Near-miss asteroid snapped by amateurs

Recently an asteroid the size of a bus passed by the Earth with a speed of 12,000 miles per hour. At its closest approach it was only a few thousand miles from the surface of Earth, which is much closer than many of the satellites which orbit the Earth. Amateur astronomer and Astronomy Now's equipment consultant Nick Howes coordinated the team which observed this interesting and fast moving object, with LCOGT network.

"occult" science at LCOGT

Our newly-commissioned Lucky Imaging and High Speed Photometry (LIHSP) cameras on FTN and FTS scored a great success on June 23rd at their first attempt to collect science data, catching occulations of both Pluto and its satellite Charon from FTN!  An "occultation" is simply the transit of an object along the line of sight to a star, From occultations of Kuiper Belt Objects, you can learn about their size, and a for large one like Pluto, its atmosphere and orbital parameters of its satellites (Charon). These events, however, are very short, only a few seconds, and to catch it our cameras were taking 10 images per second, 18000 images for a half hour of obseration! We worked with a large group of pluto hunters, involving many observers and many telescopes, all trying to image the same events from different parts of the globe: many astronomers had to travel to remote locations with their gear. The group effort was organized by Dr Leslie Young (SWRI). You can read about it on this National Geographic blog.

Organizing JSON output

There might be something to say for defining interfaces up front. Spending over one day cleaning up and re-organizing JSON output throughout multiple subprojects can be quite tedious. Once again, sed proved helpful, but sometimes it's harder to make sed perform like the scalpel than to run a quick grep search and manually edit.

Software Engineering Notes - Fun with sed

This is an engineering-notes blog. After publishing the first entry, I was alerted that these are sent to subscribers around the world. Apologies if this isn't your cup of tea, but I'm hoping to share another side of our project with the world! And I heard blog readers love pictures.

Notes from a software engineer

This is an engineering-notes blog. I plan on posting regular updates on my day-to-day happenings in a very casual format.

Star Party at Sedgwick for SBAU

Saturday was a case of “third time is the charm” in terms of scheduling a star party for the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit (SBAU) as the first two attempts were weathered out. Even Saturday evening when we were gathering at Sedgwick Reserve seemed questionable. But as the Sun went down, the clouds began to clear, and we were treated to a beautiful sunset filled with many different colors.

Space Invaders in the Santa Barbara Independent

The cover of this week's Santa Barbara Independent (June 16-23, 2011, Vol. 25, No. 283) features not only LCOGT, but how Santa Barbara is rising “to become a center of the astronomy universe.” (from the cover of the SB Independent).

2011 Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award of the ASP

It is that time of year again when the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) announces the winners of their eight awards, which include amateur astronomy and outreach efforts, significant contributions to astronomy research, outstanding Ph.D thesis, and teaching at different levels.

First Shipment to Chile

Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) achieved a critical milestone today, with two 40’ containers leaving their Santa Barbara headquarters en route to the CTIO observatory node in Chile. Inside the containers are three sets of enclosure walls designed and built by LCOGT for our 1-meter class telescopes. This is the first shipment of LCOGT-manufactured equipment to an observatory site in the global network.

Walls Shipped and Construction Begins

Quick update to Progress update on our network sites.

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