Ultima Thule

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Excuse the picture. I tried to draw what Ultima Thule looked like.

I just watched a programme called “the sky at night” a BBC programme about the Nasa New Horizons mission that flew past a tiny planetoid called Ultima Thule (pronounced Thooley) on 1st January 2019. This was the same probe that sent back beautiful photos of Pluto a couple of years ago. Ultima Thule is only 21 miles long and the probe showed that it is made up of two lumpy spheres of material stuck together at a neck. There is only one clearish photo so far but they also know that it probably is a red colour. The pictures they published have been brightened to show details but the thing is probably a dark red colour.

The probe was apparently travelling at around 15 kilometres a second so it sped past Ultima Thule and is now several hundred kilometres past it and travelling further into the Kuiper belt (a ring of debris spread in a flat layer around the outer edge of the solar system). New horizons is nuclear fueled because solar panels would not work in the darkness so far from the sun.

It will take two years to stream all the data thay have collected from the probe back to Earth. This is the furthest world we have ever seen close up.

I love informative programmes like the Sky at Night. Its been on TV since the 1960’s I think. I have learnt a lot about astronomy over the years from it.

 

Dalek 2013

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I just found this old photo from 2013. We were on the churnet valley light railway for a fun day out and when we got to Froghall Station at the far end we found a Dalek trundling up and down the platform!

It was surreal. I’ve been watching Dr Who on and off since it first started in the 1960’s. It’s a British Sci fi series about a time lord that travels through time and space in a TARDIS (time and relative dimensions in space). One of the doctors arch enemies were the daleks. Now the doctor has regenerated. ( the part has changed over the years, with different actors playing the part). The part is now being played by Jodie Whittaker, and despite concerns she would not be any good I think she’s excellent.

This new years eve Dr Who was a favourite. The Daleks (or at least one) returned. It seems we will have to wait a year till the next series. I wish it was sooner, I need a tardis!

 

Homebrew

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Er, that’s a big head on that lager?

Well it is home brewed. ..

Oh how did you do that?

I bought a cask that says brew 8 pints in three days.

How??

Just add water…..

So now I’m sitting trying to drink the brew. It fermented for 48 hours and then had to sit in the fridge for 24 to kill off the yeast. But I don’t think it did, although it is less sweet now than it was when we tapped it 4 hours ago.

Result? Yes it’s OK if you like to drink 3/4 froth and 1/4 lager beer.

The pack cost £10 which is about £1.12p a pint? Also it’s about 4% alcoholic so it’s not bad.

My partner enjoyed making it and as its potable I would say its a qualified success, just a bit too lively!

 

2012 jotting

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I was just reading through my Facebook page and came across this:

Morning world. this is the last time I get my partner up for work early on Sunday as his firm have decided from next week to make it a noon shift (Too many people not turning in after a night on the town?) anyway I watched the sky lighten in the East over the last half hour, first the sky between the clouds turned deep blue then lightened, the cloud tops yellowing then the dark grey of the clouds gradually became a mid grey shade. I watched to see if the street lights would go out but most are still on, just looking dimmer against the brightening sky. Then I remembered the world is turning not the sun rising…. I imagine the movement, thousands of miles an hour as this house and town and city, with me standing looking out of the window at the top of the stairs all moves rapidly and the suns light creeps over the horizon, with the bright morning stars ( if I could see past the houses and shops and clouds) heralding the first bright glimpse of the sun…..

Video

I’m sitting here watching a Video. Yes you read this right…. A video.

I wanted to watch an old film with Jodie Foster in it called Contact. Based on a story by the scientist Carl Sagan. But unfortunately my digital TV is experiencing what used to be called “on the blink” . I think its lost some of its channels because of the weather. So instead of 150ish channels I only have 92. Well we only used to have had 2 channels, so you would think I would be satisfied  but I wanted to watch Close Encounters of the Third kind and then Contact. But the channel that they were on isn’t working. I like Contact because it is Sci fi and about Seti, the search for extra terrestrial intelligence, and I had a citizen science computer program running looking at fast fourier transformations and things like that… Well anyway. I’m watching it on Video. But it was recently announced one firm are stopping making DVDs! They are just going to concentrate on blu Ray and the next generation of data discs . It just makes me feel old….. And yet the video is an old friend. I need to find out if I can still play it if we have to get a new TV…. .

Jupiter progress.

Note the first photo is the latest version.

For some reason they came out opposite to how I posted them. Here are two parts of my Jupiter tryptich based on a photo Jupiter in the rear view mirror by Nasa. Taken as the Juno probe flew by Jupiter.

The challenge is to finish one panel by Friday. The other two will be painted on our Open days, 16th and 17th of November 2018 when we join with the Stoking Curiosity event. Run in conjunction with Keele University and Staffordshire University.  There are a series of talks and lectures over the two days based on the integration of art and science.

Given I love astronomy I decided on this subject. Forgetting that I don’t have a working printer and that my computer is on the blink. I have to thank Mike and Nick at Spode for printing me off black and white photos and then colour images. I would not have got this far without them….. So I’m struggling with the complexity of Jupiter. I’m working on an image from above one of the poles where the oranges and reds of the main bulk of the planet turn to sombre blues browns and dark greys.

My shoulders and arms ache. Although I’m just trying to get one panel finished I have to work across two of them so they fit together and I can orientate where the blotches and patterns are. Please don’t expect perfection..I will try to see how it comes out. If you are around Stoke for Stoking Curiosity come along. I will be in studio 21 at Spode.

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Jodrell

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I still think this is one of the most exciting places to visit.  Jodrell Bank in Cheshire. It is a massive structure whuch us dedicated to looking at the universe in the radio part of the spectrum. It has been responsible for some of the mist important radio astronomy since it was built in the mud twentieth century.

The telescope was built by the university of Manchester and is out in the countryside because it was away from the radio frequency noise of cities in the North and Midlands of England.

The complex has a beautiful visitor centre, cafe, lecture halls and science space full of fascinating information about the dolar system, our galaxy, and into the far out reaches of the universe. There is also an amazing arbouretum full of specimen trees and a map of the planet’s. I don’t have all the details or the prices for entry, but if you are ever in the area its worth a visit.