Today is the first day I've worked a "regular" schedule; in as far as getting up on time that is. I've been on the road for two weeks, and yes absent from the support forum. As well, I have a huge amount of email on all fronts I'm still weeding through to separate important actual emails from all the offers to use my bank account for the deposit of some many millions of dollars from a lost relative in Nigeria... but I digress.
No one is going to feel sorry for me though because the first week I was gone, I was 6 hours out of my time zone in Maui (yes, THAT Maui) with Steve at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference (AMOS). Space situational awareness is a huge business in and of it's own, and also huge for us as well. Steve presented at the very first AMOS conference, and if you Google "Raven-Class Telescope", you'll see a whole lot of Software Bisque mounts! We do quite a bit of work in this field, including a lot of custom or specialized systems we put together. It keeps us pretty busy (when not making pretty pictures), and some of the advanced things our customers are using our hardware and software for in that field is jaw dropping. Serious, mission critical tasks ride on our software and hardware every single night all over the world. There is little that makes me more proud to be a part of this team at Software Bisque.
AMOS was a good time to show a new developing partnership with Officina Stellare (we've always been good friends!), as we will soon be offering complete "systems" coupling our mounts with their scopes for ready made observatories. Also... study the photo shown here carefully... that's not an ORDINARY Paramount Taurus! That's right, next year we are introducing an alt-az Taurus model, and there will also be a... (drum roll please)... direct drive option.
Oh yes, there is no room for complacency at Software Bisque as we have been charging forward with a new mount model a year now ever since we introduced the MYT!
AMOS is a really cool event, as there are almost no astronomers there, yet everyone needs big telescopes and accurate reliable mounts for them, and of course accurate, no second-chances, pointing performance. Thursday night Steve and I setup a Paramount MYT on the terrace for the annual AMOS "Star Party" (of sorts), did some live demonstrations of satellite tracking. Select the ISS, and the scope automatically slewed to, acquired, and tracked the ISS across the sky. We did several fast and some slow moving satellites, and took some exposures of a few seconds each. The satellite is a small point source, while the stars are streaking past. Pretty cool, and I must say it's wetted my appetite for trying to capture the ISS at a longer focal length and stacking the images.
Having lugged my small Esprit 80mm refractor through the airports for this, I also took advantage of having an optic and a mount and so Saturday night after the conference I went up to the peak of Haleakalah (a national park, open 24-hours a day!), and setup before sunset. What a glorious view and night it was too! I used the Raspberry Pi in the skybox configuration and use my iPad for imaging. Truth be told, I have yet to even download the images (told you I'm behind!) from the box, but I have gone through some of my DSLR images and I have a few keepers. The experience was instructive too because I was cold, tired, and at 10,000 feet a little oxygen deprived. A good test case, and I made some notes about things I got stuck on using TheSky LTI, or that I thought took more effort than it needed to when your in a hurry and somewhat compromised... yeah, that's right it was R&D, and I was doing it for YOU... yeah... that's right, I did it for our customers! ;-)
After a week in Maui, it was time to fly back to the mainland and get ready for AIC. I will confess though instead of going back to Florida for a couple of days and then jetting back to San Jose, I played hooky a couple of days and visited my daughter and son-in-law who is currently stationed at the naval base in San Diego before driving up to San Jose.
AIC (Advanced Imaging Conference) is always a blast. I love these events when I can see so many of my vendor friends, and customers who come to these events, and it seemed to be over far too fast. Once again we shared a booth with Officina Stellare, but we had a slightly smaller telescope this time on a Taurus 500. For the second time I was invited to speak at AIC, and gave a short 30 minute talk on the main stage about ethics in astrophotography. I'd like to think I offered something other than a 30 minute rant on fake APOD's, and over processing, and it seems the feedback was pretty good. The videos will be on the AIC web site for attendees who missed it soon, but alas, not to the general public until a year after the conference (you should have gone!).
What's next? Well, I have a couple of weeks to recuperate and get caught up. Then star party season is starting to get underway! I'll be at Chiefland October 18-21st, and I do have a follow up to my successful Sky & Telescope webinar next week (I'll blog about that separately soon). Then in November we are doing a workshop at GMARS near Landers, CA (read all about it here: https://telescopes.net/store/richard-wright-software-bisque-at-gmars-november-11th-2017.html). The next really big thing on my schedule is the Winter Star Party in the Keys, and it breaks my heart that this event is in jeopardy this year. The site took heavy damage from hurricane Irma, and it is nearly impossible that this site will be rebuilt in time for the February star party. I'll be waiting like everyone else to see if the Southern Cross Astronomical Society is able to find a temporary alternate site, but it's hard to find a location for 500 amateur astronomers with such short notice... much less consider, that everyone else in Florida was pretty affected by the storm as well; myself included. It seems latest reports is our observatory site does have some damage to the club house, and we have a few flooded observatories, but nothing we can't cleanup and patch up. There are far worse stories and people still in bad shape from this season.
But, back to work for me! Top priorities... some device support issues (usually take the longest), LTI, @focus3, and the new screen stretch.... better get to it!
10-04-2017 10:30 AM