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Ankle v pothole…

…ended 1-0 to the pothole.


There’s no observing for me for a bit. I have a suspected fracture of my right ankle after going ‘a over t’ outside local attraction Dinosaur Isle  (a.k.a. Dead Lizards) in one of our esteemed local council’s infamous potholes this morning. Dead Lizards belongs to the council, so I have phoned the council’s property services department and complained. A polite-but-aggrieved letter will be following.
I am going through an accident prone phase, what with a sprained ankle almost exactly one year ago, a torn knee in May and now this.

I hope my new scope isn’t completed for a few weeks as I won’t be able to use it. 🙁

18″ progress

I had an update on the progress of my new 18″ today. It should have been finished, or nearly so, around now but the completion date has been put back a few weeks due to complications with a prior order. It’s a bit frustrating, of course, when you’re itching to get your hands on a nice shiny new bit of kit, but it can’t be helped and these things happen. The good news is that the upper tube assembly is done and the mirrors have also arrived. Anyway, 5 to 5.5 months is actually a pretty good lead time for a completed premium scope, I know people in the States who have to wait anything between eight months to 2 years for their scopes, unless they’re getting Obsessions which are ‘off the shelf’ scopes – and even then the mirrors have long lead times.

Hopefully it won’t be too many weeks until it’s ready, then the skies will be nice and dark and the weather – I hope!! – will have cleared up a bit!


Nothing to do with astronomy, I see that the BBC are going to pull the plug on their Wildlife Fund. This is a shame as, despite half-assed support from the BBC, it has raised £3 million since its inception in 2007 for good wildlife causes. It’s even more of a shame when you consider the effort the Beeb put into Children In Need, Comic Relief and Sports Relief – if they’d been half as enthusiastic about their Wildlife Fund it could have helped so many more wild animals and their habitats: habitats and animals that our species is destroying at a prodigious and terrifying rate. People might argue that the human fundraisers are more high profile and people care more about them but I disagree – it’s because the BBC have done nothing, or next to nothing, to promote the Wildlife Fund yet everything to promote the other fundraisers. To me – at the risk of getting outraged emails – wildlife and the environment is every bit as important as the other good causes, maybe even more so. However it seems that a lot of people, including the BBC, care about children but not about the environment that those children, like all of us, live in.
There’s a petition here if you’d like to sign it.

What a tease!

I was up at 0545 this morning as my dog wanted to go out in the garden, to do what dogs do in the garden. The sky was completely clear, for the first time in ages, with Orion high in the south-west and Leo in the east. The sight of spring constellations is always a welcome one, with the promise of galaxies – but what a tease! It’s only the second week of November and we have the most depressing time of year yet to get through before spring comes round.
The clear sky spreadsheet for October makes depressing reading. It was mostly cloudy through the month, with only nine clear or partially clear nights.

New observing challenge

Actually managed the first observing session since the end of June last night, 24th October 2008. As I was tired I couldn’t be bothered to lug the scope out so I took the binoculars (8×42) out. After finishing the Astronomical League Messier Binocular Award (see previous post), I have now began the AL Deep Sky Binocular Award.
It was cloudless but chilly and breezy with steady seeing (not a twinkle to be seen!).
It got off to a decent start with 12 objects in and around Cassiopeia, Perseus and Camelopardalis, all open clusters: NGC’s 869 and 884 (together making up the Double Cluster), 663, 457, 129, 1893 and 1528, Stock 2, Trumplers 2 and 3, Kemble 1, Collinder 463 and Melotte 20 (the Alpha Persei Association).

Autumn is here…

…with the promise of longer nights, but will it be clear? For a die hard visual deep sky observer like myself, the shitty weather all summer has been hard to live with. I miss observing, and have only had frustrating, hazy, glimpses of the jewels beyond through holes in almost endless cloud cover. Bugger La Nina and Britain’s stupid maritime climate, but here’s hoping that with the winding down of the La Nina effect the conditions will improve.

Large Hadron Rap

I normally hate rap, being more into heavy metal, but I just have to share this, it’s great:

On a serious note, I am looking forward to the science from this awesome device. And no, the world is NOT going to end. Not because of the LHC anyway.