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Everything posted by rabbithutch

  1. Due to nerve damage during surgeries some years ago, I have a condition called Horner's Syndrome. This has caused the pupils in each eye to dilate and contract at different rates, thus allowing more light into one eye than the other. This gives periods of extended response to light flashes. I wear sunglasses while driving at night (but that's because I'm waaaaay cooler than Elvis) to damp the problem. For many years it also caused me to have depth perception problems leading an unnatural fear of heights which I never had before. The condition has improved perceptibly over many years but has not gone away completely. I offer this information because it - or something like it - might cause different people to respond differently to retinal photographs.
  2. Howdy Daniel! That's an interesting read. To be a bit pedantic, Maryland is not in the area called New England but is, instead, one of the Southern states and most reliably called a mid-Atlantic state. My ancestors relocated from Towcester, Nothants, to Maryland in the 1640s. I don't know if the English Civil War was a factor in their leaving Merry Olde but would not be surprised. I'd also be leery of speculating as to whether they were loyalists or parliamentarians.
  3. I read a lot of posts here that I don't understand and use them to direct my attention to trying to absorb enough basics to continue to extend my knowledge. Recently, there have been a number of posts about mirrors and coatings, for example. There are innumerable posts about EPs. Here's my proposition. Can we have a thread that will tell those like me who don't know, how to go about examining and evaluating their scope or one they are considering? I've been a member here for about a year. During that time I've learned more than I would have dreamed when I started. Last winter I found a used 8" dob (Orion of a '90s vintage) within my budget and purchased it. I had no idea how to examine it or question it. Since then, I have probably abused the scope moving it around. I've not yet learned collimation and my viewing thus far has been planets and Earth's moon. I suspect that the primary mirror in my scope needs cleaning and maybe recoating. The secondary mirror is mounted on a single vane. Is this good or bad? My focuser is NOT a crayford style (I don't know what to call the type that I have). I will not even go into the dobsonian mount so as not to complicate the discussion. So, you see that I still have much to learn about the care and feeding of a scope. Anyone want to jump in and start a discussion about this subject? Let's start with the primary mirror? Is dismounting it a task that a reasonably sentient user could safely accomplish? What should one look for when inspecting the mirror? . . . its cleanliness? . . . its coating state? Where does one go (besides tapping the knowledge here) to learn about the mechanics of it all? et cetera et cetera et cetera (in my best Yul Brynner voice)
  4. It always seemed to me that teachers give students the means to deal with the world - introducing them to it, so to speak. You not only introduce them to the world but to the universe as well! Super job, Isabelle.
  5. I skim read the report. I might have missed something; however, I gleaned from it that only 3 incidents of possible laser illumination were found in the metastudy results. No injury was caused by any of these three. The vast majority of the accidents and injuries (these terms have specific meaning within the piece) reported were from bad airport lighting. I think the cited report is hardly credible evidence. It investigated the record of accidents reported in the period 1978 to 2005 (US FAA) and 1982 to 2005 (US NTSB) and found only 58 reports out of the millions of flight events that took place during that period. Only 3 reports out of those millions of events might possibly have been due to laser illumination! To characterize the threat from lasers as endangering thousands (or even hundreds) of lives is a bit over the top, in my opinion; and the evidence I've seen simply does not support it. But, then again, I accept very little of what I hear reported on faith and question the motives of those who report (and more especially those who provide the information reported). I think this points out that the industry is swallowing a camel and gagging on a gnat. As to expecting one to accept that 600 have died due to an attributed cause (without evidence) in the absence of proof, I think makes my point about overreaction. Find the yobs who use the lasers to light up aircraft and beat them repeatedly, publicly, with whipping canes from Singapore. Beat them until their skin peels off, but leave law abiding citizens alone unless and until you have a smoking gun, please. If a laser ever causes a single death - with no other possible contributing factor - I'll be happy to be the sole member of the firing squad that executes the miscreant who did it. (Yes, as an American, I believe in capital punishment and believe that it is used to sparingly. If that makes me bloodthirsty savage in your eyes, I understand but I do not accept that label.) I have no doubt that in some places the misuse of laser pointers has caused 'problems' - meaning that an aircraft passenger or operator was annoyed and temporarily visually disabled by the laser beam. I know of no report or study that is credible that places the blame for accident (damage to aircraft) or injury (harm causing treatment and recovery time) and none resulting in mortal injury. Perhaps the use of laser pointers is a much greater problem in the UK. I realize that all of the UK would easily fit within the borders of Texas and not nearly fill all the area. We don't have the population density, perhaps; but we have 2 of the worlds busiest airports (DFW and Houston) and many very heavily trafficked ones (Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Amarillo). Finally, understand that my statements are not in defense of laser pointers and especially not in defense of those who would light aircraft with them. My position is solely that of one who believes that individual liberties are too precious to allow the whinging of a few - a few who have no proof of harm - to limit the liberties of the law abiding many. To simply roll over and allow government to ban these devices would mean disavowing everything that my American ancestors fought to build and maintain over the last 400 years and my English ancestors for 400 years before that.
