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    Archived pages: 283 . Archive date: 2013-12.

  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory Home
    Descriptive info: .. Cloudbait Observatory Home.. Welcome to Cloudbait Observatory.. , located under the dark skies of the central Colorado Rocky Mountains.. Here you will find details about the.. observatory.. itself, its.. history.. (and my own as an amateur astronomer), the.. science.. I conduct here, and a collection of.. images.. I've made.. Details of the.. instrumentation.. I use and some of the tricks I've developed to make it work well are given.. I am very interested in instrumentation, and much of what I design is freely available to anyone interested.. Details about some of these.. projects.. are posted on this site.. I also enjoy both history and travel, and seek out places of special astronomical significance.. The section on.. archaeoastronomy.. details some of the places I've been, and the historical astronomical sites I've explored.. There was a bright fireball over northern Colorado on October 23.. This exceptionally long meteor (13 seconds) occurred at 9:19 pm, and was widely witnessed.. A report on it can be seen.. here.. If you saw it, please.. report it.. The annual Perseid meteor shower peaked on the evening of August 11/12.. On the peak evening the Cloudbait allsky camera captured 85 Perseids, a number of which were fireballs.. The meteor shower continued strongly the following nights, with 126 more captures.. A report on this shower can be seen.. Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) has faded from easy view.. It was a naked eye comet when it passed closest to the Sun in March, and remained a bright telescopic object for several months afterward.. Images from Cloudbait can be seen.. On June 5, 2012, Venus passed across the face of the Sun, a transit observable over much of the world.. Despite marginal weather conditions, I was able to image this event from Cloudbait.. A report  ...   the allsky camera network since late 2001.. There have been 5 fireballs recorded in the last seven days:.. Date.. Time.. Camera.. Link.. Thu, Dec 5.. 3:21 am.. Cloudbait.. Details.. 12:15 am.. Tue, Dec 3.. 1:21 am.. Sun, Dec 1.. 11:04 pm.. 5:38 am.. Meteor and fireball activity is high during the second half of the year.. See.. how activity changes.. over the year.. If you live in Colorado or the surrounding states,.. and have recently seen a very bright meteor, please report it.. We continue to investigate bright fireballs, and now have an extensive network of allsky cameras in place to supplement witness reports.. If you just witnessed a meteor and are curious if it was recorded from central Colorado, try the new.. real-time meteor log.. which lists all events captured by the Cloudbait camera as they occur.. These events are normally processed into the.. main database.. each morning.. Read my.. discussion.. about an image by an Australian photographer purporting to show a meteorite impact.. Today's Sun and Moon, 7 Dec 2013.. The material here is necessarily graphics intensive, but I've done my best to optimize the images so that download times should be reasonable even with slow network connections.. I'm happy to respond to emails with questions or comments.. To avoid your mail being misidentified as spam, please make sure it has a subject line and no HTML content.. If your email server implements SPF filtering.. , I may not be able to respond.. SPF is a protocol designed to control spam, but it also blocks a lot of legitimate email.. I would suggest you contact your ISP or mail administrator and have SPF disabled.. In spite of its good intentions, it is a badly flawed system.. Copyright 2013.. Chris L Peterson.. All rights reserved..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory
    Descriptive info: The Observatory - N 38 47.. 166' W 105 29.. 017' 2767 m.. Cloudbait Observatory is currently located 5 km north of Guffey, Colorado.. Sometime in the next few years I plan to move it to.. another location.. about 12 km further west.. The roll-off building houses a permanently mounted 300mm LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and a variety of instrumentation.. It is designed for robotic operation.. Location.. Weather Climate.. Instrumentation.. Robotic Operation.. Construction Details.. Copyright 2004,..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory History
