Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Prometheus Effect

Back in July I posted a small animation of raw images from the Cassini spacecraft one of Saturn's moons causing some really intriguing turbulence in the F-ring. Today NASA released a photomontage of the effect the moon Prometheus has on Saturn's F-Ring... Funky!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Things that go glow in the night...

The nature of the incandescent glow from the growing lavadome on Mount St Helens appears to be a little more multi-faceted than in the past. On the night of 21/22 October 2005 the glow appeared to flicker between different locations in the crater. A combined image of all of the Volcanocam images from that night shows that the glow now appears to be coming from multiple sites in the crater:

The four distinct bright areas in the shot above appear to match the different mounds of rubble in the current lavadome as shown in a recent image from the USGS taken on October 18:

USGS photograph taken on October 3, 2005, by Stephanie Konfal
and Dan Dzurisin, and October 18, 2005, by Cate Fox-Lent

Last night the glow still appeared to flicker between different locations, but not over so much of the area as on the 21/22 October. Looking at another image combining all of the individual images from the night time shots from the Volcanocam shows that the activity was isolated to only two of the "mounds" on the lavadome...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Update on Camera damage from Visible Dust cleaning liquid

Back on 31 July I posted an article about the damage caused by the Sensor Clean cleaning liquid sold by Visible Dust to the CMOS sensor on my Canon Digital rebel 300D camera.

Since then I sent the camera to the Canon Canada service centre in Calgary for repair. Canon received the camera on 09 August 2005. On the 29th August Canon left a message indicating that the repair costs would be CAN$216.60, which would cover any damage to the camera and that a technician would examine and repair the camera in the next 10-14 days. I authorised the repair and expected to hear something in the next couple of weeks.

After hearing nothing from Canon I called them on 29 August. Unfortunately, I was unable to speak directly to any of the service representatives. Instead I left my details with the receptionist and she assured me that they would respond by the end of the next day. I also e-mailed Canon customer service but received no response.

On 14 October I phoned Canon and managed to speak to someone in the service department. He was very apologetic about the amount of time they have had my camera and explained that the service department had moved to a new location and a new operating unit within the company. The interesting comment was that the camera had been sent to one of their external contractors for assessment. They had responded that they weren't authorised to repair the sensor. Apparently this was some time ago, but nothing had been done about it since then.

The Canon rep also indicated that there had been a number of cases where camera repairs had slipped through the cracks and had not been addressed in the usual time frame. Like I said, he was very apologetic. He added that he would raise the issue with his manager and that he would get back to me by close of business on Monday (17 Oct).

After hearing nothing on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, I rang Canon late on Wednesday afternoon. But once again all the lines to the service department were busy and I only got to leave a message on voicemail. Canon did not respond to my message.

Today (Friday, 21 Oct) I rang them again and got through to the service department. After saying my name, the service rep recognised who I was and apologised for not getting back to me on Monday. He then typed my details into the system and said that the camera was now with their in-house technician. Who apparently has an enormous backlog of work. But he would try and see if my case could be expedited due to the length of time since they had received the camera. He then committed to letting me know by next Monday how long it would take to repair.

I have to admit that I was expecting a much better response from Canon Canada. In all my dealings with them in the past, they had always been very prompt and responsive. Hopefully this is a temporary glitch and not an indication of more serious problems arising from their reorganisation of the service department.

I will update this post as the repair saga develops...

Mount St Helens glows through the night

After a week of bad weather and less than exciting night time displays by Mount St Helens, last night the mountain put on a great show. The sky was clear and there was a glorious view of the the incandescent glow from the lavadome. The partially full moon also provided the illumination to enable us to see a fairly strong steam plume rising to the sky for most of the night!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

First anniversary of the glow from Mount St Helens

It's one year since several sharp eyed Volcanocam watchers noticed an eerie glow appear on the night of 11/12 October 2004.

While posting daily animations of the night time views of the mountain, there have been large explosions illuminating the night, multiple glows from the crater, the passage of a lunar eclipse, the less than mysterious camera defect, and even the passage of a odd visitor in the sky on April Fool's Day.

What a great year it's been. Here's hoping for an interesting year ahead!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Mount St Helens remains relatively quiet

Over the last week bad weather has obscured the view of the crater for most nights. The weather improved last night and provided our first views of the night time activity of the growing lavadome for several days. Despite several small tremors being recorded overnight, there were no bright outbursts in activity and the glow from the crater was very faint.

The USGS/CVO is reporting that, moderate sized earthquakes continue to punctuate the background level of small drumbeat earthquakes several times per day, but this is par for the course at present. There has been no significant change in the level of activity at the mountain over the past few days.

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