For full recipes, please visit our recently launched Egyptian Cuisine Recipes web site.

Moon Sighting Is Obsolete: Lunar Month Starts Should Be By Astronomical Conjunction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

OnStep ESP32 Smart Hand Controller SHC

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A month ago, Dave Schwartz completed a design for a Smart Hand Controller (SHC) for the OnStep open source telescope controller.

After completing the hardware, I ported the firmware for it, from the Teensy 3.x to the lower cost ESP32.

Here is a video that I did demonstrating the features.

PCB

Here is an image of the SHC PCB, V1.03.

Presentation: Microcontrollers and the Internet of Things (IoT)

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Last Monday, I gave a talk at the KWLUG on Microcontrollers and The Internet of Things (IoT).

It covered topics such as: how microcontrollers are different from 'computers', the Arduino and Arduino IDE, the ESP8266 and ESP32 WiFi enabled microcontrollers, and using MicroPython on them. Also covered the very low cost STM32 ARM Cortex microcontroller.

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