    Descriptive info: History.. I've been interested in astronomy for as long as I can remember.. For a while in college I majored in astrophysics, but along the way I decided that I wouldn't be happy working in an academic setting, so I switched to physics and decided to continue my pursuits in astronomy as an amateur.. Truly, astronomy is one of the few sciences where the contributions of amateurs remain both useful and welcome.. Advances in instrumentation now allow amateurs to collect data of a quality possible only at professional observatories just a few years ago.. The sky is very big, and the number of professional telescopes is very small, so there is always some unexplored object that can be studied, and some researcher happy to have an additional source of fresh data.. My own interests have always lain in two separate areas: instrumentation and imaging.. As long ago as the late 1970s I constructed an automated telescope mount and a CCD camera.. Such technology, common today, was very rare at that time.. I continue today to explore new mount designs and imaging technology, and am very interested in robotic observing.. One thing I have  ...   in both the Earth Science (Geology) department and the Space Science department.. I was involved in much of the technical development of the Museum's Allsky Camera project, and now act as principle investigator for that project through Cloudbait Observatory.. My first real scope.. This picture is from 1978.. I am at the eyepiece of the 6 reflector and my friend Stefan Demetrescu is by the computer.. Stefan and I designed the 6800 based computer that is guiding the scope and collecting images from its CCD camera.. The mount is motorized on both axes, with each axis utilizing two motors and a differential gear system to achieve a wide range of tracking and slewing speeds.. The 2.. 5 inch refractor attached to the main tube is an autoguider using a 2D lateral effect photodiode to correct the telescope's position.. Early CCD image.. 10 minute exposure with the above described 6 scope.. The camera consists of a 100X100 element CCD array (Fairchild CCD201), cooled to about 0 C by alcohol and ice.. This image of M51 was made in 1977, and I believe it to be one of the first amateur CCD images taken.. Copyright 2009,..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory Gallery
    Descriptive info: Gallery.. To view these images at their best, you may need to.. calibrate your display.. CCD Images.. Comets and Asteroids.. Solar and Aurora.. Meteors.. Sky Phenomena.. Solar System.. Other Images.. Copyright 2002,..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory Science
    Descriptive info: Science.. Research at Cloudbait is focused in two areas:.. photometry.. and.. meteor analysis.. Photometry.. is the measurement of stellar brightness, and usually involves the analysis of brightness as a function of time.. Although the stars seem to our eyes to be of constant brightness, the fact is that many are not, and display variations over periods ranging from minutes to years.. My current photometric projects include the investigation of two M dwarf stars, one a possible eclipsing binary, and the other a possible rapid rotator.. In both cases, I am looking for brightness variations of just a few tenths of a magnitude in a  ...   to record the paths of large.. fireballs.. , the type of objects that are capable of surviving their passage through the atmosphere and producing.. meteorites.. on the ground.. I am working with the.. to put into place a network of all-sky cameras around Colorado, and eventually over a larger area.. On 9 August 2002 I successfully captured an image of the CONTOUR spacecraft as it made its final visible pass over North America before its trajectory was to take it towards a 2003 rendezvous with Comet Encke.. Unfortunately, it now appears that the spacecraft has broken up and is dead in space.. Details are..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory Archaeoastronomy
    Descriptive info: Archaeoastronomy.. We can assume that people have been observing the stars for as long as we have had minds enough to wonder.. Throughout most of history there have been two reasons that people looked to the heavens: as a tool for predicting seasonal events such as planting and harvest times, and as a source of spiritual guidance and mythological explanation.. Rare elements of true science have occasionally shown up, for example in ancient Greece, but it is only in the last few hundred years that we can really say  ...   irrational people who are prepared to believe in astrology and other nonsense.. For these people, I have only sympathy that they have given up the very essence of what makes us human: our ability to reason.. For our ancestors, who didn't know better, I give credit for the observations and discoveries that were made and which contributed to our knowledge today.. When I travel, I always enjoy visiting sites with some historic astronomical significance, and I share here some of those places.. British.. Aztec.. Egyptian.. American Indian.. Indian.. Mayan..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory Projects and Plans
