Saturday, November 8, 2008

[CSO] Paintshop, Gimp, or Photoshop?? For your astrophotos..

Hi everyone!

Todd Gross, from the "Common Sense Observer" here...

My apologies for a long lapse between posts. My observing lately
has been limited to small scopes and binoculars. I've also put
aside astrophotography in the short term. I thought about why.
One of the reasons my interest in Astrophotography waned
was that I was struggling with the software, post-observing

For instance, when I was doing a lot of planetary astrophotography,
just a few years ago, even deep sky, I was at a disadvantage in
that I did not know how to use Photoshop. So I learned Paintshop,
which cost less so was less risk involved. That was a
suitable substitute, you can see the results at
With Paintshop I was able to manipulate layers, and achieve
the same results as Photoshop with one big problem:

All the articles written in Sky and Tel, and Astronomy and
others, and the articles coming out online had Photoshop
instructions. It would have taken too much effort to figure
out the differences in Paintshop, leaving me frustrated.

Working in Television we also often used Gimp , I just couldnt
get use to it, and I admit I was simply waiting for someone,
some day to show me how to use Photoshop. It took years, but
ironically it happened by mistake, just last week....

In my other business, where I find online products, I am offering
a new Photoshop tutorial from my friend Stephen Luc, a video
tutorial that just changes everything. While I like Paintshop,
I can join the rest of the world and move to the standard now..

Here check this one out:

(Normally runs $67, but it is only $10 here, ignore
the Master Resale Rights option, that is for people who
want to sell this)

The first thing that went through my mind when I repackaged
this video tutorial series, and actually learned Photoshop at
long last, was just how handy it would be for
you know this has just been released! Now YOU can learn to
layer astrophotos, combine scenes, and the 1000 other things
I'm leaving out ;) AND you'll be able to follow along when
the next "how to" article comes out!



Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Friday, November 7, 2008

New on the Space Place Web Site: Let's Go to the Moon

Nancy writes:

We have a wonderful new activity on the Space Place web site. I am
attaching a short announcement about the new activity. I encourage you to
either e-mail it, or print, photocopy, and mail it to the educators with
whom you work.

NASA¹s latest plans to return to the Moon are a lot more ambitious in many
ways than was the Apollo Program in the OE60s and OE70s. This time, we plan to
stay a while. NASA wants to learn how to keep the astronauts alive in a
hostile environment for months at a time, so we will someday be able to send
humans to Mars and beyond! Designing a lunar habitat is part of the
challenge. Kids can help to create a lunar outpost by building their own
Moon Habitat, or even a whole village of them! This fun activity that can
involve the whole family can be found at NASA¹s website for kids, The Space

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Thursday, November 6, 2008

PAS Meeting of the Minds Nov 13th!!!

Good morning,

Currently, we do not have enough topics to make a meeting.
Please send topics to me of things we need to discuss
if you wish to have the meeting on Nov 13th.

Also, please note that the 13th is NOT the last Thurs of the month.
This month was rearranged... due to Turkey day taking away
the 27th date, and then a star party, for which I hope to get
many volunteers to attend at Ambrea Elementary.... thus we
moved the MOM to the 13th to allow for the extra volunteers.

You can't, no matter how hard you try, be at the MOM and the star
party in the same night. I've tried... doesn't work.

So, we have the MOM on Nov 13th. Put it on your calendar
and then watch for a update in case we cancel due to lack of
topics. The current topic list is on line at:

PAS Meeting of the Minds Agenda in the downloads section of our site, page 1.

Check it out. Add to it by emailing me ideas of topics at

Reminder, this is a PAS Business meeting. We ask that NO KIDS attend,
and only those who are interested in how PAS works, should attend. See you there!

Let's try to hold the meeting this month.
See you there!!!

Terri, Event Coordinator

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Taurid Meteor Shower Nov 5 - 12

Space Weather News for Nov. 6, 2008

TAURID METEOR SHOWER: The annual Taurid meteor shower is underway and it could be a good show. 2008 is a "swarm year" for the Taurids. Between Nov. 5th and 12th, Earth is due to pass through an unusually dense swarm of gritty debris from parent comet 2P/Encke. When a similar encounter happened in 2005, sky watchers observed a slow drizzle of midnight fireballs for nearly two weeks. Whether 2008 will be as good as 2005, however, remains to be seen. In 2005, the swarm encounter was more central; Earth passed through the middle of the cloud. In 2008, forecasters believe we are closer to the outskirts. How much this will affect the shower, no one knows. The best time to look is during the hours around midnight when the constellation Taurus is high in the sky.

Visit for sky maps and photos of the ongoing shower.

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Halloween brings out the Demon Star

This may be an odd thing to post in my Blog, but the blog is about Astronomy and
this is astronomy related. I received it from my parents in newspaper form and
have typed it up to put it in the blog.

From AZ Republic Fri Oct 31, 2008 Section E page 1

Halloween Brings out the Demon Star
by John Stanley, Az Rep
(Only edits I may have made is abbreviations to shorten the article, and paragraph changes.)

The evening, as ghouls, goblins and other creatures of the night take to the streets to beg for sugary treats, take a moment to examine a real apparition: Algol, the Demon Star. The ancient Hebrews called it Rosh Ha Satan (Satan's Head) and its present name comes from the Arabic phrase Al Ra's al Ghul (the Demon's Head). Clearly, it has an unsavory reputation. But why? Every few days, for no aparent reason, Algol dims noticebly for several hours, then returns to its normal brightness. Ancient astronomers, for whom the immutability of the heaves was a given, found this disturbing. Algol is what astronomers call an eclipsing binary, which vary in brightness because a large, but dim, companion star periodically passes in front of the primary star, temporarily reducing its brightness. Look for Algol in the constellation Perseus, which is high in the northeast after sunset (Find a star chart at Make a mental note of Algol's brightness by comparing it with nearby stars. Then check it again during a minimum phase. The next one visible to observers in Arizona takes place from 8pm to 10pm on Nov 8th (that's this Saturday). Enjoy!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Sunday, November 2, 2008

ISS Space Junk Re entry into Earth's Atmosphere

Message was received in my email on

Saturday, November 1, 2008 1:41 PM

Space Weather News
for Nov. 1, 2008

More than a year ago, in July 2007, International Space Station astronauts threw an obsolete, refrigerator-sized ammonia reservoir overboard. Ever since, the 1400-lb piece of space junk has been circling Earth in a decaying orbit--and now it is about to reenter. If predictions are correct, the "Early Ammonia Servicer" (EAS for short) will turn into a brilliant fireball as it disintegrates in Earth's atmosphere during the early hours of Monday, Nov. 3rd. Uncertainties in the exact reentry time are so great (plus or minus 15 hours at the time of this alert) that it is impossible to pinpoint where the fireball will appear. At the moment, every continent except Antarctica has some favorable ground tracks.

Readers should check our Satellite Tracker ( for possible overflights. Before reentry, the EAS will seem about as bright as a 2nd or 3rd magnitude star, similar to the stars of the Big Dipper. During re-entry, the disintegrating reservoir could light up like a full Moon. Flyby predictions should be regarded as approximate because the orbital elements of the EAS are now changing so rapidly. Updates will be posted on

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society