A minor code revision as I slowly get everything working properly. I am adding new modules as I need them for other projects.
The latest GenPIC deployed will be a coolant valve controller that allows remote control of some glycol valves in the AO bench. It is a pretty simple device, just four relays with some automatic timing rules and a serial control interface.
In the process I added support for the service connectors including parallel and simple serial modules to the GenPIC code base, may as well release it. Thus you get code release 0.2…
Since the mid-1990s, when the first planet around another sun-like star was discovered, astronomers have amassed an ever-expanding collection of nearly 3,500 confirmed exoplanets.
In a new Caltech-led study, researchers have classified these exoplanets in much the same way that biologists identify new animal species and found the majority of exoplanets fall into two distinct groups: rocky Earth-like planets and larger mini-Neptunes. The team used data from W. M. Keck Observatory and NASA’s Kepler mission.
“This is a major new division in the family tree of planets, analogous to discovering that mammals and lizards are distinct branches on the tree of life,” says Andrew Howard, professor of astronomy at Caltech and a principal investigator of the new research.
The lead author of the new study, to be published in The Astronomical Journal, is Benjamin J. (B. J.) Fulton, a graduate student in Howard’s group.
In essence, their research shows that our galaxy has a strong preference for either rocky planets up to 1.75 times the size of Earth or gas-enshrouded mini-Neptune worlds, which are from 2 to 3.5 times the size of Earth (or somewhat smaller than Neptune). Our galaxy rarely makes planets with sizes in between these two groups.
“Astronomers like to put things in buckets,” says Fulton. “In this case, we have found two very distinct buckets for the majority of the Kepler planets.”
Summer solstice occurs today at 18:24HST. Today the Sun will occupy the most northerly position in the sky of the year. The term solstice comes from the latin terms Sol (the Sun) and sistere (to stand still). On this day the Sun seems to stand still as it stops moving northwards each day and begins move to the south. This is the first day of summer as marked by many cultures in the northern hemisphere. Alternately this is the first day of winter for those living south of the equator.
This year many calendars will mark September 21st as the summer solstice, and so it is for much of the world. Here in Hawaiʻi the solstice actually occurs on the 20th when considering the time zone differences.
Tomorrow morning, June 20th, a pretty crescent Moon will be located close to a brilliant Venus. The Moon will be a slim 18% crescent a little under 6° from Venus shining at -4.2 magnitude. The pair will rise about three hours before sunrise at about 2am, look for the two above the brightening glow of dawn.
Astronomers have shown what separates real stars from the wannabes. Not in Hollywood, but out in the universe.
“When we look up and see the stars shining at night, we are seeing only part of the story,” said Trent Dupuy of the University of Texas at Austin and a graduate of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “Not everything that could be a star ‘makes it,’ and figuring out why this process sometimes fails is just as important as understanding when it succeeds.”
Dupuy is the lead author of the study and is presenting his research today in a news conference at the semi-annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin.
He and co-author Michael Liu of the University of Hawaii have found that an object must weigh at least 70 times the mass of Jupiter in order to start hydrogen fusion and achieve star-status. If it weighs less, the star does not ignite and becomes a brown dwarf instead.
How did they reach that conclusion? The two studied 31 faint brown dwarf binaries (pairs of these objects that orbit each other) using W. M. Keck Observatory’s laser guide star adaptive optics system (LGS AO) to collect ultra-sharp images of them, and track their orbital motions using high-precision observations.
“We have been working on this since Keck Observatory’s LGS AO first revolutionized ground-based astronomy a decade ago,” said Dupuy. “Keck is the only observatory that has been doing this consistently for over 10 years. That long-running, high-quality data from the laser system is at the core of this project.”
How do you organize your photos? The answer to that is critical. Anyone who generates a lot of images, and that is just about everyone these days needs to answer that question.
Keeping my photo archive organized is a bit of a chore. But skip on the effort and it simply gets worse, to the point of being unusable. If you can not find the photos you need why take photos at all?
The trick is to develop a process and to use it… Religiously. I can not tell you how to do it, I can just tell you how I do it and offer a few suggestions.
There are two basic approaches, simply come up with a way to organize the images into a directory using nothing more than your operating system. The other approach is to use some form of photo organizing software to aid in the task. I do make a large assumption here, that the images are in digital format, not negatives and slides. For that you will have to look elsewhere for answers.
Today the planet Saturn will pass through opposition, directly opposite the Sun in our sky.
Saturn orbits the Sun once every 29.45 years. As the ringed planet continues on its way the Earth swings around much faster on our inside track. As a result we lap Saturn once every 378.1 days, passing between the planet and the Sun. During opposition Saturn will be well placed for observation all night long, rising at sunset, transiting at midnight, and setting at sunrise.