I completely agree with both of you too but its no bad thing from the perspective of astronomy lovers. Space exploration and technological progression absolutely depend on, and is accelerated by, world power struggles and energy resource hunting. It is human nature to (in fact, animal kingdom nature) to be the most powerful nation/tribe/clan so we never have to worry about progress. It think we will be inhabiting new worlds soon because we would have exhausted the resources of this one or…done something rather terribly silly to it.
Its just that we individual amateur astronomers have a limited lifespan so we are simply impatient for more progress but when you really look at it…we are blessed to live in the era of mind boggling, spectacularly huge progressions compared to every previous generation of homosapiens and it will continue to be that way. Now and again, world climate in finance or political fragility may cut back on budgets but they are minor dips in the grand scale of technological and space exploration progress.
Only ten years ago, I couldnt even have dreamed I could take photos of Jupiter’s great spot, Saturn rings and its moons from my same humble house in Peckham. If I can do that with modest equipment that cost less than my very first car, a banged up second hand Peogeut 305, then I really have no worries of the progress NASA, European Space Agency etc we will make to reach the final frontiers…it may not happen in our lifetime but it will happen…provided we dont do anything silly which IS a very big worry as it is also in our nature to be also very stupid, naive, ignorant and passive to early global hazard warnings.
I remember that Voyager horizon episode, and have always held the two voyagers as the most wonderful achievement so far…even more than the moon landings imho. The two Voyagers for me are the greatest legends and always fills me with spine tingling awe as they journeyed through the solar system and then continuing their voyages into intersteller space, still sending back trickles of important data after all these decades.
They are also the reason why I love Star Trek The Motion picture more than any other of film in that franchise. Sorry to make such a strange left turn there) but if you have seen the film, I hope you understand why I brouight it up! (plus I am an absolute scifi movie junkie). I just loved the revelation in that film. I cant understand why that film is so overlooked. Have any of you seen it? If not, give it a go. It has the operatic essence of 2001 but without the heavy dose of the metaphoric madness. It also has a great proper science fiction narrative.
As a Star Trek fan since the first series in the 60s I have to disagree with you about Star Trek the motion picture. It was originally meant to be the first a new T.V. series which was revamped to be made into a series of movies. It was rushed into production which shows in the final cut. I think First contact was a lot better.
Brian, I expect most people to disagree with me as I completely acknowledge that I am in the minority of positive opinion towards The Motion Picture 🙁
However, I think its unfair that an opinion should be based on how a film was conceived and its behind the scenes production problems. A film that has a rushed production or several rewrites doesn’t always reflect the quality of the result. I would even argue pressure can produce innovative results. The legendary success of man landing on the moon was achieved through pressure. Several films turned out to be masterpieces such as Casablanca and Jaws. The Motion Picture was certainly originally written as a pilot for “star trek: Phase 2” but that doesnt mean it cant be a good film. I can think of many tv series episodes that I wished could have had the potential of being a great big budget movie. Robert Wise did tighten up the editing in the remastered edition and is a slight better film for it but the original was still a grand piece of science fiction in my lonely humble opinion. The problem it had was delivering to the expectations of the audience. It came out one year after Star Wars and so audiences were conditioned for fast paced action but ST:TMP delivered the opposite, it delivered hardcore science fiction opera. It also annoyed Star trek fans (I presume including yourself?) due to the “coldness” of the characters that fans had grown to love from the 60s series (at least that’s general consensus I seem to gather). And those are very valid reasons not to love The Motion Picture. I find it sad that the film achievements in all its other aspects are overlooked, from the grand soundtrack of Jerry Goldmith to the visual effects, cinematography, and narrative to Robert Wise’s deliberate “cold” aesthetic in his direction. Its a bona-fide piece of epic science fiction but perhaps, admittedly a poor entry for those who love the classically warm characters of the 60s show. For the record, I actually love every single star trek film, in all its flavours including the most slammed Star Trek V! Every film has a different type of enjoyment to offer and I love that variety in any franchise or series. Keeps it all fresh.
