Tuesday, September 26, 2017
After a long wait, about 3 months, I was finally able to put together an image of the Hercules Globular Cluster (M13). Integration time is 4 hours in LRGB. I wish I had more time to image this target, but the weather would not cooperate. As I write this post it is cloudy…again. Perhaps, October will bring clear skies?
M13 is a very popular target for imagers. It’s relatively bright and it’s possible to image even when the moon is out. M13 is one of the oldest visible objects in the night sky. It has been estimated to be 12 to 13 billion years old which is close to the age of the “Big Bang”. I did a little research on the net and found that the cluster consists of 300,000 stars. How many can you count?
I was planning to image M16, The Pillars of Creation, but it looks like that will have to wait until next year. The Elephant Trunk Nebula is a possible next target…we’ll see if the weather cooperates.
Friday, September 8, 2017
It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I wanted to get a bunch of things done before winter arrives. It's been a very hot and humid summer and it was hard make any progress on the house. I've learned from Erika about "multi-tasking" and this was a good time to give it a go. Instead of finishing one project at a time, I decided to do four things at once: build a bench for the entry area, make cabinet doors for the utility room and hallway, build a rock wall to prevent visitors from driving too fast past the observatory and kicking up dust, and build an attic in the garage in order to make room for our automobiles. Let's get started!
I have quite a few hinoki logs in the garage that have been saved for legs on future work benches and seats. I'll also be making railing posts for the stairs leading up to the third floor (more on this in a later post). The logs needed to be prepared for use. I removed the branch stubs which left knots in the wood. The knots give the wood more character. Later, I planed the wood with a razor.
The last step was to give the entire bench several coats of clear finish.
Moving on to the rock wall...the stones were gathered nearby and carefully placed. No mortar was used. However, each nook and cranny was filled with coarse gravel. This creates a stronger wall which might be important should we have another earthquake.
Somehow, I was able to squeeze in a few moments to build cabinet doors for the hallway and utility room.
While the doors dried, I went ahead and prepared the wood beams for installation.
Each beam needed to be trimmed to fit the metal rafter supports.
This stack of plywood will be used upstairs to replace the existing floor (more on that in a later post).
Here's some photos of the new attic space in the garage. Lots of room for hiding things.
Last, but not least, is the finished rock wall. I hope this is the last rock wall I will have to build. It seems that every home that I have owned has a rock wall. Not sure why that is, but I have plenty of practice at building these things. Up next...time to remodel the stairs and the second floor. Stay tuned.