Thoughts and essays about music, physics, martinis and pretty girls.

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Name: Roger L. Smith
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Interests: Astronomy, Science,  Bicycle Racing, Music,  Photography, Tennis, and why...
Occupation: Computer Scientist, Software Engineer

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Martinis at Midnight

Saturday, March 18, 2006

back to kisses

lately this blog has been completely devoted to my feeble endeavors into the world of astronomy and astrophysics, but not this post...

today i returned to my roots (sorta). you may know that i am a self taught (extremely amateur) musician. i've been playing guitar for about 25 years, and writing some songs along the way. i am (by training) a software engineer (computer dude). i've been developing software to put food on the table since i graduated from college. i can still remember sitting in my dorm room with my commodore 64 thinking "it would be so cool to write music with a computer".

that technology came into the publics grasp not long after, however, i then heard the calling to write acoustic folky songs; i needed to be a purist, at least for a little while. i put away the amps and invested in a nice acoustic guitar. i learned some finger style guitar work and actually had a lot of nice comments on the songs i wrote. then came the drought.

for the past 3+ years i haven't accomplished anything musical; until today. today i sat down with my computer and some cool high tech software and cranked out some music. it was fun. it was a lot of fun. finally, again to be in control of what i was listening to. if i didn't like what i heard, i could change it. i could make it what i wanted.

i wrote a couple simple electronica tunes (remembering in the beginning to give them a kiss "Keep It Simple Stupid"). i can't wait to try something more complicated and maybe even play guitar along with the computer. maybe tomorrow... :)

stay tuned, more science stuff coming soon.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

good night

in my last post i mentioned that the next post would be about stardust @ home. well, stardust @ home is running a little late and so am i. i haven't had the time to go through the tutorial, but i plan to do that in the next week or so.

tonight i did get the telescope out and this time i had the patience to polar align it and also to set the setting circles. i'd never really taken the time to learn how to use setting circles but tonight i decided i'd give it a try. it was actually very easy once i figured out a few basic things. maybe i'll post an entry in the near future about what i learned.

after my scope was aligned, i jotted down the RA and DEC coordinates of a few objects that i wanted to find, and headed back out into the crisp, clear evening. the first thing i headed for was M1 (the crab nebula). wow, it was incredibly easy; i could have never found this without using the coordinates and the setting circles. M1 was very very faint in my slightly light polluted sky, but i could still make it out.

the next object on my list was M35 which again appeared very faint, and i am not totally convinced that i found it. however, i guess it did look something like some of the amateur astrophotography images i later found online.

since i was in the neighborhood i took a look at Saturn, and it was quite beautiful tonight. after a nice gaze, i moved along to M45 (the beehive cluster). this was again easy to find and a nice object to view. finally i located M67, which is another dense open star cluster.

all of these objects were quite easy to find once the scope was properly aligned; provided you have the coordinates.

all in all it was an excellent evening to be looking up. i found a few new objects that i've never seen before and i am anxious to get back out and try it again. there are 2 words that come to mind right now, and they are "good night".


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