Thousands of amateur astronomers downloaded a copy of my freeware Clear Sky Chart sidebar gadget for Windows 7 and Vista. It was featured in the November 2007 Sky & Telescope Magazine New Product Showcase. The gadget allows you to monitor the cloud cover and transparency at three favourite observing locations, open the sites with a single click or view the locations on a Microsoft Virtual Earth map. A one click update feature allows checking for new locations that have been added. Read my original 2007 PDF article for screen shots and more details. Microsoft retired the Windows Live Gallery site so if you are looking for my sidebar gadget it can be installed directly from this link: Download the Windows Clear Sky Chart Sidebar Gadget. Just open or run the CSC.gadget file to install. A SPECIAL NOTE: You can still run sidebar gadgets on the Windows 8.x or 10.X desktop with the help of a free utility called 8GadgetPack. Just download and install it before downloading my gadget.
I enjoy experimenting with HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography which merges multiple exposures and uses tone mapping to bring out all of the details that a single exposure cannot capture. The photo above is a combination of 5 exposures ranging from two under a normal exposure (-2EV) to two over (+2EV). I created this MLS Gallery of HDR photos when we were selling our Brampton house in 2012. It sold in four days for nearly the full asking price. I really believe that having this HDR gallery linked to the MLS listing was key to generating interest.
A member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Toronto Centre suggested that it would be interesting to see a Clear Sky Chart that compared the observing conditions for all 29 RASC centres across Canada to see who had the best night. I thought this was an interesting challenge so I set about creating a National Clear Sky Chart showing the amount of cloud cover at 11:00 pm local time for each of the 29 RASC centres located across Canada. The colored squares range from dark blue (clear skies) to white (completely overcast). Data is retrieved from 29 different files to create this composite view. Click here to try it: RASC National Clear Sky Chart Demo
>On this very cold and windy evening in March 2013 I was one of the few observers in Southern Ontario who were lucky enough have the skies clear at sunset to catch this view of comet Panstarrs next to the day old crescent moon. I took this photo a few kilometers south of Clarksburg, ON off Grey Road 13.