Archive for category: Amateur Science

The NOAA Magnetic Field Calculator

July 1, 2015 | Amateur Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Just bookmarking this for now: The NOAA Magnetic Field Calculator This website can accept a latitude longitude (or, conveniently, a Zip code) and will give the you predictions of what the inclination and declination of the magnetic field is. John used this apparently to make predictions about the field near my location.

A brief overview of my recent magnetometer experiments…

June 30, 2015 | Amateur Science, Arduino | By: Mark VandeWettering

If you follow me on twitter (@brainwagon) you’ve undoubtedly seen a few mysteriously short tweets about experiments I’ve been performing on magnetometers. It’s hard to give any meaningful context in just 140 characters, so I thought I would dump a short overview of what I’m doing here, in the hope that I’ll turn it into […]

Capsule Review: The Adafruit Ultimate GPS Module

May 19, 2015 | Amateur Science, My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

I picked up an Adafruit GPS module while at the Maker Faire. It’s a cool little module. I had a couple of old GPS modules: a Parallax PMB 648 and a Garmin 89, but this one is pretty nifty: It is small. It is breadboard friendly. It has a one pulse per second (1PPS) output […]

Rheoscopic Fluid (mica in suspension)

May 19, 2015 | Amateur Science, My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

I mentioned in my Maker Faire wrap up post that I had spoken with Ben Krasnow, the science guru behind the Applied Science Youtube channel. If you haven’t watched his videos, by all means, go over there and give it a whirl. Between playing with chemicals, low temperatures, rockets, X rays, and electron microscope, it’s […]

StarStack… Astrophotography with Cell Phones?

April 13, 2015 | Amateur Science, Astronomy | By: Mark VandeWettering

Tom pointed me at this awesome article about an experiment run as part of the BBC programming Stargazing Live. Basically, they asked their viewers to go outside with their cell phones and take a picture of the night sky with their cell phones and upload the (almost entirely black) images to a website. They then […]

My first try at an inexpensive 0.96″ OLED display…

March 17, 2015 | Amateur Science, Arduino, Development Boards | By: Mark VandeWettering

As my recent video showed, I have a lot of development boards. I also have a fair number of little boards that are useful to plugin to these development boards to accomplish various tasks. Yesterday, I received a little OLED board that I thought I’d try hooking up and let you know about my experience. […]


March 14, 2015 | Amateur Science, Math | By: Mark VandeWettering

Happy Albert Einstein’s birthday! And we are just a few minutes away (in our time zone anyway) from 9:26. Huzzah! I’m going to celebrate by making Shepard’s Pi(e) for dinner.

Increasing pyephem’s accuracy for satellite rise/set calculations…

March 8, 2015 | Amateur Satellite, Amateur Science, Python | By: Mark VandeWettering

A few years ago, I created my own Python implementation of the Plan13 satellite prediction code written by James Miller (G3RUH). The Plan13 algorithm isn’t very complicated: you can easily run it on processors like the Arduino (in fact, I used it for my ANGST satellite tracker) But somehow, I managed to misplace the source […]

A pair of geeky Advent calendars…

December 9, 2014 | Amateur Science, Computer Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Advent is the season observed in many Christian traditions that is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for Christmas. When I was young, we’d have an Advent calendar, which counted down the days to Christmas, and would gift us with a little chocolate or candy each day. While I am no longer religious, the […]

Photos from the eclipse…

May 21, 2012 | Amateur Science, Astronomy | By: Mark VandeWettering

Okay, these are the best of the photos that I snapped during yesterdays annular solar eclipse (well, it was really only a partial eclipse here). We had just left the Maker Faire, and were in the parking lot of Oracle on 10 Twin Dolphin Drive in Redwood City, CA. I took out my 4″ Meade […]

Upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse

December 6, 2011 | Amateur Science, Astronomy | By: Mark VandeWettering

Yep, there is an upcoming total lunar eclipse this Saturday, on the morning of Dec 10. It will be the last total lunar eclipse visible from San Francisco until April of 2014, so I think I’ll be trying to get up and see if I can view it and take some snapshots. From San Francisco, […]

Some simple circuits with solar cells…

November 8, 2011 | Amateur Science, electronics | By: Mark VandeWettering

My tinkering with my ATtiny13 based pumpkin circuit had me thinking that perhaps I should try to make something similar, but solar powered. Luckily, Windell had already anticipated my needs, and had put up a nice simple page with some circuits to experiment with. If you want a simple solar battery charger, or a simple […]

Nyle Steiner finds and demonstrates a memristor

November 3, 2011 | Amateur Science, electronics | By: Mark VandeWettering

Nyle Steiner, of the Spark Bang Buzz blog has been at it again, demonstrating cool electrical/electronic devices that are homebrewed. This time he constructed his own memristor. If you aren’t up on electronics, you might not have heard of memristors before. While Leon Chua proposed that such a circuit element was possible, they weren’t actually […]

Electromagnetic Propulsion of Ships and Submarines

October 27, 2011 | Amateur Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

The other day, I was watching The Hunt For Red October on TV. Through some odd coincidence, today I found a link to an article that was published in Popular Science back in 1966 on a silent electromagnetic drive for submarines, just like the “caterpillar drive” of the Red October. I didn’t realize that this […]

First ever image of fourth-order rainbow

October 6, 2011 | Amateur Science, Science | By: Mark VandeWettering

Long time readers of my blog may remember that I’m interested in rainbows (not unicorns, just rainbows). A while ago, I wrote a simple simulation that showed the formation of the primary and secondary rainbows by simulating the refraction of water inside a single raindrop. These two bows appear opposite the sun in the sky. […]