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Skybrowser

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About Skybrowser

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  1. Eyes on the Sky - David Fuller's a top man and he often contributes to SGL too.
  2. Frankie Boyle once said about the Olympics, "for £9.8bn you could write "eff" off Germany" on the moon. Agreed. Wasted money on so ,much stuff, except cigarettes and alcohol of course, but I stand by my previous statement of being uncomfortable with the current spend levels on things which, to most people, have no end result. Nah night all....
  3. tell that to the kids who haven't had a drink of water today. Look, I am an astronomer, pure and simple. I love the scope and all the other kit, but as I said earlier, I am getting more and more uncomfortable with spiraling costs of extremely large research. I agree science has led to key developments ot benefit the planet and the human race, but I remain uncomfortable with the cost of new experimental and research stuff. It it getting to the point where if I have the audacity to suggest diverting funds to more local and perhaps needy projects, I am vilified, despite dressing this up as a "you don;t have a fiull understanding" comment or two. I'll end my participation in this thread now. It's getting difficult to at least even attempt a different perspective. Respect my opinions please. I certainly respect yours.
  4. Well, thanks for the admonishments and my lack of understanding of basic science comments. I didn't ask for that. It is quite insulting guys and uncalled for. I know full well how much we spend on foreign aid and how much other countries waste. The money lent to banks is more than half paid back. Not bad, given the hell they've been through especially with certain former knights of the realm and others at the helm. For me, £70m is not peanuts. The defensiveness on this forum is occasionally too much, As soon as any kind of voice of criticism or challenge is levelled, out come the "you don't understand it" crew. I would argue that as a Physics graduate, I actually do have an understanding of basic science. However, on Higgs you are of course quite right. I don't understand some of it but what I do understand is this: It is no good defending a position on funding such a white elephant as the LHC with a figure on the UK contribution. The total cost is what I was referring to. I see no borders in funding more worthwhile projects closer to home than "out there". You may have the answer to "the question" guys and I am delighted at the discovery but the cost is so astronomically high. Consider a figure of one billion. If you started counting £1 coins every second and you had a billion of them, it would take almost 32 years to count them all. A billion is a huge figure, especially when (for me and only in my opinion) you consider that the vast majority of people out there would prefer some of the funding be diverted to people who need it. I am playing devil's advocate a bit here I suppose. I am no namby pamby tree hugger. I also object to the charity bags but I also reserve the right to challenge the funding of some scientific projects which have astronomical costs (pardon the pun). I also have as much right as anyone to challenge trends in thinking and take a step back and smell the coffee. I appear to have ruffled a couple of feathers and said in my previous comments that I would not respond to challenges to my statements, but here I am, responding. The reason I am doing that is that I object to people who think they can quote some figures in a rather defensive way and think they can solve a huge fresh water crisis in some areas of the world with a few rocks and a barrell. There has to be water in the first place - it has to rain and there aren't many 50gn drums knocking about in the areas concerned. On the science front, for me, it remains a bridge too far at the moment in terms of the level of expenditure. £70m would buy and equip a hospital.
