Media coverage

I just spoke briefly on the phone with Josh Shaffer from the Raleigh News and Observer newspaper. It looks like there will be an article about our balloon launch in tomorrow’s paper. I don’t think I’ll have a chance to pick one up unless I can find one in the evening. If anyone local can grab one for me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Near Space Launch

I’ll write more about this when I get a chance, but this Sunday morning, myself and a group of people will be launching a balloon to “near space” in an attempt to get a picture of black sky and the curvature of the earth. You can read the press release about it here:

It’s been a crazy month, but a lot of fun!

More Biking

I was on vacation for the first part of June and near the end of that I managed to get a ride in with my friend Armand near his place close to Chattanooga, TN. We rode the Booker T. Washington State Park Trails.

Then this past weekend, I met my friend Lee at the Little River Park trails and we rode them:

I’m hoping to get some more riding in, perhaps this weekend so we’ll see how that goes. And, eventually, I’ll have a post on what I did for vacation, but until then you can read my wife’s blog about our trip.

Mountain Biking

My older GPS receiver, a Garmin GPSMap 60C, has had a problem the last couple of years in that it’s almost impossible to turn on. For a while I could sometimes get it to turn on by random pressing of the power button but a lot of the time it just wouldn’t turn on and over the last 9 months or so it just wouldn’t turn on. So, in May I cashed in an REI dividend and got a new Garmin Oregon 450. I had been considering trying to save for a Garmin Edge (a GPS receiver designed to be a bike computer) but after some investigation I decided that the Oregon would be better since I could use it as a bike computer and I could also use it in the car or out geocaching.

And, not too long after I got the GPS receiver, I’ve been able to find more time to go out mountain biking. My first trip out with the GPSr on my bike was at the trails right next to work:

A bit later, I managed to get the entire family out to investigate a new “gateway trail” at a small park in Durham (Solite Park):

Then, this past weekend I managed to get 9 people, several of whom had never ridden singletrack, to come out to Harris Lake for a short ride:

Finally, we had a somewhat smaller group head out and bike at Lake Crabtree County Park last night:

All my recent rides have been fairly short but I’m having a lot of fun getting out on the bike more and getting more people into mountain biking. So, we’ll see how things go. Hopefully I’ll have some more rides to post soon.

New Focuser Installed

The new focuser for my telescope showed up yesterday so I spent yesterday evening making the modifications to the optical tube assembly to allow the new focuser to work correctly. The telescope isn’t done yet, but after installing the focuser I reinstalled the spider/secondary mirror and the primary mirror. The sky was clouded over last night so I had to wait until tonight to try it out but I managed to get some really good views of the surface of the moon with what I’ve got right now! Even with the mirror coating not as good as it could be the surface of the moon was bright, clear, and big!

To see pictures of me fitting the new focuser and cutting the OTA to get it to fit, start at this picture and follow it for the next 12 pictures.

So, what’s left to be done now is I need to get a finderscope, paint the tube, find a screw to help hold the telescope axis steady, clean everything, and check to see if the clock drive works correctly (it rotates the tube, but I’m not sure how accurately). So, still lots to do, but I’m encouraged so far!