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Everything posted by SlyReaper

  1. Not impossible to image them. All you have to do is build a massive rocket and send your own probes (with cameras) to chase after them. Won't cost much more than a few billion quid. That's not so bad for astrophotography, right?
  2. They're handmade. The prices seem pretty reasonable for that.
  3. Agreed. That street-light... *shudder*
  4. So, the rubber thingy on an eyepiece is torn and I need to replace it. I'd google it, but I have no idea what it's called. Any suggestions?
  5. I went ahead and converted it to a cross-eyed version. The image is a bit big for a wall-eyed version.
  6. Okay, peas. Okay. What about coins? What's the standard distance for viewing a 5p coin? Is it the distance from your face to your pocket when you fish the coin out of there? Is it the distance from your face to the hand of the cashier you're paying for your groceries? Is it the distance from your face to your own hand when you're holding the coin a foot away from your eye? To my mind, a good measure would be fractions of a full moon. A full moon takes up about half a degree of sky if I remember correctly. A planet takes up some fraction of half a degree. Magnified X times, it looks like X times that fraction of a full moon. A full moon is something you can visualise without mathematics, so it would give a good idea of how big something would look through a telescope. Saying Jupiter looks about as big as a 5p coin in my Overwhelmingly Colossal Telescope just doesn't seem useful as a measure.
  7. Measuring in comparison to coins is not a good measure. A 5p coin held a millimetre from your eye will look enormous. A 5p coin held at arms length will look small. That's why we measure in arc-seconds.
  8. So, last night, I packed my telescope into my car for the first time ever, and ventured out in search of a proper dark sky spot. The forecast had told me that clear skies could be found a couple of junctions up the M4. After about 50 minutes of driving around B roads, I was rewarded with a small space in front of a farmer's gate, with very low and sparse hedges. I set up, checked the collimation, adjusted the finder scope, and waited for twilight to fade. After about 10:30 PM, the moon was sinking below the horizon, and twilight was finally yielding properly to darkness. The longer I waited, the more I could see. Eventually, I could even see the faint band of light the Milky Way galaxy. I've never seen that in the UK before, and certainly never with this much clarity. It wasn't just a glowing band, it had actual structure to it. And there were more stars visible than I think I've ever seen at one time. Through the telescope itself, the view was incredible. I've seen things like the Ring Nebula before from my back garden, but this time, it was so much more distinct. It wasn't just a faint fuzzy smudge, it was an object with structure. And it was set to an inky black background peppered with thousands of stars. Globular clusters showed up in the telescope with unprecedented clarity, and I even saw my first ever shooting star just as I was getting ready to pack up. The only downsides were the occasional passing car (can't really be helped without actually trespassing in someone's field), and my instinctive cave-man paranoia turning every rustling sound in the bushes into a deadly nocturnal predator that was about to eat me. Oh, and I forgot to bring a chair. Definitely need to bring a chair next time. Then, I'll be able to just sit there, glued to my eyepiece, slowly slewing the telescope around to drink in the millions of stars in some small portion of the sky.
  9. Whoever posted that advert must have been a Capricorn...
  10. I have no daughters, so... yeah. I'm fine with my non-existent daughter seeing whatever is out there. Also, isn't the word in question a woman's name? By filtering that word, you're preventing anyone with that name from actually using their own name.
  11. Depends on the ascent profile. A steep enough ascent profile would let you drop the boosters in the North Sea. But again, that comes at the cost of efficiency, requiring bigger rockets to do the same job as one launched from Florida. Or if you use these fancy new SpaceX rockets, you can soft-land the first stage.
  12. I'm all in favour of a spaceport, but siting it in the British Isles seems suboptimal. The orbit you get will have an inclination greater than or equal to the latitude it was launched from. And manoeuvres to change orbital inclination tend to use up a ridiculous amount of fuel unless the orbit has a very high apogee. Launching near the equator gives you the biggest boost from the Earth's rotation, and gives access to low-inclination orbits.
  13. Yeah, that thought did cross my mind. There was maybe one small cloud over the whole of Ireland. Clearly unrealistic. The FTL spacecraft with 80s style controls, the ability to resolve planets from hundreds of LY away with an aperture of at most 3 meters, that was totally fine.
  14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yid59_nd9-8 Able to see the minute details of a planet hundreds of light years away, and doubles up as a pretty handy vehicle so long as you don't fly it backwards.
  15. Only speculating here, but if you squash a bunch of packed circles together, they tend to deform into hexagons. If there are cyclones all over the planet, too deep to be seen, all packed together, then it could form a bunch of hexagon shapes. As the planet rotates, the upper layers of the atmosphere would tend to be forced towards the equator, which reveals that one cyclone at the pole. That's my guess anyway.
  16. I had forgotten there was a hexagon on Saturn. It's so bizarre I think my mind just rejects it and overwrites the information with thoughts about where my next beer is coming from. Still boggles the mind whenever I'm reminded of it.
  17. Heh, just wait 20 years and buy yourself a pair of shiny new bionic eyes that can see in any spectrum you set them to.
  18. Spain would be my first suggestion. Pretty much the whole interior is a giant plateau, and if you can get far away from the nearest city, the view should be spectacular. Weather is more predictable than here in Old Blighty.
  19. The forecast for my area was showing not a cloud in the sky. As in, the current observation said "not a cloud in the sky". I wonder if the people providing these observations ever bother to look out of the window?
  20. Looks like a tie fighter more than an umbrella. Amazing picture though, I love seeing stuff like this. Makes me wonder what it would be like to stand on a far distant planet and watch a galaxy-rise like that.
  21. Just use a telescope-mounted cloud zapper. Press a button, VWOORP, and there's a nice circular hole in the cloud where your telescope is pointing. Just don't point it at animals... messy.
  22. I think we're talking at cross purposes here. Someone who doesn't know the difference between astrology and astronomy doesn't necessarily throw in with the astrology camp. Usually, they're just someone who has never taken a particular interest in either subject, and I'm more than happy to enlighten them on the difference. That said, if they're astrology believers, I'm also more than happy to debate them on the subject.
  23. See, that's the opposite of what I want to do. If someone has a gap in their knowledge, I want to be cool about filling it. If I get snarky or make fun of them, I train them not to come to me when they want to know something, and I'd miss out on the warm glow I'd get for showing them something amazing.
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