Although, I am in the minority but I would still like to recommend the movie to those here who have not seen it especially given the recent talk of the Voyagers 🙂
Brian, is it just me or do you get the feeling Mike is smacking his palm to his forward at our sudden star trek debate invasion 😀 I can see him frantically hitting the “star trek wars alert” contingency button…
Where is Mike’s Forward? The reason that Star Trek The Motion Picture was made as a film was precisely that the studios thought that they could capitalise on Star Wars which is where the mistake lay. The original conception of the film was a good idea but it could have been better executed. The other problem was the friction within the cast. In general a lot of people did like the film as the box office showed, which is why the others where made, but the reason that the T.V. series was even considered for a relaunch was because of the fans. A persons opinion can be based on anything, mine is valid as I firmly believe that those considerations were what lead to the film being a lot less then it could have been.
The basis of the film was the gold disc that Sagan had campaigned for on Voyager being the idea that an alien civilisation responded to the message and sent a message back to earth.
Right, that’s it… my patience has now snapped.
All further discussion on Star Trek is hereby banned on this thread.
Feel free to set up a new thread… which I will instantly hide from all other users except Tej and Brian 😉
Assuming everyone here hasn’t by now been completely put off the idea of watching science stuff on TV, this is Sky at Night week. First broadcast is tomorrow (Sunday) night with repeats later in the week.
this is Sky at Night week
Didn’t watch this last night, due to the World Cup extra time, but I caught up with it on iPlayer this morning. Link is here.
I thought this programme was extremely good… and great to see some old faces back, like Lucie Green and, of course, Marek. I found the section about seasonal variation on other planets fascinating… particularly the section on Uranus (a 21 year season!).
Also loved the section on the cycle of star formation and death… featuring an interview with a “Galactic Archaeologist”!! How cool a job title is that?!
Yes, I saw it too. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed it and more importantly, learnt a lot of new cosmic facts.
As Mike, pointed out, the seasonal variations on other planets were fascinating. I suppose all these radically different tilts and even reverse rotations are caused by early formation collisions?
Love the mind boggling fact that cosmologists can see sunspots on other stars! Wow, so clever 🙂 I didnt get how they distinguish the sunspot from an exoplanet. Did he say, it would be a sunspot if there is an accompanying surplus of light which would indicate plages? Are sunspots always accompanied by plages?
I was there, at the solar viewing, in Regents Park, the day after we gathered at Blackheath 🙂 By huge coincidence I work at Regents Park as a cricket official and league manager on Sundays, so I had brought my solarscope along with the cricket kits 🙂 I stayed away from the crew though, much preferring to entertain visitors in my corner to the Sun’s solar show but I am seen in the background occasionally during that segment.
The early formation collisions could be a factor also there is a possibility that the planets are not in the original position they were in when first formed. It is believed that Neptune and Uranus have changed places.
I was there, at the solar viewing, in Regents Park, the day after we gathered at Blackheath
Do you, Tej, or anyone else know if the guy in the Regents Park clip dressed in red is Mike Davies, the famous airport architect?
Edit: Further research suggests that the answer is Yes!
anyone else know if the guy in the Regents Park clip dressed in red is Mike Davies, the famous airport architect?
Yes, Andy, I believe that it is. You sometimes see him with his customised “red” Newtonian and “red” equatorial mount, as well!
Hey Andy, yes it was indeed “Red” Mike Davies. He occasionally joins us at the Regents Park hub for the Bakerstreet Irregular Astronomers monthly stargaze and is a primary funder for the them. I never approached him to say hello, simply out of shyness for such a high profile character and achiever (silly of me I know but I cant help feeling so small to some folks, sometimes) . But just a couple of months ago, three of us Bakerstreet members went to the hub during the day to attempt a mad endeavour of observing a triple shadow transit of Jupiter in daylight. Turned out to be a futile attempt with the dastardly clouds ruining our chances but “Red” Mike heard about our endeavour on our facebook page and made a surprise visit to meet us. There is no doubt about his eccentricity but he was full of stories to tell about his astronomical and architectural endeavours, very entertaining and charming. He commended me on how I carry my telescopes in a compact way, lifting my bag to test the weight and making various other suggestions regards to padding.
To be honest, I didnt know who the heck this guy was until others told me! When I learnt he built the millennium dome, its design finally made perfect sense after 15 years of scratching my head 🙂
I’ve just read – or should that be ‘red’? – that he owns 22 red telescopes…
Recently-repeated Horizon programme on asteroids is available on iPlayer until next Tuesday.