Tuesday 17 January 2012

Nothing More Than Ants

So this card from the Phantomwise Tarot was me last night in the park. Except I was without the water jugs, the Zen-like calm, and much further away from the duck-pond. I also had considerably more clothes on, seeing as we were into minus figures for the temperature.

Yes, I can see you scratching your heads in puzzlement, since you know I don't go out at night and/or the freezing cold as firstly, my kids are too young to be left home alone. Though having seen Frozen Planet about the penguins, I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I am over-conscientious about that.

We were out taking part in Stargazing Live; our bit was organized by the lovely people of  the Orwell Astronomical Society - unfortunately there weren't many telescopes, but we were there from the beginning of the event, and thus got to see Betelgeuse, Jupiter, The Pleiades (dumbed down now, apparently, to the mere Seven Sisters), Venus, Cassiopeia, and Orion. We also saw the space station whizz by.

The kids were going 'oooh' and 'aaaah' most gratifyingly for the astronomers; I, on the other hand, was quite disappointed with how the far-off twinkles still seemed to be far-off twinkles. But I can fake this one thing with the best of them.

The chap that did the talking spoke to us about Beetlejuice being ready to go pop at any minute now - in astronomical terms; in people terms, anytime within the next 100,000 years. Destructo Boy was somewhat disturbed by this, as he was quite concerned that we would get sucked into the resulting black hole, like, tomorrow - and then where would we go ? Because no-one has ever been in one before, and what is in there already ? And it might be a bit crowded what with all the rocks and spacedust and things. I think also he was quite downcast that his own destructive abilities are somewhat dwarfed (geddit ? the astronomical pun ?) by a supernova.

The evening sparked quite a lot of profound questions for me. But it's OK - I forgot them all by the time we got home.

beautiful picture from Starseeds.net


  1. We were totally clouded over last night. But watched the TV. Captain Astronaut was impressive. You would have thought that, having the guy there for the whole show, they could have let him actually WATCH it rather than just listen to it though.

    Going out tonight? Pleurisy beckoning?

    Ali x

  2. It sounds cool and slightly disappointing at the same time...

    I saw Saturn through a crazy powerful telescope once, it was still a tiny spec, but you could see the rings and everything. That was pretty amazing, but little telescopes now seem so lame in comparison!

  3. Totally missed it last night :(
    One for the iPlayer I think. Sherlock and the log fire worked more for me.

  4. Yes, you do need something the size of Hubble to actually see anything other than sparkly specs or, if you are lucky, the slightly jug-eared looking blob that is Saturn. I like looking at the Moon through the 'scope best - you can see stuff :D

  5. I think it's more than anecdotal that astronomy can be a bit disappointing "in the flesh". :P On the other hand you can get passable(?) pictures of Deep Space objects with the devious use of VIDEO cameras.


    Of course the purists say that watching things on a screen, in the WARM, is cheating, but, compared to watery eyes, plus a slightly dodgy back... :->


    P.S. Stargazing Live irritates me rather less now - It's essentially "Top Gear meets Father Ted"? :D


  6. I dunno, for some reason I'm always totally impressed with stargazing any time we get far enough from the city to actually see the Milky Way...I'm easily entertained though. ;)


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