Saturday, September 30, 2006


I'm really starting to like the moonset timelapses. I think these will be my next "target". There should be a couple new ones once I've uploaded the new version of my website.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A hike down sliding sands

I got really "itchy" and had to do something strenuous today. I've been behind a computer for far too long. I walked down the summit trail, into the crater for a few miles. I was surprised how easy it was to get back out. I guess I've been up here more than I thought latley. I get into a specific breathing rhythm where I can keep that pace for hours. It felt awesome. I stopped on one of the rock outcroppings and did a timelapse of the Ko'olau gap, watching these shear layers go crazy over top of the sloshing cumulus. If only I had 3 cameras.......

A dilemma

When I'm over here to use the telescope, I always feel torn between wanting the moon up with some high cirrus to make the timelapse look really pretty, and having the sky dark and cloudless so that astronomy can be done. At least I'm always happy with whatever I get. There was a bit of a screwup this time - one of the schedulers got confused and canceled my time this week. I found out three hours before I was supposed to start. Luckily, this telescope is run in a very different way than most. They had just planned to do "training ops" and other time-killers that don't actually require the telescope. I got to use it anyways.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

More Maui Haze

I'm on Maui again. On the way in this morning, there was a really brown layer, a lot like there was the last two times coming over here....... You can see it completely obscure the West Maui mountains and wrap around from the north to south shores of the island from sea level up to about 7000ft high, where I took the picture. I'm starting to think that they do the sugar cane burning in the mornings, but I'm not exactly sure. All I know is that this is my third flight in a row coming in to a smokey/hazy Maui.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Back on Oahu

Here's some shots of oahu from a distance. This flight came in a little wider than usual. The island looks so small from a ways away. It was the same from the airplane before skydiving - you could almost see the south-east corner from the north-west tip. Amazing how small this rock is compared to a continent.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mountain of Data

I'm on the start of my second set of night-shifts. I'm really glad I've been over here - I've finally been able to collect a bunch of data that I can use for my thesis. Up until this point, it's been basically a scramble to get things working over here. I think that with this spare camera, I'll be able to do a lot. Yay!!! Here's the kind of thing I spend hours plotting and analyzing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Always wicked sunsets

I really like the colors up here...... I had an awesome "halo" experience near the crater lookout. Near sunset, the bank of clouds in the crater was coming up the near wall and reflecting the near-horizon sunset. The geometry made it possible to see two concentric halo/rainbows in the middle of the cloud. The wall was only a few hundred feet away so the color and size was just amazong. Too bad my camera was timelapsing......

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Working Camera

It's been almost 2 years now since the hi-vis camera has not been nice to me. The latest issue was that the electronics driving the camera seem to be flaking out. Yeah, a month or two after getting the spare chip. Go figure. Basically I've spent a whole bunch of time to take this off

and to put this on, properly. Now I can start focusing on looking at stars instead of constantly fixing this damn spectrograph. Actually, I'm sure something will break soon. Everything breaks in harsh environments. It's just that there's usually a support-crew that does this job. At least I'm learning. And I have *data*. Crap to argue about with other people who get paid to argue. Or just like to argue cause they want to feel smart. At least I don't have little-brain-cock issues. The last time I whipped out a ruler was a long time ago...... Can you tell it's near dawn and I've been working for 18 hours and awake for 24?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Flying to Maui

I feel like I'm flying this way so much that I've needed to experiment with the times and windows to get some different and interesting pictures. I've done Molokai and West Maui to death. Here's Lanai.

On the flight in this morning, it got really really turbulent near West Maui and I noticed a jai-norm-ous haze layer, much worse than the one last week. We flew straight into a sugar-cane field-scorching fire's smoke cloud. Lynn had commented that she thought the smoke stacks were filtered. Regardless, this giant shit-cloud is coming straight from the plants. Yummy aerosol lung-hack goodness. But who am I to talk? I really like the all-natural "Sugar in the raw" that every Starbucks carries. It's made right here on Maui. At least it's better than the cancer-in-a-packet nutra-unsweetner.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fire Twirling Newbies

We had a ton of newbies up on the North Shore this time. It was really nice since Joe had made 3 extra sets. At one point we had 6 people lit and one with L.E.D's. It was pretty fun. Too bad the gas goes quick. Pics are up here under MakuaRim/FireTwirl.

Leeward Side

There's a ton of people that live on the beach on the leeward side. They're not quite homeless and it sounds like fun, but they'll smash your window, drill your lock, or just beat the crap out of you (more if you're "haole" aka white). This place is so expensive, and owned mostly by rich Californians (no wonder some don't like whitey), so that many people can't really afford a house anyways. Another not-so-paradise part of paradise.

Makua Rim Hike II

The astro-kids ditched out on a Saturday morning hike (too hung-over?), so I went with a smaller crew in a way-nicer car - Pat, Anna, and Kim. There are so many "spots" over there. Since you have the lady with the 9mm watching over your car, it's a great camp spot.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I give up

The first night here was awesome. A panic to get everything ready in time, but very productive. But.... the last two days has been 4hrs of sleep/day plus always being stuck inside "broken-camera land". It's about 2am and I'm giving up. I just want to get some sleep. And a strech. And some exercise. I'll be back here most of the next two weeks anyways, so why not right?

The timelapse's here have been turning out pretty good. I'm really starting to get a feel for the timescales and movement. Maybe someday I'll get around to making mpeg's and avi's out of my videos so normal people can view them......

Thursday, September 14, 2006


My first Haleakala-goat sighting.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Burning Sugar

When the plantations are burning and the winds are right, the entire isthmus stinks like rotting garbage and the air is full of haze. The green fields are nice, but the production isn't.

Brown, nasty smokestacks?

The layer of crap hanging around Haleakala - you can see the peak clearly but the rest of it is very very fuzzy.

You might not be able to see it well, but the bottoms of all the clouds are somewhat brownish. The layer of air where the pollutants are trapped is quite distinct. It's like the clouds are floating on haze.

An Awesome Sunset

The night has gone really well. I came over here fully expecting to spend most of the night toying with mirrors, lasers, screwdrivers, and duct-tape. But... many hours of duct-taping and screw-driving later, the spectrograph was actually working! Katie and I took a dinner break and I've been up using it until now. The sunset was awesome - I really like when there's cirrus on the horizon. Thanks to my ridiculous habit of refusing to be without at camera, I did get a timelapse of it. Awesome. Anyways, back to taking spectra of stars.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

On Maui.... Again

An observing run came up so, again, I'm going to be off island for 3 days. And I thought I was going to be home for a while. It's nice to be back, but working nights......

Haleakala was poking out of a haze-layer. It looked really neat. The sugar plantation was "burning" crop so there was a bunch of crap in the air. Pics coming soon......