    Descriptive info: Projects Plans.. Computerized Barndoor Tracker.. All-sky Meteor Camera.. Quickcam Modification.. LAN Based Weather Station.. Axim-to-LX200 Cable.. Serial Autoguider Relay Controller.. Miscellaneous Downloads.. FOVOrganizer.. - sorts the field-of-view indicator file used in TheSky.. Complete install.. , 1.. 6 MB.. EXE file only.. , if you already have VB6 runtime files installed (11 KB).. LX200 Parker.. - parks and unparks an LX200 so it is aligned when you power it up (requires.. ASCOM V5 Platform.. and the.. Meade LX200 Classic and Autostar Driver.. ) The latest version allows you to set an arbitrary park position.. 4 MB.. Copyright 2008,..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory Links
    Descriptive info: Links.. Colorado Observatories Observers.. Mt.. Evans Observatory.. - operated at 14,148 feet by Denver University.. Las Brisas Observatory.. - Paul Signorelli's observatory near Florissant.. Ginger Mayfield.. - a friend in Divide who is pushing the limits of digital camera imaging.. Doug Wheeland.. - a deep-sky imager inside the Colorado Springs light dome.. Matt Russell.. - a recent transplant to Colorado Springs, with a beautiful new observatory.. Organizations.. Colorado Springs Astronomical Society.. - my local club.. Denver Astronomical Society.. Astronomical League.. International Dark-Sky Association.. Rational Thought  ...   about this dangerous foolishness.. Freedom From Religion Foundation.. - something we all need.. Center for Inquiry.. - defending reason and science.. The Skeptics Society.. - if you aren't skeptical, you've given up your humanity.. The Skeptical Inquirer.. - read it!.. The Secular Web.. - promoting humanism and metaphysical naturalism.. Other Links.. Photography.. - some of my own images.. Guffey Wildflowers.. - my project to identify local wildflowers.. Danesculptor.. - my wife's sculpting site.. Guffey Community Charter School.. - where I teach science part-time.. Copyright 2012,..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory Instrumentation
    Descriptive info: Instruments.. Telescope.. Meade.. LX200.. , 300mm aperture, 3000mm focal length fork mounted Schmidt-Cassegrain.. Autoguider.. SBIG.. ST-237A.. on a separate 80mm f/5 achromat guide scope with motorized positioner.. Focuser.. Technical.. Innovations.. RoboFocus.. system driving the LX200 primary focuser.. CCD Camera.. In-house.. Cooled KAF0400/KAF1600 CCD camera, Ethernet interface.. CCD Camera.. ST-8i.. , cooled CCD camera, 1530 x 1020 pixel array, 9 x 9 micron pixels, Ethernet interface.. ST-6.. , cooled CCD camera, 375 x 242 pixel array, 23 x 27 micron pixels.. Video Camera.. AVA.. Astrovid 2000.. , high sensitivity video camera, modified for remote control operation.. Allsky Camera.. Allsky meteor detecting  ...   the best planetarium/telescope control package available.. TPoint.. telescope pointing error modeling software.. I use the.. version.. Camera Control.. Cyanogen.. MaximDL.. ASCOM.. compliant camera control and image processing package.. Focuser Control.. Larry Weber.. Steve Brady.. FocusMax.. compliant autofocus routine.. Image Processing.. IRAF.. , the professional standard for astronomical image processing.. Sadly, *NIX only.. Christian Buil.. Iris.. , an excellent (and free) image processing program.. CCDSoft.. , a good program that I use mainly for its excellent astrometry tools.. Meteor Detection.. Sirko Molau.. Metrec.. , meteor detection and identification program.. Webcam.. Peter Katreniak.. K3CCD Tools, used for webcam acquisition and processing.. Copyright 2005,..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory - October 23, 2013 Fireball
    Descriptive info: October 23, 2013 Fireball.. This bright fireball occurred at 9:19 PM MDT over northern Colorado.. The meteor is not associated with any shower.. It was widely witnessed in Colorado along the Front Range.. The meteor duration was 13 seconds.. Data has been recovered from the following cameras:.. (.. details.. ,.. video.. ).. DMNS.. The image at left is from the Denver Museum camera; mouse over it to see the image from the Cloudbait camera.. The meteor descended at a very shallow angle, maintaining  ...   slow speed and shallow angle of descent are typical of meteorite producing events, but the lack of significant fragmentation is not.. This map shows details of the fireball path.. The ground path was about 200 km long.. The meteor started near Mead, CO and ended near Yuma, CO.. Its radiant was along the border of Hercules and Ophiuchus.. If you saw this event and have not made a report, please do so.. Please check back for further information as it becomes available.. Copyright 2013,..

