New Telescope

I recently bought a new telescope. It is a 10 inch Dobsonian with a Go-To drive. The base required some assembly, which I completed in an hour. Now it is composed of two main parts, the base and optical tube. It sits on a cart so that it can be easily moved from indoors and then back inside. The finder-scope has been installed and aligned. I hope to complete its initialization soon and start observing operations. However, cloudy, rainy weather has curtailed any observations.

Halfmoon Township Divided By Redistricting

District 12 Annotated

The recent redistricting of the Pennsylvania congressional districts caused some confusion during yesterday’s primary. The above map shows the boundaries of the 12th (in gray), 13th and 15th Districts. The gerrymander in the 12th District, to include State College, has divided my local township, Halfmoon, into two parts. Some of the people, that lived in the southern part of the township, that showed up at my polling place to be told that they were at the wrong polling station. This is because they are now in the 15th District.

Centre County is also divided by the new districts. For instance, Bellefonte, the county seat, is in The 15th District, while Centre Hall and State College are now in The 12th District.

Solar Wind Storm


Propagation on the 40-meter and 75-meter bands has been very poor during the past few days. I have a backlog of several radiograms to send, as a result, since it has been difficult to hear the other stations on the nets where I usually check-in.



There is a wide “hole” in The Sun’s atmosphere from which gaseous material has been flowing. The resultant solar winds have caused a geomagnetic storm to occur on Earth. The Aurora has been visible in northern Minnesota. The geomagnetic storms may last for more than a day or two.

Measurement of the pH of Rain

Today, with precipitation in the forecast, I set up my mini-laboratory to measure the pH of the local rainfall in Stormstown, PA. First, I installed a standard rain gauge to collect rainwater.


I calibrated my pH meter, prior to taking any actual measurements, using standard reagents of pH of 4.0 and 6.86. I used a pH 7.0 reagent to verify.


After calibration, I waited for some rainfall and then collected my sample.


It had rained 0.20 inches over the past two days.


This was about 400 ml of liquid.


I measured the pH to be about 5.15, which is in the normal range for rainfall but still acidic. It is not considered to be acid rain.

pH Scale

Brooklyn Tech Homecoming

BTHS-NametagToday, my father and I attended homecoming at our high school, Brooklyn Tech. My dad is a member of The Class of 1948 and I am a member of The Class of 1973. My class was the last all-male graduating class.

I drove with dad into Brooklyn from my parent’s home in New Jersey. Since it was early on Saturday, traffic was not an issue until we got to the Prospect Expressway interchange on the Gowanus Expressway. Then, it was bumper-to-bumper until we exited The B.Q.E. at Atlantic Avenue. From there, it was an easy drive to the parking garage about two blocks from Tech.

We then walked to the entrance on South Elliot Place where we were greeted warmly by the Tech cheering squad. Dad and I checked in. I remarked that I had a social studies class in the room that was being used for checking coats. We then proceeded to a reception held in the first-floor gym.


Dad wanted to sit down somewhere and I steered him toward the auditorium but it wasn’t open yet for the scheduled presentation. A woman in the principal’s office offered us seating in the office.
BTHS-PrincipalQuite honestly, I told dad I had never been in that room before. The current principal stopped by to say hello while we were cooling our heels. Then we walked into the auditorium for a presentation.


The auditorium is the second largest in The City of New York. It is second only to Radio City Music Hall.  The presentation consisted of a scene from the play, “Fiddler on the Roof,” some music from the school’s jazz band, and the Brooklyn Tech Alma Mater sung by the school choir. Each anniversary class was recognized and followed by remarks from the current principal. One alum was a member of The Class of 1936! The auditorium was rededicated to a member of The Class of 1953.

Following the presentation, dad and I took an elevator to the seventh floor to have lunch in the school cafeteria. There was quite a spread. We each had a salad and some pasta.

I remarked that the view to the west had been ruined by all of the high-rises that were built over the decades. When I was a student, we had a view of boat traffic on Upper New York Bay.

Dad wanted to do more, but he was tired. On the way home, we drove over the new eastbound span of The Goethals Bridge. The westbound span was not open to traffic yet, and the original span has mostly been dismantled.

April Snow

Easter has come and gone. However, I got up this morning and saw this:


The depth of the snow was 6 1/2 inches. Due to the insolation of nearly 1000 W/m**2, the surface air temperature rose to 45 F, and the snow rapidly melted. It was just about gone before sunset, with just a few piles remaining. There is still a chance of snow Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Summary of Winter 2017-2018

Meteorological Winter is officially over. Here is a brief summary of Dec 1-Feb 28 in Stormstown, PA:

Number of days Max T <=32 F: 29
Number of Days Min T <= 32 F: 71
Number of Days Min T <= 0 F: 3
Max T: 75.2 – February 12, 2018
Min T: -5.0 – January 11, 2018
Dec Dep from Normal: -3.3
Jan Dep from Normal: -1.9
Feb Dep from Normal: 6.1
Heating Degree Days: 3170
Cooling Degree Days: 2
Dec Precip: 0.92″, 2.21″ below normal
Jan Precip: 2.15″, 0.96″ below normal
Feb Precip: 5.60″, 3.33″ above normal