Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Another Short Update

Temps have been mild.Yesterday was most likely a record breaking day with the high near +12°C.
Overnight lows were near but above the freezing point.
Although it will be somewhat cooler,the mild the trend will continue for at least the next week.
Really missing the clear night skies and the astrophotography's been too long to remember the last time we a completely clear night.
This trend will continue as well:


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Short Update

Been having more clouds than clear skies for the past month so not doing very much sky shooting with the modified A-610.
I did manage to capture one possible meteor the last time I had the camera set up a little over a week ago:

Better days are coming but will most likely be few and far between for the remainder of this year.


A 'cold snap' is expected here tonight but will only stay for a day and then we warm up:

'4:29 AM AST Thursday 15 December 2016
Special weather statement in effect for:
  • Queens County
Very cold air and strong northwesterly winds overnight tonight and Friday morning will cause temperatures to drop to minus 15 to minus 20. Wind chill values Friday morning will be near minus 30 giving significant risk of frostbite.'


Sunday, October 30, 2016


No blog entry this Sunday...maybe I'll get one up later this week.I was away overnight and have been working a lot.
Sorry to disappoint my 'fan club' :D

-Al C

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ripped Off By #Narcity

   What is Narcity? What right do they have to steal photos?
    I was browsing Twitter last night and came across this article that was posted under the #northernlights hashtag :
   Interestingly,my photo was used for the Liverpool section.Not only was it used without my permission,it was also credited to 'pinterest'. I don't even use pinterest so how they got credit for MY photo is baffling to me.

   Here is the original photo I shot with photo data below:

   I don't mind my photos being used's only a hobby and I have thousands of them containing a wide range of subjects.....BUT credit to the photographer should be given.Those of us that do this type of photography spend our hard earned money on equipment and brave the cold,dark nights to capture these shots.A little recognition would be appreciated.
   Having said that,when one of my photos was used some years back in the booklet 'Lost In Nova Scotia' I was required to sign release forms allowing the publisher permission to use my photo prior to it being included and published.
   To me,publishing someone's photo without permission/credit is similar to what went on in this article from today's (Oct 26th,2016) Chronicle Herald:

    I hope the Narcity Halifax people correct their faux pas.....
    ......and in the future,all of my photos will be watermarked before being posted online.

Al C


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Back To Normal Weather / One Meteor

   Things are returning to normal here.We've had a couple of rains and all have helped to recover from the drought.However,the 'big storm' that was forecast for yesterday was not as predicted.We did get some rain and wind but had no flooding here in the southwest part of NS.

   Some more rain and normal temps are expected this week.


   Haven't had much time or clear skies over the past week to do any sky imaging but did manage to catch one possible meteor with the A-610:

   Weather permitting,here are a few things to look for this week:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Not As Dry Now / Odd Object In The Sky

   Finally!! We had some significant rainfall last Sunday and Monday.Actually,there was too much in the eastern part of NS with widespread flooding and damage. ( read ) .Here,we had just the right amount and the dry wells are recovering.Mine went from about a foot of water to over 4 ft in two days.
   The rest of the week was mostly sunny and dry with generally above normal temps.
   More rain is on the way this week and it's all welcome here.


   As those that read this regularly know,I operate a sky cam here that is snapping away on most clear nights basically looking for meteors or other 'strange' objects.Well,the camera found an oddity early Saturday morning.....not sure what this is...maybe the vapor trail from a satellite being repositioned? Anyways,the object was visible in the Northwest sky for a number of hours.If anyone else saw it,please comment below or send me an email.

   Larger version of the same video is here .

   Nothing like that appeared in last night's session of the same area of the sky but the camera did catch a small meteor late on Saturday evening:

   The Northern Lights outburst that was expected was a bust here but the ISS was a nice sight in the bright moonlit sky.
ISS coming into view

ISS fading into the Earth's shadow

   Some things to watch for this week,weather permitting can be found by visiting

That's all for now.
Have a great week!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Still Dry - Need Rain / Draconids


    The dry weather continues.
    Everytime the forecast calls for rain we get nothing.Initially Hurricane Matthew was expected to make it's way here by now and deliver some but that didn't only made it as far north as the Carolinas ,has now been down graded to a depression and is drifting east and out to sea.
    And while the southeastern US was getting the storm,yesterday was like a summer day here with temps into the +20°Cs with sun and it remained very warm and dry overnight.Currently the temp from the AGRG station across the street from here is +17°C / 63°F.....that is way above normal.
    Some rain is actually expected here today from a small system moving up the coast but the meteorologists can't give specifics on it and issued the following statement:
'A trough of low pressure passing over the Maritimes today will intensify tonight as it draws upon tropical moisture from the south.

Significant rainfall is expected over most of Nova Scotia beginning tonight with rainfall amounts totalling near 30 to 40 mm before ending by Monday afternoon.

At this time there remains some uncertainty in the exact positioning and intensity of this system, and a slight shift in either could result in higher rainfall amounts, possibly exceeding the warning criteria of 50 mm.

Environment Canada meteorologists will continue to monitor the development of this system and will update forecasts and possibly issue rainfall warnings as further information becomes available.'

