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Time Lapse of Comet C/2018 N2 (ASSASN)

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Here is a time lapse sequence of Comet C/2018 N2 (ASSASN).

This comet was discovered by the All-Sky Automated Survey For Supernovae (ASSASN) using software to analyze the images from one night to the next, and detect anything that is not a star.

The sequence was made on October 8th, 2019, between 1:35 am and 2:11 am while the comet was near the Triangulum constellation, and the M33 galaxy.

Python API For OnStep and other LX200 Protocol Telescope Controllers

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Today, I released my OnStep Python API on Github. This API allows commands to be issued from any Python 3.x program to an OnStep controlled telescope.

This allows a lot of use cases, for example, testing certain scenarios, or automating certain tasks.

Several examples are provided as starting points on how to write your own programs.

Patches for features, and fixes are welcome.

Moon Sighting Is Obsolete: Lunar Month Starts Should Be By Astronomical Conjunction

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For this year's Eid Al-Fitr 1440 A.H. (2019 C.E.), the Muslim world had some countries, as well as some masjids in the West, ending the Ramadan fast on Tuesday. In Kitchener/Waterloo, we had the Kitchener mosque, following astronomical calculations, end the fast on Monday, while the Waterloo Masjid, following sighting, ended it on Tuesday.

Seeing the Unseeable

The problem here is that it was astronomically impossible to sight the new moon on Monday, since it is not illuminated at all.

ETL-Astro: An Extract/Transform/Load Framework for Astronomical Catalogs

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Yesterday, I released ETL-Astro, a set of Python programs that generate astronomical catalogs in a variety of formats from license friendly data source, allowing for incorporation in GPL-licensed products.

The programs can do the following:

Comet Iwamoto C/2018 Y1 occulting two stars

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This is a time lapse video of Comet Iwamoto C/2018 Y1, on February 22nd 2019, racing against the background stars of the skies. Note that the comet occults two stars during this video. This is a composite of 51 exposures of 60 seconds each, at ISO 800. Taken using a Celestron C8 with a 0.6X reducer on a Vixen SXD mount running OnStep, and a Canon T4i DSLR.

Make Your Own $2 Artificial Star For Telescope Collimation

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An Artificial Star is a point source of light. It is used to simulate a real star indoors, so you can collimate your telescope's optics indoors and/or during daylight.

Commercial artificial stars, such as this Hubble Optics one, cost $25 or more, and their main feature is a small plate that has precision holes of 50 micron up to 250 microns.

You can make your own artificial star, which is very close in function to the commercial ones.

You can watch this short 4 minute video on how I did it, and read on for detailed instructions.

How To Fix Audio Skips And Stuttering on a Raspberry Pi

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If you have been experiencing audio skips or stuttering on a Raspberry Pi, then I may have a solution for you.

For background, I use an older Raspberry Pi as an audio player, using mpd as an audio server, MPD Remote on my Android Phone, and Sonata on my Xubuntu Laptop.

It was working fine for a long time, but then it started skipping audio every 10 or 20 seconds, regularly.

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