Eppur Si Muove

State of the Zach / Call me Saba

So I am still a consultant, and work is still crazy! I have lots of work with a number of different clients so things are good and they are keeping me busy.

In other news I want to buy a house. The problem is that houses here are crazy expensive, the 4bedroom townhouse next door just sold for 1.4Million NIS*. Now banks in Israel want at least 30% down so that means a down payment of 420,000 NIS (about $105,000) that is a HUGE sum of money however you slice it, at least on my pay. If I were to somehow  save 8881NIS/month that would take me 47 months or so to come up with. Of course this does not take into account the fact that prices are still somewhat trending up. Mind you I can't really save that much on an average month. I chose that number because it is the Average monthly sallery here in Israel. 

I spoke to a number of friends who all own houses and pretty much all of them used Equity from a house outside of Israel or inherited it from a family member. Neither of these apply here. So I am left with being frustrated.

On a happy note TC and her Husband had a boy a few hours ago so I am now a grandfather!

* the shekel is at 3.96 to the dollar today, so if you just divide by 4 you will be close enough on the numbers here. 
Milky Way

(no subject)

 So this was the first time I have been able to get the new 10" Dob out to a dark sky site. The good news the Tube fits in the back seat of a Mazda 2! (which is what Haim rented)

The site was Silent Arrow which is a camping Lodge just outside of Mizpe Ramon, It kind of caters to the hippy dippy set, but thats OK. The 2 backpackers we met were both very nice and came out for a look threw the telescope at some point. The bad part is that it is closer to the town of Mizpe Ramon so there was a bit more light polution than in the old spot. But by positioning the scope well I managed to use some tents to screen the town (to the east) and the army base (To the north from direct view. The presense of flush toilets, somewhere to sleep and hot water for tea made up for the minor light polution.

The sky was clear and wonderful. I started with M42, which was amazing, (I did a sketch which I will scan at some point). It covered most of the field of view of my stratus 13 (The stratus 13 gives about 90x in my scope and was the eyepiece I had in most of the night).
Collapse )
Milky Way

Observing Report Jupiter

I finally go the telescope collimated the other day (Yea laser collimator) and tonight took it out for a quick view of Jupiter.  I had to do a quick 
fix of the primary mirror (took about 30s). Then hit Jupiter with the new Stratus 13 eyepiece, (about 90x) several bands were visible, there was a lot of detail visible, the view was amazing. 

I had to stop when clouds rolled in. I am hoping that the sky will clear up later and I can spend some quality time with M42. 
Eppur Si Muove

2010 in review

I have to say that I am happy to see the end of 2010. This was an up and down year with a few major downs and one or two major ups.
The downs
  • The court case came to an end and I lost.
  • I had to do two months of community service at a hospital this put a huge amount of stress on my with both home and work, but somehow I got threw it with the job intact
  • I got sued (but my lawyer got rid of it) I had to spend way too much on a lawyer
On the good side
  • both laywers I had to work with were great
  • I got a nice bonus at work
  • I got a book contract. Look for it summer 2011
  • I still have an amazing family! I would not have survived this without them
  • My lovely wife got a job which is making her happy
  • Tzippy got enganged. Wedding summer 2011
  • Current Mood
Milky Way

Forest Fires

For those who may heave heard about the fires in the north of Israel we do not infact live anywhere near there. So We are in no danger.
Milky Way

Thinking about a new computer

I am going to need a new computer in the first months of 2011. I was thinking about something like the Ars Budget box (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/guides/2010/09/the-ars-system-guide-september-2010-edition.ars/2) but am not real sure. I know I want at least 500gb disk and 4gb RAM. But to be honest it has been way too long since I paid much attention to hardware. This machine will be used for writing, programming and screen casts mostly (and of course internet). So there will be some editing of video and audio in there.

In terms of OS it will be linux, Ubuntu or Fedora but I'm not sure which yet.

Any suggestions?
Eppur Si Muove

Observing Report M42 and M45

So last night I found myself up at 0330 or so. I went outside and the sky was clear and Orion was right there.
So time to drag out the scope! I got the scope out (It needs wheels of some form) and quickly found M42, It looked amazing, big and bold. The trapazium cleanly split in the 21 Stratus (about 60x). And much of the nebula was easily seen.

M45 was nice as well, the normal scattering of stars across the field.

The scope is still out of collimation, and it messes up the view a bit but its still quite nice.

This was the first time on DSO's for the new Orion XT10i