  5. Ok, well her goes, a voice of controversy in the midst of all the excitement... Brian Cox is wrong. First of all, the LHC has cost £2.6bn. That's a lot more than his comparison with the funding of a small university and a significant percentage of what the government has spent to prop up the banks, a large proportion of which I understand is well on the way to being paid back. It is also considerably more than we spend on peanuts in a year. We now have theories abounding all over the place. The certainty that was dark matter, which of course must be there, because it explains a few things is seemingly now dispensed with by some people, far more academically qualified than this Physics graduate (and a graduate from quite some time ago). Whilst there are more "journeys" we could go on to discover interesting new stuff, to me, that's all it is, interesting. In my humble opinion, very humble compared to some of the contributors to this site, there are millions of people on this planet who would give their eye teeth for a drink of clear water. I know it's a too often rolled out argument but I genuinely feel we are losing perspective at a time when costs for the new discoveries are spiraling out of control. Putting things into perspective for the man on the street, yes, science has provided the computer, major advances in medicine and more knowledge about the Universe, but the man in the street only gauges the impact of new discoveries by how it affects him. We have spent the equivalent of the GDP of a sizeable country to find the answer to a question. That is all. That answer will forge or present new questions and the wild goose chase continues, the speculation accumulates and the overall end result is, well, there is never an end result. We have simply (at the moment) found an answer to a question. Now I know we are now seeing discoveries associated with the Universe we could have never dreamed of, but at what cost? For me, astronomy is a hobby. I get an enormous kick out of seeing the wonderful things up there and always have. I repeatedly look at the standard targets - moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Orion and other nebulae, galaxies etc.. I have a crack at the dark art of astro imaging now and then but find it a total waste of time, money (lots) and effort. Personally, I find astro imaging really, really boring. But, looking through those eyepieces gives me a kick. I have learned about what I'm looking at and enjoy that too. What I don't enjoy is seeing experts use the phrases like "for reasons we don't yet know" or "it is generally felt that..." as that borders on the speculative and HG Wells was good at that a hundred years ago. So, for CERN, the LHC, Peter Higgs, dark matter, particles and the rest, let's get things in perspective folks. You have found the answer to a question. It has taken you 50 years to find it. I am really pleased for you, but instead of spending billions to get your answer, which will create even more questions, I would rather spend that kind of money on more useful things. Medical research would have benefited greatly from such funding. So, controversial? Maybe. Rolling out old chestnuts about spending money perhaps more wisely? Gulity. I can never stifle man's thirst for knowledge, the objective of understanding where it all came from. Over the last hundred years, theories have come and gone. I guess 500 years ago I would be in the "the world is flat" camp. However, I do applaud the brain power associated with the discoveries about the Universe over the last few years. It's all a bit confusing to most, completely pointless to others. The sheer weight of the cost to find the answer to a question is for me, simply not worth it. Just a personal opinion guys, that's all. I won't reply to any challenges to the above. I just wanted to voice something different (ish).
  6. I live quite close to it and see it lots of times. Never fails to impress. A genuine icon.
  7. I think a lot of people have trouble with this one as they don't find the 'right' keystone. Quite close by there is a kind of square-ish group of stars. Once you get the 'correct' keystone the glob should only take a minute or two to nail.
  8. I can recall being sat on a beach at night on a tiny island in the Maldives. So many stars, I couldn't make out any constellations and the Milky Way was as good as any photo I've seen. Amazing.
  9. Nice present. Great scope, good mount and I'm sure your other half will be blown away when you line it up on Saturn.
  10. This is a very old and frail man in bad health. Personally, I think he should relinquish the reigns of the show now and perhaps should have done this several years ago. It's occasionally painful to watch his ego being massaged in the way you describe. There is a difference between respect and sheer deference. I often see a group of people surrounding him in the chair and Sir Patrick only contributes the odd, sometimes obvious fact. He would hate that if it dawned on him that this was happening . He won't retire and whilst I would estimate 99% of UK members of SGL probably took up astronomy because of him, he needs to now take it easy in his twilight years, He has been a fantastic servant to the hobby and the industry but now needs to hand over to a more dynamic presenter or two.
  11. Haven't seen one yet, but heard they are going to be about £250. That's more than twice as much as the old model, which is to all intents and purposes is an SPC 900 in a posh suit. That said, if it's the much higher spec they say, Celestron may have a winner on their hands as the mid-price area for cameras seems a bit thin on the ground just now. Prices of decent kit seem to jump by £300 or £400 with nothing in between. Someone will take the plunge and have a look I'm sure.
  12. One other thing to try might be to increase the gain setting as this will brighten an out of focus object. When I first started I found the focus to be miles out - the planet was always or more often than not actually "there" on the laptop screen but it was too dark as well as out of focus and virtually invisible. Once you have it nailed and in view, back the gain down again and focus it as sharp as you can. Sounds easy but takes a bit of practice (and can be incredibly frustrating too!).
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