I ordered some Bhut Jolokia seeds and dried pods a week ago and they arrived today. The Bhut Jolokia is currently ranked as the second hottest chilli pepper in the world, the hottest being the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.
It arrived in a cloth bag with the peppers wrapped in a plastic bag inside that.
I tried eating a piece of one of the pods, these are HOT. I've got a packet of seeds as well, so I'll try growing them. The next step is to get hold of some Moruga Scorpion chillies.
I finally got around to using my microscope again. This time I observed some onion skin cells by taking the inner layer from a piece of onion and staining it with Lugol’s iodine. I took the picture below using my cell phone camera pointed down the eyepiece.
I also took a look at an ant’s eye; in the picture below you can clearly see the lenses of the compound eye and part of the ant’s leg.
I ordered an Olympus CX22LED microscope a few months age and it finally arrived today. It is a biological microscope with a binocular observation tube and four objectives (4x, 10x, 40x and 100x oil immersion). I took a few photos of the unboxing.
These are the accessories that came with it, the power cable (I had to attach a plug), the darkfield ring and the dust cover. I discovered that to use the darkfield ring I would also need a filter holder, which I unfortunately, did not order.
I will post some pictures of what I can observe through it once I figure out a good way to take the pictures.
Since I was getting my telescope ready to view the transit of Venus on the 6th of June, I decided to build a PC control cable for it so that I could control it through a program like Stellarium.
I followed the schematics on Michael Swanson’s NexStar Resource Site (http://www.nexstarsite.com/PCControl/RS232Cable.htm). My telescope is a NexStar 130 SLT, and the control cable connects to the base of the hand control and connects to the PC via a serial port. The parts I used are shown below.
I used a telephone handset cable (far right) to connect to the base, an RJ-22 socket and a female DB-9 adapter and housing.
I wanted to put as much as I could into the DB-9 housing, so the first step was to trim the bottom of the housing so that I could glue the RJ-22 socket into it.
The only tool I had to do this was a hacksaw blade, so the cuts look a bit rough, but it was good enough for my purposes.
The next step was to solder the wires from the RJ-22 socket to the DB-9 adapter; following the schematic on the NexStar resource site. One thing I picked up is that the wiring in the telephone handset cable is reversed, so pin 1 on one end connects to pin 4 on the other.
It’s been a few years since I used a soldering iron and the lack of practice shows. I melted the plastic on the back of the adapter a bit when trying to remove some solder that had dropped in between a few of the pins. The RJ-22 socket fits in the gap I cut at the back of the housing.
But with everything put together it looked quite decent. Here are a couple of front and rear shots:
The finished cable:
The extra screws are parts of the DB-9 housing I didn’t use and the screwdriver is what I resorted to in order to dig out solder that had gotten embedded in the back of the adapter.
The cable works well, I had to use a USB to RS-232 adapter to connect it to my laptop. I’ve used it to update the hand control and motor control firmwares and I can select an object in Stellarium and have the telescope automatically slew to it and track it.
Since I bought all the parts in India the total cost (including buying a soldering iron) was about Rs. 500 (~$8).
There was a post recently on Futility Closet about the shadow Saturn casts on it’s ring appearing to curve away from the disc. (http://www.futilitycloset.com/2012/04/26/curve-ball/)
[…], I found the shadow of the globe on the rings curved the wrong way, i.e. from the globe, as shown in the following drawing.
[…] Professor Comstock also adds, ‘I do not know that any satisfactory explanation for this anomaly has ever been given.’
The explanation of this illusion is quite simple, it is caused by the perspective of the viewer in relation to how the shadow is being cast. The photo below taken by Voyager 2 shows a much clearer view of the shadow. The shadow appears to curve away from the disc, but when you consider that the sun is shining from the bottom left the shadow being cast is actually directly behind the planet and it’s just our perspective that makes it seem like the shadow curves the wrong way.
Image source: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/image/saturn.html