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New Backlit Print Shown at a Day of Vikings

The event at Barnes & Noble today went very well.  It was not a huge crowd, but just about everyone that came by was very interested in either the Viking Mars Mission or astronomy.  I had some long conversations with people of all ages and, hopefully, encouraged some young people to consider studying astronomy.  It doesn’t get much better than that! The large backlit print on the left side of my table is an experiment I’ve been working on to offer a “premium” backlit print category.  The primary enhancement is greatly increased contrast ratio.  Theoretically, it is more than 500,000:1, […]


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Viking Mars Mission

Back in 1976, 40 years ago, the first successful landing on Mars was accomplished by NASA’s Viking 1 mission team.  The lander operated for 6 years and although its technology was very primitive by today’s standards, it contributed immensely to our knowledge our neighboring planet. In celebration of that achievement, the Viking Mars Mission Education and Preservation Project (VMMEPP: http://www.thevikingpreservationproject.org/, https://www.facebook.com/VikingMarsMission/) is holding an event at the Tanasbourne Barnes & Noble​ in Beaverton this Saturday, April 30, from 11AM to 4PM.  Members of the Viking team will be talk about the science, history, and personal experiences of the mission. I will […]


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Astro Photo #1

It has been a while since I posted here.  Among the many things that have been keeping me busy is an attempt to clean up the mess that I call my office, and while doing that I ran across this old photo: That is the first astro-photo I ever took.  It was shot on film (!), so I don’t have the exact date, but it would have been around 2000 – five years before I got serious about astro-photography.  I had no idea what I would capture, but just pointed the camera up and did a long exposure (probably about […]


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Astronomy Presentation to Tomodachi-kai

“Tomodachi” is Japanese for “friend” and Tomodachi-kai is the local Japanese/American friendship club in Portland, OR.  Recently, they asked me to speak at their monthly meeting about my astro-photography.  Since I am not great at public speaking and have learned relatively little about astronomy during the last 11 years doing astro-photography, I asked Dr. Katherine Kornei, a real astronomer, to join me in a presentation titled “Exploring the Intersection of Art and Science”. Using some of my astro-photos and a few graphics to illustrate such things as polar alignment, I talked about the techniques of capturing and processing astro-photos, while […]


JTS

New Table Saw

I’ve always wanted to have a better table saw, and now that the business is growing and branching out in the area of backlit frames, I could finally justify it.  This Jet “Proshop” saw is used and missing a few minor accessories, but a huge step up from the little saw I had been using. When cutting the acrylic material that forms the light pipe in my backlit frames it is important to make the cuts as clean as possible because ultimately they have to be polished to achieve the necessary optical performance.  The better the original cut is, the […]


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A Yuuge Backlit Print

I’ve just finished putting together the largest backlit print I’ve ever done, a 26 x 32 inch frame with an image from the Hubble Space Telescope of the Tarantula Nebula. That’s me standing next to it – just to give you a sense of the size.  Note that this “picture of a picture” doesn’t do it justice.  I had to dim the back light a lot to avoid it being completely over-exposed, and even so it is a bit over-exposed and the rest of the image a bit under-exposed. What makes this really interesting is that the source image (available […]


Astrophotographer

Astrophotographer Video

Some weeks ago I was approached by Brian Crabtree, a student at PSU (Portland State University) about his documentary film assignment.  Brian has some interest in astronomy and (obviously) photography, so he wanted to make the piece about astro-photography and asked if I would be willing to be the subject of his film.  I think he did a great job with it.  Check it out: https://vimeo.com/159149981


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BSO Concert

The first of two performances of “The Planets” by the Beaverton Symphony Orchestra was last night, and it was a great success.  I am no expert on music, so I won’t comment on that, except to say that the piano solo by Eloise Kim was magnificent.  It was just the way I love to hear the piano played, with great skill and even greater passion. But I particularly enjoyed the videos of the planets that was projected during the performance of Holst’s classic composition.  Congratulations to Paul Hanau on a great job of compiling and “animating” these NASA images. If […]


BSO

“The Planets” Concert

Next week the Beaverton Symphony Orchestra (http://beavertonsymphony.org/) will do 2 performances of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”.  I haven’t been to one of their concerts recently, but in the past it has always been a great orchestra, and I have no doubt that this one will live up to the reputation. And if you’re more of a visual person, they have put together an excellent video of images and animations from NASA, which will be projected during the concert.  This part of it I have seen, and know you will enjoy. You can also see some of my astro-photography in the […]


Leaping to Corrections

Tomorrow, February 29th, is a “leap day”, so remember to set your clocks back by 24 hours!  Fortunately, we don’t really have to do that.  Even clocks that keep track of the date as well as the hour pretty much all know when we have a leap year. But do you know WHY we have leap days?  Or exactly when?  Time is a surprisingly complicated topic, even when you ignore general relativity.  Hours, minutes, and seconds are essentially arbitrary units, so we can define them to fit our world however we want.  Days and years, on the other hand, are […]