Tagged: hello; return to astronomy
Astronomy keeps happening all around me so I’m thinking of getting more involved. It was a hobby as a kid years ago when I could reel off the names of all Saturn’s 10 moons (still can) – however, imagine my disappointment recently to discover that Saturn has so many more moons now and no-one is impressed with my knowing just the 10. Also Pluto was a planet. So, I’m way out of date. Anyway, while I was at Greenwich Obs a couple of summers ago I was invited to look at the sun through a solar telescope by a man in a panama style hat. What I saw completely blew me away and I’ve been thinking of it ever since and have been gradually trying to find time to get deeper into the subject. So I thought I’d say hello and hope to get acquainted and ask advice etc.
Welcome, Jeff, delighted to have you on board! I’m trying to figure out who the panama hat-wearing member would have been but I can think of a couple of suspects!
We still run a number of solar viewing events at Greenwich through the summer – the next ones are the 12th, 15th and 26th of August. Details at the right-hand side of this page.
There’s an evening session that takes place on Blackheath every month – keep an eye on this website for details.
These events are open to members of the public, as well as Flamsteed members so of course you’d be very welcome.
The monthly lecture is members-only, but well worth attending. Topics range from exo-planets (which were pure science fiction when you and I were kids – there were only 9 moons around Saturn when I got interested in astronomy so I’m obviously older than you!), to the search for gravity waves to the Rosetta mission to comet 67P to the solar wind to the history of astronomy and the constellations to… well, the list goes on. There’s a huge range of experience and knowledge in the Flamsteed, so there’s absolutely no need to feel intimidated by any of this. The lecturers are always excellent and do a terrific job of explaining their work and their discoveries.
And just in case you were wondering, no, you certainly don’t need your own telescope. At the Blackheath viewings, anyone there with a scope is always delighted to share it. Nothing better in this business than having someone look through a telescope and go, ‘Oh, wow!’
So – welcome! And feel free to take part in any of the discussions on this forum, or to start some of your own.
Hi Andy – thank you very much for the hospitality! I will certainly try to get to some of those events. I like the sound of your lecture programme, it looks very interesting. So Saturn had 9 moons! As a 10 moon man I feel young now! My parents did buy me a refractor when I was 12, all the books though referred to lenses in inches but my lens was “70mm” so I wasn’t convinced it was ‘astronomical’! I remember looking at Saturn through it and seeing rings – but to see rings I had to have an extension tube in and Saturn kept shooting across the field of view like a UFO… fun times though.
Gravity waves sound very interesting! I do have hundreds of questions, so I hope to be plaguing people with those at some point. Currently trying to re-acquaint myself with the celestial sphere and would like to know in more detail how it works.
I took a picture of the nice chap with hat who let me have lingering looks at the sun – so you don;t have to work it out! I think it’s a member of the public at the eyepiece when I took the photo.
Thanks again Andy
Ha! That’s me!!
Welcome to the forum, Jeff… and please feel free to ask as many questions as you wish!
Ha! That’s me!!
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you Suspect ‘A’…”
Thanks Mike, so it was you at the scope! That was a very auspicious moment for me as it jump started me back on the road to astronomy after a significant gap. And I see Andy has you down as primary suspect, so I imagine hats are your thing. Thanks for the welcome, I will now start looking for the right places to start asking my, very many, questions!
Janus. Looks like that was the 10th moon of Saturn, discovered in 1966. I would have been using old schoolbooks when I was learning about Saturn’s 9 moons in the late-60s (I guess news travelled more slowly then than it does today). Voyager 1 discovered at least five more in 1980.
1966! Hmmm…when I used to do my party trick and reel off the names Janus came first. Of the books I had in 1980, certainly Patrick Moore’s Observer’s Book of Astronomy (still a favourite), I just looked and it just says Saturn has a ‘wealth of satellites’ – and it mentions Titan can be seen with a 2″ telescope and that it has a methane atmosphere (not bad for 1966!). But I still have Astronomy for O level (pub. 1980) which gives 10 moons by name, so that’s maybe where I got it from. In fact, I also have a school Nuffield physics booklet from then called Planetary Astronomy and I see I must have defaced the planetary data page at some point by writing 10 in pen over whatever was there before (presumably 9) against no. of moons!
I don’t know what you feel, but when I was watching Brian Cox’s Wonders of Solar System series I thought I/we already knew about 85% + of this in 1980! When I have talked to young people about that series they all assume that we discovered very recently that ‘when we look at night sky we are looking into the past’. Yet, I’m sure that was a standard thing when I was 16! (amazing though it was; sadly I don’t recall anyone swooning when I said it as people do when Cox does!).
Actually Andy you have made me think about how we operated in the pre-Web era. When I talk to younger people these days they always have smart devices in their hands – I’ve even had discussions with student age folk who routinely refer to Web pages in mid-conversation (to check on things that people say!). The discussion of ‘facts’ just ain’t what it used to be! 😉 I wonder if the Web changes the way people get into astronomy and the kinds of things they’re interested in?
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