Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rains are Back

We've had some heavy rains here, beginning back on Thursday; probably has accumulated to over three inches by now.

One can find fairly detailed weather forcasts for Bonaire here. AND, "trumpet flourish", you can see a weather radar map of the ABC islands here. We just had a very heavy rain band pass over us and you can clearly see it on the weather radar display, especially the moving loop - if you have Java enabled. There were some yellow spots amidst the green on the display, and that must have been the downpour that hit us downtown.

I've checked out the satellite images of the Caribbean for years now, but local weather radar is a big step forward.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sunday afternoon Photos

This is the view from near the radar installation at the top of the hill above Bopec. I was able to ride my bike all the way up the dirt road to the radar site when it was new and smooth, but now it is quite eroded and I can barely push my bike up it. Brandaris is on the horizon at the left side and the road around Goto Lake is at the right.
This is the view looking SW from the scenic overlook above Rincon not too far from all the cell and radio towers. I was hoping for a great image of Rincon but that didn't pan out. Looking back towards the setting sun was nice though. The sky really looked pretty much like this picture shows it, but the foreground stuff was somewhat lighter in tone than this image shows. I had to ride hard to get back home before dark after taking this photo.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Green Flash Video

I went to Andrea 1 this evening and shot some video of the Sunset. For a minute there, I thought the Aquaspace glass bottomed sailing yacht was going to pass in front of the sun at just the wrong time, but they zoomed by in plenty of time.

The picture here is one frame from the video that I've posted on YouTube. If you watch the video, you'll see lots of green fringing along the top rim of the Sun and then a brief green flash right at the end. Don't blink or you'll miss it.
Click on the 720p version and make it full screen for the best view.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moon Video

I was out last night to try to get some video of the International Space Station passing overhead. Well, the space station put on a great show, but I failed miserably in my video attempt.

So I consoled myself with shooting the moon, which was nice enough to just hang up there in the sky for me.
The video below was made with a stationary telescope so the rotation of the earth makes the moon seem to glide slowly through the field of view. You can also see our nice Bonaire breezes jiggling the scope from time to time. You can see some wavering in the image from atomospheric turbulence too, but it wasn't too bad last night.
It looks like the camera adaptor doesn't hold the camera flat relative to the focal plane of the scope. The left side is in better focus than the right side. I'll check into that.
The 720p version looks ok when viewed full screen and is an iteresting simulation of what one would see while looking through a telescope.

Friday, February 11, 2011

TWR wins the KMA Bowl

Back in January I wrote " TWR's direct-mail partner, KMA Direct Communications in Dallas, in celebration of their home town hosting Super Bowl XLV, is sponsoring a bowl game of their own—The KMA Bowl."

Well the word came out today that TWR won that contest and will be receiving a $5000 check! I know some of my readers were active in this endeavor, so let me be among the first to offer my thanks and congratulations to you for a job well done.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back on the Towers Again

It is cool, sunny and clear most of the time here on Bonaire now. It is my favorite time of the year, and good for tower climbing too. Tower work is in full swing with guys up on two towers each day.
Above we see Lionel, Denny and Benny preparing some new tower parts for hoisting up to the work area.

Yup, they are waaay up there.

Ha ha, I couldn't resist the shot below. Fortunately the towers are only dangerous when the transmitter is on. And there are all sorts of interlocks that are set to make sure that doesn't happen when the guys are working.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Midnight Building Supply visits IBCB

About 200 cement blocks and a bunch of bags of cement were stolen from the International Bible Church of Bonaire building construction site last night.
A report has been filed with the police.
Hmmm, maybe it is time to do a Sunday School class about "Imprecatory Prayer." But then again, maybe not.

The Cool New Non-Dollar Dollar Coin

Donna, our bookkeeper here at the office, just came back from the bank with some cool BES commerative Dollar coins minted in Holland. In fact they are so cool I ran across the street to the bank and bought some myself. They'll make great gifts, unless their value goes through the roof and I can make a killing on eBay, ha-ha.

I think you have to be a resident to buy them from the bank. They wrote down my Sedula number on the order form. From what I'm reading online, one can supposedly use them as currency in the stores and banks here in the BES islands; but they they are not official US dollars, and they are obviously not Guilders nor Euros.

Here is a link to a somewhat humorous tongue-in-cheek story about the coin on a coin collecting Web site. The following excerpt captures the flavor of this mini article.
The islands Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire are now officially Dutch territory (part of Holland). So a day trip from Curacao to Bonaire means you were actually in Holland. Don't expect any tulips there though... That story tickles my funny bone and we certainly could use a little levity as we go through this comprehensive mind bogglingly life changing transition here on Bonaire, but not everyone may appreciate the tone.

So, now you know as much about the coin as I do, BUT I've got them and you don't.

