Archive | August 2009

My favourite music according to Last.fm

Over the last 2 years I’ve been using Last.fm to record the music I listen to. I know this is all rather geeky but if you know me then you will know I am indeed a geek, shocking eh! Anyway, enough of the obvious (though the rest of this post is probably also fairly obvious if you ever looked at my Ipod). Over the last 2 years last.fm has been mostly recording what I listen to, though of course it doesn’t have everything I’ve listened to (for example its only very recently that I’ve hooked up my ipod to it, so that probably means there are a fair few tracks missing) and that’s some 14,000 songs (the reason that I thought I’d do this post in the first place). According to last.fm my favourite band is Linkin Park (which is probably true) and is being rapidly caught up by Anberlin, of course my musically taste changes quite rapidly and this is just a snapshot over the last 2 years – I’m pretty sure that bands like Maximo Park, the Foo Fighters, RHCP, Ash, Muse and Greenday would all feature higher if we looked over a larger time base (then again so would Effiel 65 – you probably remember “Blue (Da Ba Dee)”?). Anyway, here are my top 20 listened to artists…
top20
Nothing particularly shocking about it in my opinion, maybe I would have expected Maximo Park (they are 28th) to feature. Senses Fail and Disco Ensemble really were the two bands I listened to heavily during my PhD work, though I’ve also listened to 30 seconds to Mars (34th) alot.. hmm. If we just looked over the last few months then its Rise Against, Linkin Park and Senses Fail – I think I’ve had a bit more angst in my life and Rise Against to provide a nice aggression release. Oh and my most listened to track is Linkin Park – What I’ve Done.

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Sunset over Calgary

There was a gorgeous sunset over Calgary the other day…
sunset from my flat
sunset from my flat

Jupiter with an OIII filter

Jupiter taken with the Bradford Robotic Telescope through an OIII filter (100ms exposure) showing the clouds:
Jupiter cloud belts
The same image but scaled such that the Moon are visible and the detail on the planet is lost:
Jupiter and Moons

A night at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Last night I had the pleasure take a trip out to the University of Calgary’s [Rothney Astrophysical Observatory]. It was a fun night that was aimed at the general public (it was a week called “Milky Way Week” part of the international year of astronomy 2009 celebrations), so I got todo one of my favourite things and talk about astronomy.
The RAO has a great range of telescopes, from a 1.8m beast (the Sandy Cross Telescope) all the way down to small telescopes that can be used by just about anyone. I was very impressed with the main telescope (the second largest in Canada):
1.8 meter Sandy Cross Telescope dome
1.8 meter Sandy Cross Telescope
I actually spent most of my night in the control room of their 0.4 meter Clarke-Milone Telescope:
0.4 meter Clarke-Milone Telescope
0.4 meter Clarke-Milone Telescope dome
The night started off with a gorgeous sunset over the rockies and then went through a passage of complete cloud cover but once that passed we had glorious skies with the Milky Way being clearly visible (something I’m not used to seeing quite so well whilst out observing):
moon and rockies at rao
sun set at rao with dome
sunset over rockies at rao
All in all a good night of astronomy, and a chance to see the sunset over the rocky mountains. biggrin.gif More images from the night can be found on my account..
Oh I also made a short movie from the observatory webcams showing the sunset (a animated gif, that’s 4mb in size btw and this can be found [here].
Oh out of interest to make the animation I used Ubuntu with image magik using:
convert * -crop 640×480+42+42 *
convert -delay 30 *.jpg -loop 1 playme.gif

My most “interesting” images on flickr

As you may, or may not, know flickr (image hosting website that I use for the vast majority of the photos on here) has a function called “interestingness”. None of my images get very high up on that compared to some but I thought (as I’m thinking of putting an album together of my favourite shots that I’ve taken) I’d share this with you (using flickriver.com)… most of them are shots of the night sky…
ringsofsaturnrock - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

Bradford Robotic Telescope Images

Over the past 6 months or so I’ve been submitting jobs to the [Bradford Robotic Telescope]. Its quite nice as you get to choose your exposure settings and then just sit back and wait. Depending on what you request (you have to think about when the object is in the sky etc) you get the images back within a few weeks. The image quality is never going to be completely stunning since you can only request up to 2 minutes but for the amateur who doesn’t have the kit to take astrophotographs this is fantastic. A 2 minute exposure with this telescope actually allows you to go fairly deep. Once the image is taken you get a pre-processed jpeg and a the raw FITS files which you can then manipulate in your favourite package. Anyway, here are a few images…
M4 – globular cluster in the constellation of Scorpius (60s, r-band image).
m4_brt
M57 – the Ring Nebula (120s, RGB image)
M57 - the Ring Nebula with the BRT

A trip to the baseball…

My first trip to some North American sports was quite fun. I went to watch some baseball. The Calgary Vipers were playing the Victoria Seals. The final score was Vipers 5 – 9 Seals, but it was good fun at a very reasonable price!
I took a bunch of photos (as one would expect with me) and they can be found on but here are a couple of my favs…
IMG_5770
IMG_5815
IMG_5809
I also took a video of the opening action, i.e. the national anthem and a bit of the game…

If you have problems viewing these see [here] and [here].