Thursday, July 24, 2008

More Milky Way Madness

It was nice and clear last night, so Sandra and I went to the south end of Bonaire to observe the Summer Milky Way in all its glory. We could see it stretching overhead from the Southern Cross in the South all the way to Cygnus in the North.

Here is photo of the brightest portion of the Milky Way. The star, Antares, is at the top middle and the planet, Jupiter, is a little to the left of the middle at the bottom. This picture shows a larger area of sky than the pictures I posted a week or two ago.

You can identify many of the same features in both pictures, but they will look smaller in this one because of the different scale. I used four minute exposures at ISO 1600 last night. This seemed to bring out the star clouds without making the foreground stars too bright.

New Panoramic Photos

Back a few weeks ago, when I was up on some new dirt roads northeast of Sabadeco taking Kibrahacha pictures, I was impressed by the great scenic views of Hato, Kralendijk, and the bay.

So when we had super clear skies last week, Sandra and I zoomed up there after work and shot some pictures.

I've posted two panoramic images that you can check out if you have a fast Internet connection. The first one is about 1 meg in size I think.
The second one is a wider view and it about 1.5 megs in size.

They are about 800 pixels high, so if you have your browser set to not automatically re-size the pictures you can scroll across them and see lots of detail. If your browser re-sizes them, they'll look pretty bad 'cause everything will be squashed together.

To tell Internet Explorer to not automatically re-size the images, click on the "Tools" button at the top right of your screen. Then click on the "Advanced" tab, scroll down to the "Multimedia" section, and un-check the "enable automatic image resizing" box. Then click "apply" and you can view the images as they were meant to be seen.

Fly to Bonaire Cheap

Delta Airlines is adding a new weekly direct flight from JFK airport in New York, to Bonaire. It begins on December 20. Delta also has a super cheap $478 round trip fare for travel between Jan. 10 and April 4.
Better book those tix soon, you can only buy tix at this price through Aug. 6, or while seats are still available. Here is the story on the Bonaire Insider.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Backyard Wildlife

Sandra enjoys taking pictures of the dog's antics, as well as some of the other wildlife around the house. This iguana seems to know he is safe on the outside of the fence. They don't always make it to safety however.
She shot some interesting parrot pictures lately. Here is one.

Showers - Flowers

We continue to get quite a bit of rain, here on Bonaire. The countryside is amazingly green, especially for a July. There are lots of flowers blooming all over the place too. We have a weird cactus like plant that occasionally produces these humongous flowers.
We also have this purple vine like plant that is looking very lush right now.
The small purple flowers appear in the early morning and fade away during the day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tower Painting Finished

This year's antenna tower painting project was successfully concluded back at the beginning of the month. We traditionally wrap up the project with a celebration lunch with the painting crew. This year we held it in the studio lobby with delicious take out from Antriol Catering. Yum!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More Kibrahacha Pictures Posted

Well, I finally got around to posting the flowering Kibrahacha tree pictures that I took a week or two ago. Some of the pictures are panoramas that I put together to help me remember just where the various trees are. Once the yellow flowers fall off, the trees just blend into the countryside.
There is a folder with this years pictures on Winkflash.

If all those pictures aren't enough, there are some Kibrahacha pictures from 2004 on Winkflash too. Just click here to see that album.

The pictures don't display all that big, at least at my laptop with its 1680x1050 screen. If you have a regular (CRT) monitor might want to try setting it to a lower resolution, like 800x600 or even 640x480 so that the pictures use up more of the screen real estate.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer Milky Way

The Bonaire skies were clear and cloudless last Sunday night, so Bud Gillan and I went out to the super south end stargazing spot that I inherited from Pierre. We observed with 10x50 binoculars and once the moon set, I took some pictures with a 24mm lens. This is a stack of five images. Each exposure was six minutes long and the camera was set at F4 and ISO 200.
Above is a 100% crop of the lower left part of the top wide angle picture. I drew in the lines of the "teapot" and labeled a few of the many interesting objects we could see in the binoculars. Bud's favorite "fuzz" was M22.

Here is a link, I hope, to a full size version of the top image. I've drawn in the shape of Scorpius as well as the teapot so you can get your bearings.

Patch Tuesday - Panic Wednesday

Both our laptops suddenly lost their access to the Internet Wednesday morning. I could sucessfully ping both URLs and IP addresses but couldn't access anything with IE, or Filezilla, Skype etc.

After playing with the computers for an hour at noon, I finally thought of the Windows updates that had just been applied and un-installed them. Eureka! we had Internet access again.

It turns out that Microsoft Update KB951748 can cause loss of Internet access for ZoneAlarm users on Windows XP/2000. Zone alarm has an updated version that should fix this, but I haven't installed it yet. We are just surfing merrily along updateless.

I guess if you are reading this, you either weren't affected, or have figured it out on your own!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Moon and Planets

On Saturday evening, Saturn, Mars, the bright star Deneb, and the Moon made a straight line in the sky. You'll need to click on this picture to see the planets. Saturn is at the upper left. Then moving towards the lower right you come to Mars, and then Deneb, and finally the moon. On Sunday evening, the Moon had moved up to the left side of Saturn. Mars and Deneb were still making an almost straight line with Saturn. Mars is moving closer to Saturn each evening. This planetary parade is worth watching.
To the right of Deneb, on the right side of the frame, you can see the stars that make up the head of Leo the Lion. This group of stars is also known as the sickle.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Kibrahacha Trees

It's still pretty rainy here on Bonaire, but one fringe benefit is that the Kibrahacha trees put on a spectacular show this week. They began blooming on Sunday. We went out after work on Monday and took some pictures, and we went out again at lunch time on Tuesday for some more Kibrahacha viewing. The show is pretty much over now. I have lots of pictures that I'll probably eventually post in an online folder somewhere or other. But you can get an idea of what the trees looked like from these samples.
I've assembled a couple panoramic views that I'll post sometime too.
The above view is from a new dirt road that has been put in a little north and east of Sabadeco.