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Caturday’s Astrophenia: 2014.11.29


Young open star cluster IC 1590, which is foun...

Young open star cluster IC 1590, which is found within the star formation region NGC 281 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another week gone by! I’m looking forward to seeing the launch of the new Orion rocket during the next, intended to take us beyond even the Moon, perhaps to Mars and even further out! It brings back the days from 1969 to the very early 1970s during the Apollo Moon landings I saw on television in an auditorium in school as a kid. We’ve not gone back since, but maybe someday we’ll dream again, and live those dreams among the stars!

I’m bringing back the Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup next week while I try out some new ways of bookmarking via Evernote, and this Sunday shall see the monthly return of the Indra’s Pearls: the Vision of Felix Klein chapter reviews on the my site, the Impudent Algorithm.

Posting this week except for this Thursday was a bit slow, so I’ve a lot of catching up to do when scheduling entries. We’ll see. Stay well, stay brilliant as the stars, or in the Kai’Siri…

Talotaa frang.

Tornado and Rainbow Over Kansas

Soaring over Titan

The Creature from the Red Lagoon

Io and Callisto Mutual Event

Galileo s Europa Remastered

Portrait of NGC 281

3D 67P

Images of the Week:

Weekly Astrognuz:

Orion on Track at T-Minus 1 Week to First Blastoff

Stars and Clouds: The Pleiades and California nebula, by Rogelio Bernal Andreo

NASA’s Van Allen Probes Spot Impenetrable Radiation Barrier in Space

Pavlof Volcano: Eruption seen by Landsat8

‘Meteoric Smoke:’ Comet Siding Spring Could Alter Mars Chemistry Permanently

Orion Teams on Track Heading into Holiday

Venus Express Spacecraft, Low on Fuel, Does Delicate Dance above Doom Below

Crew Module Cabin the Focus for Weekend | Orion

How Do Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving on the Space Station?

NASA Airship Could Watch the Stars Without the Need of a Rocket

The Milky Way Rising Over Mount Everest

Cats in Space…

…and Moar of Ze Cats for Ze Caturday!

Caturday’s Astrophenia: 2014.11.22


Well, it’s back. With this entry, the far-too-long long hiatus of this installment is over.

I’ve mentioned before that I won’t be online as much as I used to, and so won’t be posting live on any of my sites save for emergencies. I will, however, schedule entries when I can get the free time to do so, and set them to post as needed and whenever material is at hand. That may mean that they pop up online more or less frequently than currently, preferably more frequently once I’m up to my old pace again.

I took so long between the last edition of this series and this one as I needed to bring myself up to speed on blogging after my WordPress break from late August to early October of this year, and this entry depends partly on use of time-sensitive, datable material difficult to set up for posting on a busy daily schedule without getting reaccustomed to it.  The same applies to the Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup, which will be alternating with this entry once I finalize how I’ll organize it, on Saturdays. One, or the other, possibly, but rarely both for the same day.

My language lessons are coming along nicely, though not as quickly as I’d like. But then, I’m alternating time between three languages, and reason dictates that that’s to be expected. I’m surprised it isn’t taking longer given my dislike of multitasking when I don’t have to. At current estimate, I should have a basic understanding of grammar, vocabulary, and effective use of script for all three languages sometime around the early part of 2015.

I now plan on this entry being specific to this site, as with the Weekly Roundup, and will follow a similar guideline for other more blog-specific entries on my other sites. I want each blog to have its own feel, and that, I think, is the best way to make that happen. Let me know in the comments for this entry if there is anything that you would like to see changed about this series or added, but please keep things civilized and constructive. My cats and I will appreciate it :-)

Thank you.

