Sunday, December 24, 2017

Star gazing

There isn't a lot I am not interested in learning about but I am not the least interested in astronomy. Stars (and astrology) leave me cold. Human endeavour can be interesting though.

Our local Victorian automobile magazine had a feature on star gazing. There can only be tenuous connection between cars and stars. Perhaps after a car crash involving a bump on the head you see stars, or you are lying imobile on the ground with terrible injuries and staring up at stars.

No matter, I just thought I would take a look at the recommended website for star gazers, heavens-above.com . It took me a while, but I eventually worked out how to set my location. We can only see really bright stars here. The city lights kill all but the brightest. Ah, it is suggested that on 21st of December at 9.44pm, in the direction of east south east at an angle of 10 degrees to 60 degrees above the horizon, the International Space Station will be able to be seen crossing the sky.

As I thought to write this post tonight for Sunday morning, I realise how bad my memory is, because I thought it was 22nd of December and about 10.30pm and at 100 degrees. The 100 degrees did not make sense as it meant would not really able to see it. I wrote myself a note with the correct details to remind me, but it remained unnoticed by me on the 21st. I am writing the correct details from the note now.

Just before bed on the 22nd, I went out onto the balcony, thinking I may see the International Space Station fly past overhead, way up in the night sky. I had the wrong night and I was an hour late, but I did not know that at the time. Stupid me. Stupid uninteresting Space Station. Stupid skies.

And then......quick R, come and have a look at this. It is the International Space Station in the sky. Twenty, maybe thirty seconds it took to travel across our visible sky. It was quite exciting.


For nigh on two decades I have heard so much about black holes in outer space, and I know no more than what I knew before first hearing about them. Today I learnt that Professor Stephen Hawking has recorded noise in black holes. It sounded like outback AM country radio reception on a bad weather day to me. Ditto, Bitcoin. A few years ago I posted a photo on my blog where a now defunct cafe in Prahran accepted Bitcoin. Before then, and certainly since then, I have heard a lot about Bitcoin, but I really don't understand the concept at all, let alone the point of it, other than for moving of money gained by crime, that may, or very well may not ever be realised as cash.

I once asked my dad, how can space go on forever. What happens when you get to the end? There must be an end. What is after that? It was about when I was of the age when I also asked if a cat had to face being eaten by a crocodile or swim across a river to safety, what would it choose? I did not know then that cats can actually swim.

So rest assured, my lack of interest in the skies above will continue, aside from the moon of course. It is a bit interesting, and so are its effects on the Earth's population, as I well know. So many times at work I have thought, is it a full moon? Checking later, it has turned out to be so.

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:40 am

    Merry Christmas (which it is for you by now) and a Happy New Year to you and R. Roderick

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    1. Thanks Roderick. The same to you in return.

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  2. Curiosity is one of my defining characteristics. As I age I am appalled at how little I know and how much I have to learn.
    I don't think I have ever seen the International Space Station and may (perhaps) remember to look up a good night to go and view it.

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    1. EC, it looked nothing like the photo, just some fast moving light.

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  3. Somebody's has opened the Christmas Whisky early this year.

    I still have your milk bottles, you can pick them up at Southland and pay for lunch for the two pensioners.

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    1. Jah Teh, no but R has bought a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. What a pity you are not here to share it, not. Milk bottles? We have not made it to Southland yet but you won't have to hold your breath too long.

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    2. If I had known you were going to meet up with JahTeh, I would have sent extra mince pies.

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  4. In the summer I occasionally lie on my back with my binoculars, and look at the Milky Way. Surely, amongst all those millions of little white dots, there must be some form of life.

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    1. Cro, perhaps the beginning of life as it began here, bacteria or something like that.

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  5. I also never think to look up at the sky and the stars. Lucky you still got to see the international space station. Bitcoin baffles me too.

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    1. Sami, if you are out in the countryside and it is a clear night, do look up. The skies are magical without city lights.

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  6. River, how long did you think my mince pies lasted let alone keep some for Andrew. I had enough cream left for EC's cake.

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.