Category Archives: Observation

The most basic science; looking at nature to see how it works.

The Texas Stream Team

My participation on the Irving Green Advisory Board has made me aware of how little I know about the environmental aspects and activities of Irving, Texas. To remedy this, I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to get involved in local activities. Continue reading…

Posted in Community, Environment, General Interest, Measurement, Nature Study, Observation, Projects, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Earthrise” from the Moon, Animated

Another iconic (literally) moment was the capture of this photo, which came to define an entire new–there’s just no other way to say it–worldview. Continue reading…

Posted in Astronomy, DIY, General Interest, History of Science, Observation, Optics, Photography, Space | 1 Comment

Report: Shelf-life of Scientific Data is Now Twenty Years


A biologist at the University of British Columbia says 80 per cent of data by today’s scientists is lost within 20 years, a victim of digital storage. Continue reading…

Posted in Best Practices, Computer Science, General Interest, History of Science, Measurement, Observation, Open Science, Open Source, Publishing, Software, Tools | 2 Comments

Citizen Science Musings: Amateurs and Astronomy

Addressing the Peninsula Astronomical Society at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA.

The bottom line of my presentation was that this column began as an amateur astronomy column in 1928, and remained so for the next 24 years. During that time, it was the go-to place for new innovations in mirror grinding, telescope mounts, and all the thousands of details that lie along the way. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Astronomy, Citizen Science Musings, Community, DIY, Events, Instrumentation, Makers and Making, Observation, Publishing, Space, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

This Week at Hilton Pond (1-7 December 2013)—#585—“Wandering White-throat: A Long-lived Sparrow Meets Its Demise”

Figure 1. White-throated Sparrows, Zonotrichia albicollis (see photo), breed primarily in Canada, but many individuals migrate to the southern U.S. to spend the winter. (Photo copyright Bill Hilton Jr.)

Ever wonder why I devote so much time, energy, and thought to bird banding? In part it’s for the rush (and scientific validation) I get when notified one of “my” banded birds has been encountered at a faraway locale. Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, Biology, General Interest, Nature Study, Observation, Ornithology, Photography, Wildlife | 1 Comment

ISON Fades, But Lovejoy Remains

Comet Lovejoy as seen from Cape Schanck in Melbourne, Australia, last Friday.

The presently visible comet C/2013 R1 or Lovejoy was discovered by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy in September this year. Continue reading…

Posted in Astronomy, Breaking News, Observation, Space | Leave a comment

Sic Transit ISON


Some comets like it hot, but Comet ISON was not one of them. Continue reading…

Posted in Astronomy, Breaking News, Measurement, Observation, Photography, Space, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Fission and Radioactive Fallout: Fukushima samples retested 2 years later

Gamma spectrum analysis with simple equipment can differentiate fallout from weapons vs. reactors; it can tell if the fission was via uranium or by plutonium, tell the relative age of the sample or determine certain environmental conditions at the time of release. Continue reading…

Posted in Breaking News, Environment, General Interest, Instrumentation, Measurement, Nuclear, Observation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

ISON Fizzle? Maybe Not

Comet ISON appears as a white smear heading up and away from the sun on Thursday, November 28. Scientists initially thought the comet had been disintegrated by the sun, but images suggest a small nucleus may still be intact. Image: CNN

It now looks like some chunk of ISON’s nucleus has indeed made it through the solar corona, and re-emerged. It’s throwing off dust and (probably) gas, but we don’t know how long it can sustain that. Continue reading…

Posted in Astronomy, Breaking News, General Interest, Instrumentation, Measurement, Observation, Photography, Space | Leave a comment

Instrument Platform

The sensors for my atmospheric observatory need to be mounted somewhere they can have unobstructed access to the sky and weather. The solution is a platform located away from buildings and trees. The platform is built using the same materials and construction that one would use to build a deck for a house. For the legs I buried four 12 foot treated posts … Continue reading…

Posted in Amateur Science, DIY, Meteorology, Nature Study, Observation, Sensors | 1 Comment