Leonids Above Torre de la Guaita

The Double Dust Disks of HD 95086

Star Formation in the Tadpole Nebula

Bright Spiral Galaxy M81

LDN 988: Dark Nebula in Cygnus

M1: The Crab Nebula

Solar Flare from a Sharper Sun

Images of the Week:

Weekly Astrognuz:

Distant Horizons: Mosaic of worlds humanity has set upon

Warm, Flowing Water on Mars was Episodic, Study Suggests

Philae Spotted: Lander actually seen in comet photo

No “Rubber Duckie!” Rosetta’s Comet Looks Weird in Decade-Old Hubble Model 

Casual Sexism: When a shirt is more than a shirt

Philae Lander Early Science Results: Ice, Organic Molecules, and Half a Foot of Dust

SDO and sunspot 2192: Amazing hi-def video

Elektro-L: Video of the Earth from Space

Subaru Telescope Spots Galaxies From The Early Universe

NASA’s Swift: Ten Years in Space

The Cosmos in Video:

Ze Cats for Ze Caturday:

 

Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial: Generating Tiled Images Using Big Render


I’ve recently been experimenting with a freeware app called Mandelbulb 3d, the version I’m using for the Mac is 1.8.9. Over the last week, I’ve discovered the use of the app’s Big Render option, which is just what it sounds — it allows the generation of really huge images, by rendering them piece by piece in m3i files, as tiles, and they may then be assembled into one large whole by one’s software of choice. I’ll describe how I rendered them below, after some video tutorials for the program’s basic operation. These videos are by Don Whitaker, and the software may be found here:

First, the base image was rendered at 800×600 pixels:Biggie_2X04Y04

Following are some screenshots of the settings I used to create it. Figure 1 is the main rendering window, the Lighting window is shown twice in Figures 2 & 3 for each the color settings used, the Formulas window is shown twice, Figures 4 & 5, for each of the two fractal types used and the means of combining them (They make up a hybrid fractal type, and those are always fun!). Figure 6 shows the Julia set coordinates used for this image (I used the “Julia on” option for this parameter set, because Julia sets are cool.).

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 6

But where to find the button that opens the Big Render window? Note Figure 1, at the top of the window. Under the “Utilities” tab, Big Render is the second button from the left. Click on that after rendering the base image once all its parameters are assigned and calculated. You are then ready to begin. Figure 1 was snapped during the rendering of the tile from column and row X=3 Y=1.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 18.44.46

Figure 7

Note figure 7. Once you open it, note the button at the top right, “Import actual paras” clicking this will load the parameters of the base image. Here you see the Original parameter size given at 800 x 600 pixels. I did this to keep rendering time relatively reasonable, rather than using some giant monster base image that takes more than 30 minutes to render each individual tile.

Size factor as entered as x3, which would enlarge the fully assembled image to 2400 x 1800 pixels. Just above that, you see a “Big size” shown at 1200 x 900, assuming anti-aliasing at a factor of 2, which I did not use for this experiment, so that counts not. This winds up as the full scale indicated by the Size factor.

“Tiling” shows 4 horizontal x 4 vertical tiles, or 16 total. Note that each may be raised or lowered by clicking the upper or lower buttons to their immediate right, increasing the number of tiles and so rows and columns in the matrix of tiles to the right of Figure 7.

The Tilesize (including anti-aliasing, again if I were using that, which I’m not) is given as 300 x 225. All this means that the actual tile size during rendering is 600 x 450 pixels each.

Just below that, at “Saving:” the “Tile downscale, anti-aliasing” setting, shows here a value of 2. This too may be raised or lowered, as may the “sharp” setting, which I’m leaving at zero. No anti-aliasing needed here, though I recommend it for clearer images with cleanly defined edges and surfaces.

“Output image type” has three buttons, one for PNG files, one for JPEG, and one for BMP files. Here, I chose JPEG, though I’ve left JPEG quality at 95%. Meh!

Under “Output image type” I’ve clicked on Save m3i files. Do that, as it saves the parameters for each tile when it’s completely rendered and shaded in a file.

I’ve also clicked on “Render all tiles included in the lines:” and left the numbers here alone, from 1 to 999. Don’t worry about how high that last set of digits is as the app will stop rendering automatically upon completing the last tile on the last row and column.

Once you save the project in an appropriate folder, using the “Save project” button, second from the left at the top of the window, you are ready to begin.

Now click “Render next tile,” and the process will begin, generating m3i parameter files for each tile in the project folder you’ve saved. These files are just like the normal parameter files for MB3D, and like them may be opened and exported as image files using the main app.