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  • Title: Cloudbait Observatory - Fireballs
    Descriptive info: Fireballs.. Please read this overview of fireballs before reporting one.. Space is full of material left over from the creation of the Solar System, and the Earth is continually encountering this debris, which enters our atmosphere at very high velocities- many kilometers per second.. At such speeds, the air in front of a meteoroid is rapidly compressed, producing enough heat to ablate its surface and usually burn it up completely while still many kilometers high.. As it burns, it generates a bright streak across the sky- a.. meteor.. , or shooting star.. From a location with dark skies, you will normally see several meteors per hour as sand-sized particles burn up.. Occasionally, larger particles encounter the Earth's atmosphere, producing much more spectacular light shows.. These very bright meteors are called.. (the International Astronomical Union defines a fireball as a meteor brighter than magnitude -4, about the same as Venus.. ).. Another term that is sometimes used is.. bolide.. , especially for fireballs that explode.. However, this term is not formally defined, and should not be used when referring to fireballs.. Adding to possible confusion, scientists who study impact structures use the term bolide for a meteoroid that forms a crater.. The image at the top of this page shows the fireball produced on 9 October 1992 by the Peekskill.. meteorite.. on its way to a collision with a parked car! (Technically, it did not become a meteorite until it actually reached the ground, but I think the usage is fair here.. ).. Fireball Factoids.. Very bright fireballs are caused by objects ranging in size from a few inches to a few feet.. They encounter the atmosphere at speeds up to 70,000 mph.. They stop burning when they are 10 to 20 miles high.. If you see a fireball reach the horizon, it is over 300 miles away.. If you see it drop behind a hill or trees, it is probably more than 50 miles away.. It can take more than five minutes for.. to reach the ground after the meteor burns out.. If.. do land, they won't be hot and they cannot start fires.. Usually, not more than one or two percent of the mass of a fireball will survive to the ground.. Any colors you see are probably caused by ionized atmospheric gasses, and not by material in the meteoroid.. Green, for example, is produced by ionized oxygen (meteoroids do not contain significant  ...   is measured in degrees clockwise from north.. You also need to note your exact location, from a map or GPS receiver.. Think about the colors you saw, whether pieces were breaking off, and whether there was a smoke trail or glowing air behind the meteor.. If you heard any sounds, how long after you saw the meteor did they happen?.. You can estimate the.. by placing your hands together as shown here, and counting upwards from the horizon, hand over hand.. Each hand width is about 10 degrees.. So if you first saw the meteor about five hands above the horizon, its starting altitude would be 50 degrees.. You can also measure the altitude accurately with a protractor and a weighted piece of string.. Estimate the.. by figuring out where north is from a map or by using a compass.. Enter the exact angle in degrees from your compass, or use the diagram here to estimate the value.. With good reports from several locations, it is possible to estimate the orbit of the original meteoroid, and determine something about its parent body.. If you see a fireball from Colorado or the surrounding states, I would like to hear about it.. I'm part of a team from the.. that actively investigates these events, both in the interest of determining the original orbit and also of recovering any possible meteorites that might be produced.. You can report fireballs.. Fireball reports:.. October 23, 2013.. October 13, 2012.. June 23, 2010.. May 16, 2010.. March 16, 2010.. January 19, 2010.. July 13, 2009.. December 6, 2008.. December 4, 2008.. October 28, 2008.. April 24, 2008.. March 20, 2008.. October 20, 2007.. (possible space junk).. October 6, 2007.. August 19, 2007.. August 9, 2007.. May 4, 2007.. April 20, 2007.. February 3, 2007.. January 4, 2007.. (space junk).. December 8, 2006.. October 1, 2006.. March 3, 2006.. January 9, 2006.. December 25, 2005.. November 12, 2005.. November 10, 2005.. July 29-30, 2005.. June 4, 2005.. February 9, 2005.. January 19, 2005.. November 16, 2004.. July 7, 2004.. May 21, 2004.. February 25, 2004.. February 9, 2004.. January 11, 2004.. November 13, 2003.. February 21, 2003.. February 20, 2003.. December 30, 2002.. November 28, 2002.. November 12, 2002.. October 7, 2002.. October 6, 2002.. September 6, 2002.. August 17, 2001.. Also, you can try this.. experimental page with streaming videos.. of some of the larger fireballs recorded by our cameras..

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    Archived pages: 283