Richard’s Ramblings

This is the personal web site and blog of Richard, a semi-retired computing professional living in Ottawa, Canada.

This is a web site for personal interests.  See my professional web site to engage my consulting services.



An amateur astronomer, I enjoy observing from home, dark sites, and especially “sidewalk astronomy” — outreach events where we give the passing public a chance to see. I’m also struggling up the learning curve for astrophotography.


I’m an avid motorcyclist, commuting and especially into the countryside on weekends, but wish the season around here was longer. Want to discuss great roads in the area?


Photography, especially landscapes, portraits, and events. This link leads to a different site with publicly-shared photos.

Science Advocacy

I enjoy participating in science outreach, taking astronomy demonstrations to the public, and participating in online groups that promote science education and critical thinking.

Web, Graphic Design, Editing

I help several volunteer organizations with web presences, and do freelance writing, photography, and graphic art.


  1. Testing – just installed a page caching plugin, want to ensure it doesn’t interfere with the appearance of new comments.

  2. Your post on Finding Objects for Astrophotography is the clearest, most concise one I’ve found. Everyone seems to gloss over the actual “target acquisition” part of AP. I’ve spent half the night trying to find things before. Thanks very much for this, it is most appreciated!

  3. Don’t know how I ended up on your page, I assume from wood turning. But I enjoy using a wood lathe as well as astronomy as I have an 8″ dobs reflector telescope. Unfortunately I do not have a tracking mechanism, but your astrophotography is inspiring me to fix up a tracking rig for it. Thanks for sharing the excellent photos of the nebulas. I also learned that the north star is a few seconds off in position which is good to know. Keep up the great photos and I hope you post more starpics soon.

  4. Struggling to get my zx6r 1995 model fuel assembling. Can you perhaps sen me pics please.

  5. I live in Tsukahara, Japan. I’m at 700m and the night skies are dark enough to see the entire “little dipper”. I’m a newcomer to this fascinating hobby. I’m in the process of gathering all of my equipment and building a skykyshed. I wished I had come across your article a fews years back. I would have saved some time and money. Oh well, I’m using a hyperstar NS11GPS. It’s eq mounted (wedge) on a pier. I learned that focus is critical and I let the computer take care of that.

  6. Thanks for the synopsis of planetary magnetic fields. So much information, so little brain left to digest it all. Also very nice revison of Freedman & Kaufman III diagram of a magnetosphere.

  7. Really enjoyed reading your paper on Tidal Forces. Helped me with my dissertation! Don’t worry, I referenced you!

    Thanks again!

  8. Sorry you got rid of your KLR, I really enjoyed your maintenance pages-OUTSTANDING. Thanks!

  9. Thanks for your insight and step by step oil change on ZX9R, very hard to get good picture diagams. Cheers

  10. Hi Mr. McDonald. I found your page while researching my next motorcycle, a 2006 Kawasaki Concours 1000. I had recently sold a 2008 Concours 14, and have been heartbroken without it. I found a good deal on this ’06 model, and will be looking into the modifications that you made on yours. I love riding, and took one of the Rider Safety Courses at the local Harley dealership. I was really impressed with your logic on taking track courses in lieu of the performance mods on bikes. You make a lot of sense. Thanks

  11. Rider for years, but new to track days. Great site on routine maintenance on the bike! Got a 2nd hand ZX6R G2 and couldn’t work out how to get to the plugs!

    From the UK, by the way – live near Donington Park.


  12. Was interested to see your page.Also an avid motorcyclist (Still racing and winning in 125 GP class at 62) but love nothing better than setting up the 8inch Dobbs near the footpath at home and letting passers by get maybe their first Astro experience. Cheers mate Keep the black rings down and the scope up. Phil

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