One last thing: Look again to the right in Figure 7, the set of 16 tile boxes. When rendering and shading is complete, each tile box  turns from grey to white to indicate when it’s done, until all are complete. You can see that here, 11 tiles are fully rendered. Make sure you re-save the project once all files are rendered so you don’t lose them.

You may halt the rendering process at any point and save the project again, given at least one or more fully complete tiles, and then reopen the project later to pick up where you left off on unfinished ones.

This allows you to space rendering extremely large images with many tiles over a long period. Try to keep the base image size and number of tiles to be rendered reasonable, or the project well may take several days or longer to finish!

Just so you know:


This evening, at 18:00 EST, I’ll be taking down this blog’s About page to fix a major issue in viewing the text that was recently pointed out to me by a canny reader. I’ll be working on all of the page’s embedded images to revise the compatibility of text font with image backgrounds to enhance readability. That counts for more than any passing visual appeal. The page will be online again when revision is complete.

Thank you.

Caturday’s Astrophenia: 2014/08/23


G’day, and happy Caturday to you all. I’ve been working on increasing the already disgustingly large number of blogs I own, with the hub page for all public sites here, recently updating its theme to something a bit better. This Friday, I finally got around to creating the first of my private venues, here. It’s for material and tone that not only won’t fit well with other blogs, but also may be a bit…controversial…in a public forum.

I won’t be shy of expressing myself on this site, and neither should its readers. I do require that any discussion adhere to some level of decorum, and that all debate when it occurs be bloodless, honest, and relatively civil. I’ll follow that dictum as well. It is a blog, after all, not a warzone, nor the halls of the U.S. Congress or state legislatures.

Readership is open, and if you’ve any interest, feel free to hit me up by email or a comment on this post for an invite. That goes for any further private sites as well, as needed. WordPress might be a bit of a bastitch, and might not notify me of any requests made to the server.

I’ve got things planned for the week ahead, including some of the learning tools I’m using to learn Tamil, which I’ve been having a lot of fun with. I’m currently mastering the vowels in the language’s script, and the pronuciation of its syllables.

My evil cats have been doing quite well, and both of my boys are featured below, in this post. Stay cool, stay brilliant, or in a dialect of Kai’Siri spoken only on the edge of the Sagittarius spiral arm of the galaxy:

Talotaa frang.

Jupiter and Venus from Earth

Star Trails Over Indonesia

Contrasting Terrains on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

In the Center of the Lagoon Nebula

Venus and Jupiter at Dawn

Comet Jacques, Heart and Soul

The Spectre of Veszprem

Images of the Week:

Firestorm of Star Birth in Galaxy M33
Source: Hubblesite.org

Starburst Galaxy M82
Source: Hubblesite.org

Weekly Astrognuz:

Earth’s Ozone Under Attack Despite Banning Destructive Compound: Study

Rational Impact: Tattoo of a Skeptical Phrase

Surf Saturn’s Rings In Amazing Raw Cassini Images from This Week

IC 4499: Getting the age of a globular cluster

A Piece of Vesta Has Been Stolen!

Mars Curiosity: Celebrating 2 years on the Red Planet

Is A Sitcom Astronaut Hadfield’s Next Frontier? ABC Commedy in the Works, Report Says

Atmospheric CO2: Humans put 40 billion tons in the air annually

How Watching 13 Billion Years of Cosmic Growth Links to Storytelling

Titan weather: Clouds seen forming over a methane lake

Watch A ‘Swan’ Fly Free From Its Trap In A Space Robotic Arm

Fireball: Astronauts photograph Cygnus resupply ship burning up (Photo)

Remembering the “World War I Eclipse”

Helium: how do you wiegh a balloon?

Curiosity Brushes “Bonanza King” Target  Anticipathing Fourth Red Planet Rock Drilling

Asteroid 1950 DA: Impact in 2880 very unlikely

What is Nothing?

Ze Cats for Ze Caturday:

Thanks to Sharmishtha Basu for this idea!

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