Friday, 24 June 2011

Mystery picture

100 points to whoever can identify what this is. 1000 points to the person with the most amusing answer! -10 points to anyone who spoils the fun.

Do you need a clue? Well, I'll be analyzing images like this in just over a week and will likely post a few more like this to show how a telescope is made to work, well, maybe. I might post a few sunset pictures as well.

As for my health, thanks to everyone's comments and email. I think I'm almost back to where I was before this illness or whatever it was hit me and am certainly feeling much happier with things despite a rather heavy workload right now. I'm smiling again so think that means I'm almost there!


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

So glad to hear you are on the mend! As for the picture, umm, no idea, but my six year old is trying to construct his own telescope ou of egg catrons, toilet paper rolls and the lens from his 3-D glasses (mom and dad have yet to spring for the real thing) so he'll be interested in hearing about your post.

Tom said...

I don't know how you got the pic but I recognize that from the mirror. Thats one of my eyeballs the morning after.

PS:I'm glad you're feeling better.

Tom said...

Inside of the telescope from the bottom?

Paul said...

Good to hear you're firing on all cylinders Tom! :-)

Looks like the gunsight from the weapon of 2mass destruction?

So you stacked together a bunch of filters to get the flower shape in the middle? :-)

Tom said...

All - Tom is actually on the right track (not the morning after thing I should add). It's a picture of the UKIRT primary mirror taken using a very bright star but completely out of focus and what you see is UKIRT's primary mirror illuminated by that star. It's how we make sure everything is aligned because if they aren't the out-of-focus image will look quite odd. I hope to show you some examples soon.

Paul knows what the image is, I think he's seen it enough times in years gone by, but what he doesn't know is the spider-like thing in the middle is actually due to air being blown over the primary mirror. During the day this air is cooled to keep the primary cold so that it matches night time temperatures so there's no local turbulence that degrades our images, but at night the air being blown over the primary is at ambient temperature (the reasons for all of this deserve another post soon).

As to why we can see the air purging in an out of focus image is another matter - not sure I understand it myself!

Paul - I think it's my turn to buy lunch!