Hawk Visitation

The bird box in the front lawn serves as a favorite perch for surveying the landscape:

Hawk on bird box
Hawk on bird box

The chipmunks seemed fewer and farther between this summer. It’s hard to tell with chipmunks, but they seem to spend more time looking around and less time paused in the middle of the driveway.

Taken with the DSC-H5 and 1.7 teleadapter, diagonally through two layers of cruddy 1955-era window glass.

Garage Door Torsion Spring Break

The really good thing about having torsion springs on the garage door is that when one breaks, not much happens:

Garage door torsion spring - broken end
Garage door torsion spring – broken end

We decided to spray money on the problem and make it go away; the Dutchess Overhead Doors tech was here the morning after I called: quicker than Amazon Prime and he works much faster than I can.

As nearly as I can tell from the checkbook (remember checkbooks?), an original (to us, anyway) spring broke shortly after we moved in. If so, that spring lasted nearly 17 years; at two open-shut cycles per day, let’s call it 12,000 cycles.

For the record, the springs are:

  • 29 inches long
  • 1-3/4 inch ID
  • 0.250 wire
  • 7 foot tall door

He cranked in seven full turns, corresponding to the “one turn per foot of door height” rule, although the door doesn’t quite balance on its own. I’d have done one more quarter-turn to match the chalk above the door (a good example of write it where you use it), plus maybe another for good measure, but I’m reluctant to mess with success:

dsc08582 - Garage door torsion spring - installedPerhaps the 1955 springs were 32 inches long, but the tech replaced what he found both times. It’s a brute of a door, two generous cars wide, with plywood panels in heavy wood framing, plus a few pounds of filler I applied to the rather crazed surface before painting it some years ago.

I’m mildly surprised none of the dimensions changed in the last 60 years: the springs, end caps, pulleys, and hardware directly interchanged.

Monthly Science: Supermoon Eclipse

Lunar eclipses happens so rarely it’s worth going outdoors into the dark:

Supermoon eclipse 2015-09-27 2250 - ISO 125 2 s
Supermoon eclipse 2015-09-27 2250 – ISO 125 2 s

That’s at the camera’s automatic ISO 125 setting. Forcing the camera to ISO 1000 boosts the grain and brings out the stars to show just how fast the universe rotates around the earth…

One second:

Supermoon eclipse 2015-09-27 2308 - ISO 1000 1 s
Supermoon eclipse 2015-09-27 2308 – ISO 1000 1 s

Two seconds:

Supermoon eclipse 2015-09-27 2308 - ISO 1000 2 s
Supermoon eclipse 2015-09-27 2308 – ISO 1000 2 s

Four seconds:

Supermoon eclipse 2015-09-27 2308 - ISO 1000 4 s
Supermoon eclipse 2015-09-27 2308 – ISO 1000 4 s

Taken with the Sony DSC-H5 and the 1.7 teleadapter atop an ordinary camera tripod, full manual mode, wide open aperture at f/3.5, infinity focus, zoomed to the optical limit, 2 second shutter delay. Worked surprisingly well, all things considered.

Mad props to the folks who worked out orbital mechanics from first principles, based on observations with state-of-the-art hardware consisting of dials and pointers and small glass, in a time when religion claimed the answers and brooked no competition.

NASA takes much better moon pix, plus a bonus ISS transit, during the previous full moon:

ISS Moon Transit - 2015-08-02 - NASA 19599509214_68eb2ae39f_o
ISS Moon Transit – 2015-08-02 – NASA 19599509214_68eb2ae39f_o

The next eclipse tetrad starting in 2032 won’t be visible from North America and, alas, we surely won’t be around for the ones after that. Astronomy introduces you to deep time and deep space.