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Talk: Open Source Software For Astronomy
On October 2nd, 2017, I gave a talk at the KWLUG on Open Source Software for Astronomy.
The software programs demonstrated in this talk include the following:
Converting horizon files in Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel to KStars
Using a planetarium program is a very common thing for any amateur astronomer. I use three such programs, namely: Stellarium, Cartes du Ciel (SkyCharts), and KStars.
Creating a Bootable FreeDOS USB Flash Drive From Linux
As someone who only runs Linux, I occasionally need to run DOS for updating the BIOS on various machines.
Floppy disks are no more an option, since it has been nearly two decades with machines not shipping with them. Therefore, the only realistic option is using USB flash drives.
One excellent alternative to Microsoft MS-DOS, is FreeDOS, a free clone that needs very little resources to run. It can be used to run legacy applications, and one of them is flashing a new BIOS.
Installing the latest KStars, Ekos and INDI Library on Ubuntu 16.04
When I select a Linux version to run, I always use the latest stable long term release version. For example, for XFCE based Xubuntu, I am now on 16.04.
However, being with a long term release version means that for some software packages, you will have older versions. One such case is telescope automation platform, Ekos and the associated INDI Library.
To make sure that you are running the latest Ekos and INDI library, you can do the following:
First, purge all the KStars and INDI packages, if they are installed:
Frugal Astrophotography Presentation for the Stargazing 101 Meeting
Astrophotography is usually an expensive hobby, and occasionally a very expensive one. But it does not have to be so.
I have been doing astrophotography using used equipment for around 11 months now, with a total of only 7 months experience (if you count the winter hiatus and another two month hiatus in autumn).
While a typical astrophotography setup would cost a minimum of C$2,500 (with the upper limit being as much as 10X that), I have been able to get acceptable results with a total cost of equipment (including a used DSLR camera) is less than C$1,000.
Whistled Languages Around The World
There are over 70 languages in the world with just whistled sounds. They are spread around the world, from The French Pyrenees, the Canary Islands, Turkey, the foothills of the Himalayas, and the Amazon Basin.
They are usually used in areas where there are hills and valleys, or forests, where the normal human speech does not spread readily.
The following articles explore more this fascinating topic:
Querying the Saguaro Astronomy Club Deep Sky Database Using MySQL and SQLite
The members of the Saguaro Astronomy Club (SAC) have a long history of producing useful data from observations, and making it available for download by amateur astronomers worldide at no cost.
One data set that they produce is SAC DeepSky list which is currently at version 8.1, from 2010.
The data is provided in a variety of formats, from Microsoft Excel to comma separated variables.
Using Canon EOS DSLR cameras bulb mode in gphoto2
Taking pictures of the night sky almost always involves exposure times that are more than 30 seconds. This is often couple with taking many pictures for later stacking into better images.
For this, the camera has to be set to Bulb mode. You can automate taking multiple exposures by using an intervalometer, which is a remote release with a device with some electronic circuits and LCD screen to make all this possible.
You can also automate this using a Linux computer running gphoto2 software. The computer can be as small as a Raspberry Pi, or a laptop.
Internet Fraud: Scam in the name of Suzanne Mubarak
The usual internet scams never end. They are often in the name of someone corrupt and famous.
After the revolution of 2011, Egyptians deposed Hosni Mubarak. And now there are scams in his wife's name, as follows:
Mrs. Suzanne Hosni Mubarak
Resident Address: Kamal El Din One St.
Garden City, Cairo Egypt.
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