order to to prove if my assumption was correct, I selected five blogs and recorded their number of daily posts, for each day starting from October 1 through November 22 (about two months).

Be Brave – Break Your Blog

via ProBlogger Blog Tips by Darren Rowse on 11/24/07

The following post on ‘breaking your blog’ and setting up test blogs was submitted by Michael Martin from Pro Blog Design.

One of the best kept secrets in design is that we don’t always know what we’re doing. Understanding design theory and color and all the


That wraps up a good list of blogs and articles from last week. There are always so many great feeds from the week it is hard to decide on 15 or 20 to wrap up an entire week, which is why I go over many times. What were your favorites for the week? I have going on 400 feeds in my reader but there is always room for one more, let me know what you suggest below.