The Grumpy Old Astronomer|
My Travel Mug
My Wife's Travel Mug
Why am I Grumpy?
- I live in Canada
- Winter lasts from about October to March Photo - It even snowed on June 6, 2009
- It's dang cold outdoors - at night - in the snow - for 6 months of the year! Photo
- Ever had to shovel snow for an hour to get a place to set up your telescope? It's not fun! Photo
- Your "hobby budget" has to include buying a lot of hand warmers and foot warmers!
- I live in Calgary
- A city of about a million people generates a lot of light pollution. 2015 Photo from the ISS
- So the City Council took our advice and converted all the glaring white mercury vapour street lights to full-cutoff sodium.
- That was good - I could filter out the single colour of sodium light from my astrophotos.
- But it was not totally good - they left a lot of "glass bowl" light fixtures on the main roads.
- And it got even less totally good - the new "ring road" from the south-west all the way around to the north-east used the philosophies of "totally overkill street light numbers" and "to heck with those full-cutoff fixtures"
- So then the City Council decided to go with LED street lights.
- That was good - it would save taxpayers money.
- But it was bad - they chose hugely bright LED lights and not-quite-full-cutoff ones.
- And it was badder - the white LEDs they chose emit so much light at the blue end of the spectrum they should be classified as hazardous to human health.
- Calgary is just east of the Rocky Mountains
- Calgary gets occasional warm Chinook winds that raise the temperature in the winter considerably - sometimes high enough to melt the snow.
- That is good.
- But Chinooks and downdrafts from the mountain ranges make the weather very unpredictable.
- That is bad - the weather office in Calgary was faced with trying to predict the unpredictable.
- So to "improve service" the Government of Canada closed the weather office in Calgary and moved the responsibility to Edmonton.
- That was bad - a lot of the expertise and knowledge about Calgary weather patterns decided not to move to Edmonton.
- Then it got badder - the Government of Canada "downsized" the staff count at the Edmonton weather office so there were even fewer knowledgable staff.
- Then they decided to get a new multi-million dollar supercomputer to predict the weather.
- That was good - except there's no one left to program the unpredictability of Calgary's weather into the multi-million dollar supercomputer.
- So - - every day (sometimes twice a day), Environment Canada's supercomputer puts out a weather forecast for Calgary.
- Then someone at the weather office in Edmonton calls someone in Calgary who looks out the window to determine exactly, to the degree and millimeter, how wrong the forecast is.
- Then they issue "updates", "warnings" and "alerts" to make their extensive, automatically-updated internet web site agree with what's happening outside.
- I'm not as young as I used to be.
← You can expect these to grow in number from now to the next elections.
SO - - Why just Grumpy and not Angry?
- I live in Canada - one of the best countries in the world.
- I live in Calgary - one of the best cities in the world.
- My wife of 43 years and I have a wonderful, close family.
- We astronomers can go outside - at night - in the middle of nowhere - and still feel pretty safe.
- The Calgary Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society has:
- We are near to:
- A large professional astronomical observatory - the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory of the University of Calgary with a HUGE Public Outreach Program.
- FIVE annual star parties (in Canada "near" means within a 5 hour drive - one-way)
- I'm retired so I can spend more time on my hobby.
- Unless I'm spending time with my children and grandchildren.
Sorry for the long post - Here's a Potato