  6. World's most complex telescope takes first pictures of deepest space in quest for more knowledge of outer universe | Mail Online I don't know about you, but that image reminds me of an MRI of the human head and brain.
  7. Please advise me of one credible incidence in which a laser contributed to the death of an airline passenger.
  8. Risking permanent expulsion from SGL, I would offer that most nights I wear sandals, shorts and T-shirt. For a few nights in mid-winter, I wear Wranglers (a brand of denims), a sweatshirt, and a night watch cap - I think SGL sells one that they call a beanie. When I lived in a colder clime (North Carolina, where it could occasionally reach -10 F) I wore thermals, wool slacks, Beaufort jacket with liner, and watch cap with gloves and glove liners. Later I discovered that skiing kit was very warm. Still, sandals, shorts, T-shirt and warm smile see me through most nights. (is there a running-away-fast-and-seeking-shelter smiley?)
  9. Given that a landing is nothing more than a controlled crash, I quite understand why pilots monitor what the computers are doing so very closely.
  10. Thank you for the links, Alma! As I said in another post and repeat here, I would never intentionally point a laser at an aircraft in operation - EVER! I'm still a bit skeptical about the airline industry aversion and public outcry against these devices. I am a great believer in individual liberty that stretches to taking liberties away from only those who abuse a privilege, not everyone who enjoys it. I would give extremely long sentences to anyone convicted of laser lighting an aircraft. The problem, of course, is that apprehension is almost impossible. As an American who owns guns and enjoys their use for sport and for personal protection, I hold that it is the person and not the device that must be held accountable. Politicians are too likely to take freedoms away from the many based on pressure from very small special interest groups. I resist every attempt I can. Do you know whether or not any aircraft accidents have been caused by laser pointers? If so, I'd like to read about them. Your post was very informative and useful. Thank you, again.
  11. One could argue that the nature of being human means that one will be distracted. The corollary to that is that the distraction will occur at the worst possible time. This probably happens in the types of aircraft you describe - helicopters, military jets, etc - constantly. I know several retired pilots of both fixed and rotary wing aircraft who have spoken of distractions. Any many instances they reported to me that the distractions were caused by flight crew members rather than outside forces. Another argument is that there should be no aircraft flying for commercial or military purposes that would be adversely affected by momentary distractions - that there should be systems to ensure that they are not catastrophic. Most helicopters and fighter aircraft have fly-by-wire software that augments and replaces a pilot's control. So, do lasers adversely affect this? Show us! One must seriously question whether an enemy combatant would ever be deterred from employing laser beams - even ones of much greater intensity than those discussed here - against helicopters and military jets. In fact one must assume that will be the case and those systems should have developed shields and pilot aids to counteract their effect. It is difficult to believe that they have not done so; ergo why all the fuss about civilian lasers? These questions are not meant to say that there might not be reason to ban them or severely curtail their use, but I say that there must be evidence of harm proved by legitimate, independent observation - not just the whinging of a select few. Again, I'm from Missouri.