As for how low rainfall has been,see the circled area in this graphic from Saturday's local newspaper:

The forecast for this week...maybe a little rain:


     The annual Draconid meteor shower occurred last week,peaking on the 7th.My unattended camera picked up a few of them:
A small Draconid

Draconid w/ the Andromeda Galaxy above

Things to look for in the night sky this week,weather permitting:

All for now.
Have a great week!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Dry Weather Continues's still dry here.We have had a few showers but rainfall is well below normal and the drought conditions continue.The forecast is showing some rain for today but ,up to the time of this post, there has been none yet.The long range 10 day model is showing only very slight amounts through to the 11th.Temps are also remaining warm with daytime readings near +20°C.Currently,at 5:15AM, my thermometer is showing +13.4°C....that's very warm for here at this time of the year and day.
The weather forecast for this week:

I read an article about Hurricane Mathew impacting our area by next weekend.That article went on to say that it would be similar to Juan some years ago that did significant damage here.Personally I think that person was 'fear mongering'. The storm is currently well south of Cuba and has a lot of travelling to do to get here.At this time,no one can say for certain if it will even make it this far north so I would hold off on predicting flooding and hurricane force winds for here at this point.
The current graphic:


We had a some Northern Lights activity early last week.There was also a prediction of a large outburst mid-week but that did not happen here.As it was,I did get a few pics last Monday night from my favorite viewing location:

The sun has gone quiet again and there is no aurora activity expected here this week.

Some other things to look for in the night sky for this week:

That's all for now.
Have a great week!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Is the drought over?

Is the drought over?
It might just be.We've had a little rain and there's more coming this week.
Here's the forecast from Environment Canada:

So...I did  little night shooting last week with the A-610.That old 5mp camera is always shooting the night sky,unattended,weather permitting...looking for meteors or other 'anomalies' in the sky.Nobody  says those 'streaks' are definitely meteors but those of us that know....know.It's actually quite amusing that some bloggers say you can't get pics of meteors......umm....wrong!! 
Two things to know about night sky photography:
a)learn how to use your camera and 
b) learn how to use your camera. 
As for equipment...depending on what what you're looking to do,cheap cameras work as well as 'big bucks' setups if you follow the rules above and use some good photo editing programs.I may comment on some of them over the next few weeks.I have my favorites and they are not hard to use at all.
The following pics are taken with the old Canon A-610 running CHDK software ....
The Milky Way...ISO1600 at 40 secs (unguided)

The Milky Way and maybe a meteor...ISO1600 at 40 secs (unguided)

Anyways.....some things to look for this week if the sky permits:

Have a great week!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Will It Ever Rain Again?

Heading out of town today,may not be back until tomorrow,so making the weekly entry now.

So...the drought continues here.The longer it lasts the drier it gets.Rivers are nothing more than trickles,wells are dry,the grass is dying,the trees are starting to drop their leaves and turn's not good.
There's a chance of a little rain in the next day or so but the models are showing not even 20mm where near enough.Not familiar with the size of a mm? It's only about the thickness of a dime.
Anyways,there's nothing we can do about it and eventually we will get some rain but it will take months to recover from this dry spell.
The forecast for today and most of next week from Environment Canada:

In the meantime,cloudy skies are few and far between so we might as well get out there and enjoy them.
A few pics from the past few days:
An Iridium flare taken with my 'new to me' E-PL1

A possible meteor caught by the unattended Canon A-610 last night

Time lapse from last night's session.9PM to 3AM.Shot with Canon A-610,each from 40 secs @ ISO1600 via CHDK software.

Some things to watch for over the next week:

All for now.Have a great week and keep praying for rain!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Remaining Dry

The dry weather continues in this part of Canada with no relief in sight.This week will be dry with only a slight chance of a shower.Models were showing approx 100 mm of rain early next week but that has currently been revised to only 40 mm.Domestic wells are are now at critical levels and major rivers are nothing more than a trickle.
This week's forecast:

Even though it's been very dry most evenings have been foggy over the past week so I did very little sky imaging.As a matter of fact,I sold the EOS and all accessories last week.....have ordered an Olympus and hopefully that will arrive before the end of the week.
Anyways,I did capture a few sky objects early last week:
Polar orbiting dual satellites 

A small meteor

Coming up this week:

That's all for now.Have a great week.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sept 4,2016 - The Drought Continues

So,we are now in September and the very dry weather continues.Other than a few showers there has been no rain here for months in this part of the province and it's turning into a desperate situation with many rural wells drying up.We are also under another burning ban that includes all open fires,camp fires included.Tropical storm Hermine was originally forecast to bring some rain here but now it appears that may not happen and if it does it won't be until later in the week.The storm's position is currently east of Virginia and it is expected to move further out to sea soon and stay well south of us.

The forecast for this week from Environment Canada:


The only good thing about the lack of rain is the clear skies.I did quite a lot of astrophotography over the past week.Here's a few pics:
A nice convergence of two of the brighter planets and a bright star caught by my automated camera.

A possible meteor caught by the automated camera last night.

Another possible meteor.

A confirmed meteor.Taken with the Canon Rebel XS.I was looking for the aurora when this one zoomed through the northern sky.

Some things to look for this week:

That's all for now.Have a great week and pray for rain.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Notes: Aug 28,2016

It has cooled slightly here and there's been some rain and fog but temps still remain generally above normal and the water table is still low.There's a little rain coming our way this week and every little bit is welcomed.
The vegetation has rebounded a little and the deer that visit my back yard on a daily basis are much happier now.....and the little ones are growing and looking quite healthy.

This week's forecast my area:

Did a little sky imaging over the past week.The Saturn/Mars/Antares alignment was a nice sight.I missed the Jupiter/Venus conjunction last night.Going to try again tonight a little earlier and in a clearer location.

We also had a short Northern Lights event early last week:

And the Milky Way was glowing 

Thinks to look for in the night sky this week if the weather permits:

That's all for now.Have a great week!!

Winter's Last Gasp

  Quite interesting how quickly the seasons can change here. On April 20th we had snow...enough to turn the ground white (mind you,it didn&...