Friday, 26 August 2011

New science phenomenon: a jet-powered meteor with contrail

Sometimes I just despair. This video of a "meteorite" was shown on the Daily Telegraph's website, a UK newspaper that's supposed to be above the usual tabloid nonsense (and I apologise for the advert if one appears).

It reminded me of the so-called "mystery missile launch over Los Angeles" a little while ago and all the nonsense that followed. Those of you with a pedantic nature may point out that it's not a meteorite but a meteor since rocks from space entering the atmosphere are only called a meteorite once they hit the ground, so if this is space rock it's a meteor. Fine, but it's neither, and may I make a suggestion for those looking to find where it landed?

First place I'd search is an airport.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Astronomy on Mauna Kea

It seems those of us who work in the field of astronomy are nothing other than industrialists and/or working for the military. We're also addicts needing a 12-step recovery programme and are quite violent given this particular rant:

Big Island Chronicle letter

Nothing could be further from the truth of course, but this is a typical example of opposition to the TMT on Mauna Kea.

It seems to me that it's an argument about returning to the stone age versus understanding our universe and it'll be interesting to see who wins in the end.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

An inside view of splitting light

Top marks for anyone who can figure out what on earth this is. Ex-UKIRT employees are automatically disqualified. As you might be able to tell, I had auto-focus turned on and the camera had absolutely no idea what to focus on. I should have realised that would be a problem from the start...

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Submillimeter Valley with sunset clouds

Another shot from my time on Mauna Kea's summit last month. This is Submillimeter Valley although without the CSO which is just out of shot. The JCMT is bottom left and the SMA middle bottom. The clouds meant we couldn't observe this night but they did give us a spectacular sunset.

Monday, 15 August 2011

I want one of these

It's my birthday soon. Anyone?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Riots in my home country

There isn't much humour to be found in what's happening in the UK at the moment. I grew up in England near London and then spent many years in the north-west and then the east-midlands and those are the places the riots in England are occurring. I'm sure it's just a coincidence but maybe I forgot to turn off the gas when I left or something. Sorry!

In any case, you can always find something funny in any situation.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Just too busy...

Not much to say I'm afraid other than I'm simply too busy to post anything substantial to my blog and that's been the way for a while now. Unfortunately I don't see things settling down too much in the near future although I do have another California trip coming up, and you can't imagine how much I'm looking forward to that break!

The picture above is yet another from the Celeste run at UKIRT in July. Hope you like it and hope you're all doing well!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Last light

The Subaru telescope silhouetted by the setting sun and some mid-level clouds.