  12. I'm not an aviation safety expert - nor do I play one on TV. I want someone in the airline industry to film what actually occurs in the cockpit of an airliner when a laser pointer strikes it and show us the result. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to endanger any passenger or crew member, but I equally don't want to swallow a camel and gag on a gnat. It seems to me that it would be damned near impossible to shine a laser light into the cockpit of a commercial aircraft at full altitude in level flight. Perhaps, though, the beam spreads out at 5 or 6 miles and creates a dispersed green or red glow in the cabin. If so, I want to see the effects of it. Seems an easy enough experiment to conduct on one of the test flights done without passengers. As for takeoff and landing, I believe that a laser beam might be dangerous for pilots; but I have some doubt that there is any disruption of flight unless the pilots over react. I say this because virtually all passenger jets use full automation for landings and take offs - pilots don't actually control the aircraft then. Even so, I think visual evidence should be obtained and shown to the public. Yes, I realize that millions of miles are flown in smaller, commuter aircraft which do not employ automation and do not fly at such altitudes. I would like to have visual evidence - taken during test flights without passengers - of the effects on them, too. Perhaps this would put an end to the discussion. My suspicion is that laser lights are not much more than an annoyance for pilots and that the airline industry is erring on the side of caution to protect passengers. In either case, I am not against their approach but I would like to see real evidence and not just the opinions of those affected. Of course, I wouldn't want any pilot on an aircraft I was traveling in to be annoyed nor would I want to make its flight one whit less safe. As we say here in the States, "I'm from Missouri. Show me!"
  13. Howdy Damian! Dogs on the beach AND Jupiter. Sounds a perfect evening to me. I learned that the Royal Mail or the US Postal Service will not allow the fluid to be mailed legally - a fallout from terrorism. I guess I'll just have to wait until I can go to the UK or Germany myself. Wouldn't want to put anyone afoul of the law. Thanks for asking.
  14. Yeah! That stuff is very dangerous! It'll rust nails! I've heard tell there's some brave souls who drink it, but I'll stick with good single malt from Scotland.
  15. Walked out last night to put the trash out (bins by the curb) and noticed that Jupiter looked as if I could reach out and touch it. The skies were deep, dark, unclouded, clear and magnificent. I stood there agape when an orange light streaked across the sky roughly from South to North. The time must have been about 2300 hours UTC -6. I wasn't able to get the scope out, but last night was probably the best seeing here in at least a year. The meteor or space trash (or whatever it was) appeared as a group of small lights, as if someone had thrown a handful of pieces across the sky. It makes one feel truly blessed when a tiny instant in time yields such a spectacular display - doubly impressive because it was total serendipity.
  16. Howdy, Iain, from Texas! What part of Northants is your patch? Me ancestors left the Towcester area (Wood Burcote) about 350 years ago landing in Maryland. I hope to visit there someday and have a pint at the Saracen's Head Inn made famous by Robert Louis Stephenson in Treasure Island. Hope you continue to enjoy clear skies.
  17. AFAIK laser pointers are not controlled by any laws in the US other than the laws of common sense. I have several and use them occasionally at night to point to areas of the sky, but I never, ever would point one at an aircraft that I can detect. Now if they are flying stealth aircraft around and I happen to hit one, trust me, it would be more the case of a blind squirrel finding an acorn than one of intent to light up the aircraft.
  18. No need to apologize. I revel in learning how we use the language differently.Yes, we have gas mains and water mains but our electricity is referred to as wiring or the house circuits. We have a main circuit breaker in our breaker boxes and a main shut off outside, usually, but we don't call the wiring 'mains'. Of course, sometimes here in Texas we discover that they are called "HOT DAMN!"
  19. Aaaah! My education in the proper use of English (my native tongue for, lo, 70 years - albeit with a God-given Southern accent) continues. I discovered that mains don't deliver water to a home but deliver electricity and that a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI or GFI) is actually a Residual Current Circuit Breaker (RCCB), which, of course, is a Residual Current Device (RCD). Two great peoples divided by a common language, eh?
  20. Thank you, Olly! I shall probably never see the Cocoon except by generosity such as yours.
  21. OUCH! Seems as if a SATNAV is a requirement for driving in the UK.
  22. There's green emanating from Texas, too! I would love to attend such an auspicious gathering of astronomers. So, what's up with the traffic Celeste encountered? Were there so many headed to Kelling - kits, kats, sacks, wives (7 of each) comes to mind? Or are UK roads usually so congested at weekends?
  23. Aaaaargggghhh! Me HEAD! Orta be a rule about posting warnings on this sorta post! Seriously. Thanks for the link. It introduces me to new concepts that I shall have to return to reading many times.
  24. Quien sabe? I want to see how long it takes CERN to replicate the finding and hone in on isolating the neutrino in speed tests.
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