Nyaaa - nyaaa!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Bonaire is Drying Out

When I rode my bike to Goto Lake last Saturday afternoon, the road around the lake was water free. One section was still damp and water was licking at the edges of the pavement, but like Moses, I crossed on dry land. Friends report that just a couple days before that, the road was still under water.

For pictures of the flooded road, start here.

The TWR transmitter site is drying out too, just in time for our intrepid crews to begin working at rebuilding and repainting the antenna towers. I have pictures to prove it, but they are still in the camera as of right now.

New Blog Layout

Do you hate change? I think I do, but I just made a minor change to the page layout of the blog so as to leave more room for the great Hi-Def astrophotography videos I hope to post some day.

Two Weekly Flights from Newark to Bonaire again

I had my fill of flying in 2010 and am hoping to stay put here on Bonaire for a while. But it is good to learn that my options have increased, should I suddenly have to head to New Jersey for some reason. (stop laughing, I like NJ)

Starting next week, Continental airlines will be flying direct to Bonaire twice a week. One flight leaves Newark just before midnight on Friday nights, and the second one leaves Newark just before midnight on Saturday nights. These flights arrive on Bonaire on Sat. and Sun. mornings respectively.

Meeting incoming friends at the airport can get a little crazy. When they say the are on "the Saturday Continental flight", do they mean the Conti. flight that arrives here on Sat? OR do they mean the one that leaves the USA on Sat. and arrives here on Sunday. Yes, I'll admit it. I have indeed gone to the airport at o'dark hundred and fed the mosquitos for an hour or more, only to find that my person wasn't on that flight. And then had the joy of repeating the experience the next morning.

I did some snooping on the Conti. Web site, and because the Friday/Saturday flights aren't that booked up yet, you can occasionally save some money.
For example, a trip to Bonaire on March 5 which returns on March 20 costs 900+ dollars.
But if you fly on March 4 (or 5) and return on the new flight on March 19, it costs 700+ dollars. What a deal.

The Sunday return flights from Bonaire seem to be fairly heavily booked. I looked at a couple weekends in May and found them sold out, but the Saturday return flights those weeks still had seats.

And of course, for you New Jersey-phobes, there are other direct flights to Bonaire from which to choose: like two Continental flights from Houston each weekend, a Delta flight from Atlanta, and an Insel air flight from Miami.

New TWR YouTube Video

TWR has posted a new two minute video on YouTube titled, "Speaking Hope to the World." You can see a squashed version here or go to YouTube to see the wide angle version.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Bonaire Airport Renovations

The runway at our Flamingo International Airport and a lot of other things crucial to flight operations and safety are going to be upgraded beginning Feb. 13. The airport will be closed most nights, except for Fri. and Sat. for quite a few months.

The actual hours that the airport will be closed vary a little bit from night to night, probably to accomodate some long standing international flights. You can read all the details here on the Bonaire Insider.

If you are planning to fly to or from Bonaire at night during the first half of 2011, it would be wise to double check the schedule to make sure the airport will be open. :)

Feb. 09 - Here is an update to Brad's Bonaire Update, heh-heh.
The Flamingo airport has a new Web site that tells all about the construction project, and lets one check up on the arrival and departure times of flights. How cool is that?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Another Time Lapse Astro Video

While I was busily setting up and polar aligning my telescope mount down south on Bonaire the other night, I also had a camera on a tripod pointed South and shooting lots of 20 second exposures of the sky. I combined the images into a 25 second video clip. It plays back a little darker on YouTube than I had expected, so I'll have to work on that for next time. I have an idea what went wrong.

I hope to have this time lapse video creation thing relatively perfected by this summer when the Milky Way puts on a great show. I'll keep playing with these images to see if I can enhance the video's appearance. I shot RAW frames the other night, JPEGS this time. So far, the post processing of the RAW frames is proving easier for me.

You can see the Large Magellanic Cloud in this clip, but it isn't very bright. There are a couple of orange clouds along the horizon in the middle of the image. The LMC is a bit to the upper right of these glowing clouds. The LMC gets easier to see towards the end of the image as it gets above the cloud bands. (like from the 18 second point until the end of the clip) The LMC is a ghostly white color.

If you watch the top edge of the frame right near the beginning of the clip, you'll see an Iridium satellite flare. It is pretty bright, but brief, moving from the top edge of the clip in a downward direction. Cal-Sky predicted the flare and I was pleased that I was able to capture it. There are a number of other satellite passes in the clip I think. The last one that is down low and goes from left to right is almost certainly an airplane. We see lots of planes on that particular path.

For some reason, when I imbed the clip here in the blog, half of it gets cut off. (might be a different aspect ration than my previous clip) Anyway, you'll need to watch the clip on YouTube. You can follow this link. I like it best in 480p and in the medium size. The default size is pretty small, and full screen version gets kind of grainy.

Oh, those bright lights along the horizon at the end of the clip are boats. :)