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It's the Astronomy Online non-Blog, or un-Blog.

Everyone has a blog now and since I am no follower of trends, I decided to merge the blog with the website. And I don't want to neglect the website in favor of posting on the blog.

These are the pages that were on the blog of old:

- Home

- Archive (Index of Pages)

- Me

- Current Trends

- Links

- Soho Live


Google Maps - Mars
Google Maps - Moon
HiRISE - MRO Imaging
Mac Singularity
Slackerpedia Galactica
Software for the Mac
Starry Night Online
Venus Maps

More Favorites:


Thank you for visiting!


The About Me Page:

This blog and my website, Astronomy Online, is a labor of love. Since I do not own a telescope yet, this is a way for me to give back to the astronomy community. The website was basically a resource for me while I progressed through my Master's degree. My talented wife, who is a programmer and web developer, made it nice and pretty so everyone can find is useful - that's the goal anyway.

This blog serves as the update center for Astronomy Online. It will also serve as a diary for projects that I plan to do once I finally get the gear to do it - things like a telescope, CCD camera, and a spectroscope. Projects will include 'standard' astrophotography, stellar photometry for variable star work, photometry of stars known to host transiting planets, to name a few. Once I get the gear, I will know which project I will have the most interest. There are so many projects amateur astronomers can participate in - a list can be found here - and until I actually delve into the work, I cannot say for certain which project I will concentrate on.

I recently became legally blind as a result of an extremely rare genetic condition. Because of this, I am now limited to what I can do with regards to future projects and keeping the site up to date. I rely on either my wife typing for me, or voice recognition software. I still plan on doing research, but I will need a pair of eyes to assist me.

My name is Ricky Leon Murphy, and I am the owner of this blog. I was born and raised in Germany. My mother is German and my father is American and I am what they used to call an "Army Brat." My dad was off playing soldier in Vietnam which is how I came to be raised in Germany for my first 10 years (living at my grandparent's house). My father was lucky to get his duty station in Germany after his two tours in Vietnam were up. He had to retire early because of a heart condition, but prior to this he was on the short list to be Sergeant Major of the Army. After retirement, we moved to the United States.

A Picture of Me

I also learned I have a rich family history. My great-grandmother (on my mother's side) is Margaretha Conde, who's lineage is traced directly to Prince Louis de Conde of France. His lineage is traced to King Louis IX (1235 AD) and the house of Bourbon. Technically this makes me royalty by blood, albeit royalty without a country. My family still has influence in Germany but not like the old days. In this day and age, more respect is given to actors instead of family history - it's all about "Hollywood Royalty" I suppose. One of my uncles is founder of Conde Nast magazine.

I had a fairly normal childhood growing up. One of the things I had to suffer through is that I have severe dyslexia. It wasn't picked up until I joined the military. I joined the Army right after high-school, and spent a total of 12 years: 4 years active, 4 years inactive and 4 years in the reserve. My active duty job was "Eye Specialist." I was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco for my entire 4 year term, and learned photography of the eye almost immediately. I have photographed the human eye for 18 years.

This is a bit ironic considering I am now legally blind...

My 4 years in the reserve were as a Civil Affairs Specialist. This is a part of the Special Operations Forces, and we basically act as a liaison between the Army and the host country. While in the reserve, I was able to go to Korea and Thailand, and was lucky enough to work with a special forces group. As a part of the Special Operations, we had to complete the same skills test as our Green Beret counterparts, but we are not as highly trained as them. Their function was different than ours. A good history of "Special Ops" can be found at Sine Pari.

I have finally completed my Master's degree in astronomy from the good folks at Swinburne University. It's an excellent program that I highly recommend. The course, and the costs of this site were paid for by my day job. I worked as the senior ophthalmic photographer at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. My job encompassed all aspects of clinical photography as well as providing the administrative role to all the computers and imaging systems within the Department of Ophthalmology. In addition, I was also the lead photographer for clinical trials in Ophthalmology for both the hospital and the Stanford University Medical School.

The images below are an example of what I did on a daily basis. This image is a color picture of a diabetic eye. The round, yellow object to the left is the optic nerve. On the nerve are new blood vessels which are a bad thing. There are also scattering of blood, and there are laser scars in the peripheral retina.

Color Image

This next image is a single frame from a fluorescein angiogram, a yellow dye that is injected into an arm vein that travels throughout the body. The dye illuminates the blood vessels in the eye so we can capture filtered images demonstrating where any abnormalities are. This frame shows where the abnormal blood vessels are as well as numerous microaneurisms and parts of the retina that are being starved - called ischemia.

FA Image

I did take regular pictures as well. Many of my images are found in the Image Gallery of Astronomy Online. One of my favorite images is the enhanced version of the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park:

Japanese Tea Gardens

I used PhotoShop CS and its built-in filters to get this fairy-tale look. This reminds me of what Rivendell could look like, had I been there to take a picture.

I am married and have two cats. I do have two beautiful daughters from a previous marriage - Miala and Madalyn Murphy. I did enjoy nature photography, and motorcycle riding but I still enjoy playing the drums.

I think that is enough talk about me...

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