Ring Nebula and M13

Well, the skies were reasonably clear for a while this evening, so I took my Celestron C6 out with the Rebel XT and tried to get a few shots using the Lumicon light pollution filter I ordered a long while back that finally arrived. Despite some tracking errors (I don’t have an off-axis guider) a couple of the shots turned out alright. I’ve tucked some small clips of the pics in the blog here. If you have a desire to see the full size, either email me or post a comment and I’ll get the pics up in their 8 megapixel glory.

The two targets were the Ring Nebula, a nice planetary nebula that’s fairly easy to spot in Lyra, and M13, the Hercules Globular Cluster, also easy to find down the leading side of the body of the warrior.

The Ring Nebula: cropped RingNebula.jpg

and M13: CroppedM13.jpg

Hope you enjoy!

Currently playing in iTunes: I Dreamt the World Had Ended by A Northern Chorus

Schneier on Security: Last Week’s Terrorism Arrests

Perhaps the airlines will have to start actually feeding us again as we can’t bring anything on board to counter the altitude-assisted dehydration. The problem is the security measure is a placebo as people who analyse this stuff for a living a quick to point out. Case in point, Bruce Schneier in Schneier on Security: Last Week’s Terrorism Arrests: “http://www.schneier.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1051”

The UK security teams and all assisting them need the real kudos, and it’s the legwork and brainwork that needs the funding, not trying to detect these chemicals and compounds in all these areas. I think Bruce is right in the assessment of too many targets. Tom Clancy wrote about running planes into buildings in the book A Debt Of Honor long before 9/11. He also wrote about terrorists using a nuclear weapon to take out the Superbowl game in Sum of All Fears. The targets will always be there. To stop the madness, there’s two things we need to do.

One is outlined by Bruce. Don’t be terrorized. Easier said than done, but people living in Northern Ireland when the IRA was actively destroying things, in Quebec during the FLQ, and in so many other places in the world continue their lives in the face of these people wantonly destroying lives without communicating their point. It’s too bad that these terrorists feel that their point is better communicated by killing a number of innocent civilians than by writing a blog on the web explaining the issues and the desires of their cause. Alternative media such as Indymedia.orgare trying to show the other side of many of these stories, and a lot of people unconvinced by CNN, BBC, CBC and others are wisely trying to see both sides of the story.

The second task is facilitated by this communication. If rather than raising our defensiveness, our ire, our fear and our aggression they were to engage the western civilizations in understanding what has made them feel so wronged, and what needs to be done to correct these wrongs, then the second task which amounts to “Quit pissing them off if we can” falls into place. Right now, there’s a growing feeling that the foreign policies of the US and other countries in the West have brought about much of this hatred. If that’s correct, then just maybe we cut the dependency on the Middle East for energy by other approaches and get our noses out of their countries until they start behaving reasonably.

Don’t mistake me for some naive optimist on this. I’m slicing some big issues very coarsely, and I know full well that the histories in these issues and the political environments aren’t going to turn on a dime and come up peace lilies tomorrow, but we need to start understanding rather than escalating.

We can’t continue to surrender our freedoms and our way of life so easily. We need to search for a better, more fundamental solution, and to do that we need to dig for the more fundamental causal problem.

Currently playing in iTunes: Simple Gifts by Paul Schwartz


Lightning1Aug092006.jpgWell, I think I’ve found something striking and challenging to pursue with my Canon Rebel XT. We’ve been having a lot of lightning in and around Calgary, and I’ve pulled off a few shots before, but last night I got some very good shots of some very interesting lightning. A really good one that looks like it’s hitting the house behind us, but was about 2 km away is on the left in this post.


  • 30 second exposure
  • Canon 17-85 IS USM III lens at f/18
  • iso 100 equiv
  • 17 mm focal length (1.8x with Rebel)

Sharpeness and contrast set to max in iPhoto

Currently playing in iTunes: Always Gets Her Way by Smash Mouth