Tag: Astronomy

Venus Transit: Live from Keck Observatory

June 5, 2012!

Follow this Link (Live from the Mauna Kea Summit on June 5, 2012!) to the live view of the June 5, 2012 Venus Transit “across” the Sun!

The Sun on June 2, 2012, photo taken with a Canon 60D, AT6RC telescope and a Baader solar film filter. Photo by Andrew Cooper.

The Sun on June 2, 2012, photo taken with a Canon 60D, AT6RC telescope and a Baader solar film filter. Photo by Andrew Cooper.

Check in often for the start up since all integral parts will have to be set up and again tweaked 🙂

Providing there are GOOD viewing conditions [fingers crossed for Good Luck, PLEASE], W. M. Keck Observatory is streaming video of the Venus Transit all day on June 5, 2012 Hawaii Time from their Mauna Kea Summit situated Observatories! You can also keep up with the events at Keck Observatory here –> Keck Observatory on Facebook! I watched some of the dry run today as Andy tested, tweaked and tested some more. It will be VERY cool providing their bandwidth will handle the viewer load for the day, you can watch it at the link above as much as you want to “tune” in or for as long as you have time for 😀 Drop by A Darker View now and then where Andy is posting many articles about the Transit as well as many other interesting tidbits of trivia and information 😀 Do remember to look down occasionally to be sure your feet are still on the ground 😉 HAPPY STAR GAZING!!!!


Yep! I suggested it. Again!

😀 You guessed it! This year ON Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2010, we volunteered at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station (VIS) on Mauna Kea. Again!

I guess I liked it so much last year that I actually suggested volunteering at the VIS again this year as our Valentine’s Day togetherness. As Andy says, “Once; a fluke. Twice; a coincidence. Three times is a problem.” But in this case, three times may just become a tradition?!… Have to wait for next year’s story for that determination… 😎

Andy ‘promised’ me “a nice, secluded Valentine’s Day lunch and dinner at the ‘exclusive’ Hale Pohaku Café on Mauna Kea” last year then again this year 😉 Well…actually, it was I who suggested repeating our volunteering at the VIS on Valentine’s Day this year like we did last year. :-O

Once we got to cleaning eye pieces after lunch, we were happy to find that many of the eye pieces were being cleaned more often since our last maintenance run. They were still showing signs of cold-finger drops; but not as apparent as our previous maintenance run nor as depressing.

Last year on Valentine’s Day was our first year volunteering at the VIS to do telescope maintenance for our Valentine’s Day togetherness. You can follow my link to Valentine’s Day 2009 to read about our fun during that first adventure. This year the cleanings went much faster, and there were fewer that had to be retired due to excessive wear. We also did the maintenance and cleaning in the Bookstore building this time. It was warmer and more fun because visitors were curious and asking great questions.

We only had time to clean the eyepieces and repair a couple of the wiring cables to telescope ‘go-to’ control paddles before it was time to close up for the night. I guess we will need to schedule another maintenance run to work on the many Dobsonian telescopes, and other astronomy equipment – before the end of 2010!?!?! 😛

Andy did bring home some needed repair work in the form of “A Box O’ Broken Telrads“.

IT WAS ANOTHER VALENTINE’S DAY WELL SPENT AND THOROUGHLY ENJOYED!!!!! 🙂

—>>>—>>> Pictures to follow …

—>>>—>>>—>>>—>>> EVENTUALLY … 😉


The rescue and release of an unexpected hitchhiker…

For those with concerns of what became of our…errrr…Cliff’s unexpected hitchhiker, here’s the rest of the saga:

Cliff Livermore's newly refinished 24" dob in heavy use after a successful Gecko eviction & assembly completion.

Cliff Livermore’s newly refinished 24″ dob in heavy use after a successful Gecko eviction & assembly completion.

Background Information: On March 27, Cliff Livermore brought his 24″ newly refinished Dobsonian telescope to the VIS at 9200 feet to use while participating in the 2009 Messier Marathon. (Refer to the postings on A Darker View, Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station (the VIS) and my blog right here, Gadget Gypsy, for more in depth details of the whole 2009 Messier Marathon event at the VIS). Cliff is one of several of us who brought our telescopes for this marathon; but his was the only one that got so much attention and not solely because of the unexpected hitchhiker. You might understand why after examining the photo.

An unexpected hitchhiker [Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris)] on the 24" Primary of Cliff's newly refinished telescope.

An unexpected hitchhiker [Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris)] on the 24″ Primary of Cliff’s newly refinished telescope.

During assembly of the 24″ Dob, the Primary mirror is near the beginning of the checklist in the order of assembly; and when that item on the checklist was reached, the mirror box was carried over and placed in a strategic position near the chosen site to make it easier to place on the “rocker box” for the telescope after the truss tubes and secondary cage assembly have been secured in place. The mirror cover was lifted off of the box and several bystanders erupted into laughter.

Cliff had turned to pick up a necessary piece for assembly when he heard the laughter and visibly stiffened a bit. He turned quickly back to his “Primary Gecko” … ummm … I mean his Primary Mirror and joined the chorus of laughter while asking us and the hitchhiker not to move until pictures could be captured!

“Yikes! I didn’t call for First Light!,” says a Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) on Cliff’s 24″ Primary.

“Yikes! I didn’t call for First Light!,” says a Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) on Cliff’s 24″ Primary.

There was a large Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) crouched on the very shiny mirror surface! After we had taken multiple pictures and had several viewers of the Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) on the Primary mirror, it decided to attempt a run for cover. I managed to coerce the cold, confused Gecko into a plastic jar that I thought I had taken up with me to put leftover pecans in after I had opened the new bag :-O I put the jar in a warm spot in the VIS to keep it from getting too cold (or frozen as the temperatures dipped below 32 degrees F) and then took it back to Waikoloa with us.

Saturday morning, March 28: Before we headed down the mountain, however, we had breakfast at HP and talked story of the events and happenings of the long, cold and fascinating night. During this time, the Gecko was safely (al beit, a bit cold…no…make that VERY cold) in our vehicle awaiting the journey back to warmer habitat. The Gecko got cold enough that it went deep into a state of torpor and appeared to have been taxidermied with all four legs in the air – EEEEW! Although I knew of this state of ‘temporary hybernation’, I had never seen any living being actually in the state of torpor before. It worried me because I hadn’t considered what torpor would actually look like. Breathing slows soooo far that it could easily be mistaken for dead.

Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) awaiting fate.

Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) awaiting fate.


Weekend Pass Times…

A slim crescent moon setting: a treat to behold while setting up for an all night Messier Marathon at the VIS at 9200 feet.

A slim crescent moon setting: a treat to behold while setting up for an all night Messier Marathon at the VIS at 9200 feet.


Weekend-Pass Times…

They may have been clouds that Astronomers don't like; but what a Spectacular Sunset!

They may have been clouds that Astronomers don’t like; but what a Spectacular Sunset!


Out of Thin Air …

A Mauna Kea Sunset at 9200 feet can sure make clouds more tolerable. Almost acceptable, actually  ;-)

A Mauna Kea Sunset at 9200 feet can sure make clouds more tolerable. Almost acceptable, actually 😉


Out of Thin Air…

Andrew cleaning one of the smallest eyepiece lenses in the VIS’s collection. It looks particularly fragile out of its case.