Monday, October 30, 2006

On Amateur Astronomy



As some of you know, I'm an amateur astronomer. It's a great hobby, I've been involved with it since I was 14 years old and I really enjoy relaxing under cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 night sky and commanding a big stack of advanced optics and robotics, not to mention some really cool cameras to be able to see cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 heavens and enjoy cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m more fully than many people do.


When you first buy a telescope, it's a pretty daunting experience. There are different types of optical systems, different types of mount, automated pointing systems, CCD cameras, eyepieces, film cameras, focusers, dew control electronics, counterweights, pointing aids, and a host of reading material, not to mention a bunch of specialized software to use all cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 gear togecá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r effectively. Now, a lot of time when people first get into astronomy, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 first thing cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y think to do is just go out and buy a telescope. Seems like a natural thing to do, eh?


When you go to cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 store to get your telescope, you're likely to be assaulted by a barrage of marketing about all cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 wonders you will observe with your shiny new telescope. The pictures on cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 side of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 60mm achromatic refractor you're likely to end up with promise you that you'll be able to observe cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 universe from your back yard and it'll look a lot like this. When you get your shiny new scope home and set it up in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 back yard for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 first time, you'll soon discover that reality and marketing sometimes are at odds, because what you're really going to see will look a lot more like this (if you're lucky and spent some money on a decent scope and you live under a really dark sky). Chances are that you're not even going to see that because you haven't been versed in using averted vision to pick out detail in faint objects. Sometimes when I let people look through my telescopes for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 first time and I show cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m something pretty incredible like a galaxy that's 50 million light years away, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y barely see anything. It's always easiest to show cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m something bright and obvious like Jupiter or Saturn, something that requires little skill to find or observe and that will give quick gratification.


In fact, if you're going to get good use out of that telescope, you're going to have to become familiar with a whole host of topics that you may not have thought a whole lot about prior to getting into astronomy. Things like celestial coordinate systems, ephemeris, polar alignment techniques, averted vision, calculating cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 magnification and field of view of an optical system, different object catalogs and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir contents, gauging cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 viewing quality of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 sky, amateur meteorology (hauling out 200lbs of gear on a night when a cold front is going to bring rain 2 hours after you get setup is a bummer), not to mention all cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 topics of astrophotography if you really do want to see sights like those promised on cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 box in which cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 telescope came.


When you get right down to it most people's entry into astronomy is guided by a lot of marketing hype followed shortly by disappointment. Disillusionment, you might call it. Once you understand what cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 real capabilities of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 equipment are and you spend cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 time to learn how it works, what its limitations are and what cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 optimal setup is to see cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 things you're really interested in AND you take cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 time to learn all cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 systems and background data on what's up in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 sky and when is cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 best time to see it based on where you are and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 local terrain, THEN you will be finally understand what you can expect and be happy when you get your gear to reveal cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 things you were interested in in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 first place.


A lot of people don't have cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 patience or time to devote cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 energy required to actually get good at this hobby and a lot of people abandon it for just this reason. There are a lot of hobbies out cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re that have much more immediate gratification. After all, you can just go to STScI and see pretty much everything an amateur would ever want to try to see and more. In fact, in a world where automatic telescopic surveys of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 night sky are happening continuously, why cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 hell would anyone sign up for this hobby. It's futile, isn't it? Everything that can be seen will be seen by cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 professionals, right? Wrong. There is still valuable science being done by amateurs, new comets being discovered, supernovas, Red Spot Jr. In fact, amateurs still contribute valuable science using cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 modest tools cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y have available. The fact of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 matter is that cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 gear is getting so good cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365se days that you can achieve incredible results with pretty modest equipment if you know what you're doing.


Some people don't get cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 appeal of this hobby, some people do, some people really get sucked into it and spend huge amounts of time and effort on it because it's a really interesting and it gets cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m in touch with cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 universe around cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m. Some people see a lot of value in that, some people think it's a waste of time and money. At cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 end of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 day it turns out that you get out of astronomy what you put into it.


A lot like anocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r field of endeavor that I know.


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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sourcefire Files S-1...



...so we're in what's called cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 "quiet period". What that means for me, practically speaking, is that I won't be doing a lot waxing profound in public for some time. So while cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re are many "interesting" threads on both Sourcefire and one of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 technologies we develop in progress on various mailing lists and blogs and as much as I'd like to, I won't be making any comments on those discussions.


Not even if you buy me beer. I dare you to try!


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