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Thursday 30 September 2021

The joys of Astronomy!

What with an unprecedented influx of tourists, a steadily climbing infection rate in Broadland and a media-induced fuel panic, staying at home is the new going out!

Luckily, as Autumn rolls in, there's plenty to see in the night sky, especially if you live in a village with no street lights as I do! Last night I grabbed a few shots of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) the Milky Way (our galaxy), Jupiter and the best-known of all constellations, the Plough (Ursa Major) Notice how satellites appear in several shots - there are tens of thousands of them up there now!

Tuesday 28 September 2021

A day later..

A few more 'Moonshots' from last night, using a variety of settings on the camera. I've added labels to some of the more obvious craters: virtually every structure on the Moon is named after someone or something! To have your name immortalised in this way, you generally have to be dead, but Patrick Moore and the three Apollo 11 astronauts were an exception.

Monday 27 September 2021

Pretentious? Moi?

Just out of interest, why do so many people out there in 'social network land' copyright and / or watermark their photos? If you're a professional and want to protect your source of income, then fair enough. But normal 'toggers? All you're doing, in my humble opinion, is spoiling the look of your images...

Last night's waning Moon...

Just reflect: if the Moon hadn't been there, the comets & asteroids that made all these craters would have hit the Earth instead...

Sunday 26 September 2021

Get in Lewis!

Magnificent! What a wonderful way to win your 100th Grand Prix. (I feel soooo sorry for Lando Norris, though....

Knight Moves at Reedham

Good friend Tim - with whom, you'll remember, I've played many times over the years - asked me to take a few photos of his duet 'Knight Moves'. The whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable: Tim's playing of standards by the Commodores, Robbie Williams, Lionel Ritchie and so on was superb, while the delightful Claire Norman showed how years of performing on cruise ships and nightclubs are the perfect apprenticeship for a vocalist.

Saturday 25 September 2021

Second moult for 'our' white Buzzard

Our beautiful white male Buzzard made a few looping passes over the garden at lunchtime, revealing that he seems to be growing out wing and tail feathers after a second moult. Isn't this a little late?

A thin line between tactics and cheating....

As a long-time follower of Formula 1, I am aware of the importance of strategy and tactics in motor racing: tyre choice, team orders, pit-stop timing and so on are what make the sport both unpredictable and exciting. This season we have the added frisson of the greatest of champions, Lewis Hamilton, being challenged for every point by Max Verstappen, the pretender to his title. The level of competition is extreme and has resulted in more than a few 'comings together' and contentious decisions by the stewards.

At the last (Italian) Grand Prix, Verstappen was judged to have been at fault for causing a collision between the two rivals that might well have killed Hamilton a few seasons ago: his punishment was a token loss of three grid places for tomorrow's Russian Grand Prix. We are now told that the engine of Verstappen's car was damaged during the incident.

Now the Sochi circuit is generally agreed to favour the Mercedes team: practice times yesterday seemed to confirm this, with both Perez and Verstappen way off the pace of the 'Silver Arrows'. Taking advantage of this, the Red Bull team made the surprising decision to change Verstappen's engine, resulting in an automatic relegation to the back of the starting grid, regardless of qualifying results.

Let's see this for what it really is:

  • Verstappen causes a serious crash and is penalized by the stewards
  • Red Bull consider Sochi a difficult circuit: almost a lost cause. This is confirmed during P1 & P2
  • The team changes Verstappen's engine, relegating him to the back of the grid
  • This negates the three place penalty awarded by the stewards and gives him a new, more competitive power unit for the next race and the rest of the season
IMHO, the stewards should carry the penalty forward to the Turkish Grand Prix: if not, Verstappen has effectively got away with a piece of seriously dangerous driving...

Thursday 23 September 2021

The ISS (again!)

Tonight the International Space Station passed close to the bright star Vega and through the constellation of Cygnus. Another pair of dimmer satellites preceded it across the Milky Way...

Hickling NWT Reserve: not without interest...

Linda and I felt the need for a walk this morning, choosing Hickling because it's not generally very busy if you arrive early enough. In fact during our walk we encountered just half a dozen people, including a couple of genuine birders!

Unlike my last visit there were a few birds at which to point the camera - albeit somewhat distantly! These included four Great White Egrets, half a dozen Little Egrets and two groups of Cranes. Lots of Ruddy and Common Darters, as well as plenty of Migrant Hawkers...

Oh go on: just one more! ;)

Last night's pass by the ISS, with Jupiter, Saturn and the waning Moon all well-placed for observation.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

The International Space Station over Norfolk

I honestly never tire of observing the ISS pass overhead: it's very bright, totally predictable and easy to photograph: if you've never looked out for it, use the table I put up a couple of days back - there are some good passes coming up!

The final two shots are of the station going into eclipse (into the Earth's shadow) You can make out the flashing red and white lights of an F-15 passing below!

With one minute to go....

Last night could have provided views of the ISS passing close by Jupiter and Saturn: with just a minute to go, however, dense clouds rolled in from the west, obscuring even the rising full Moon. Astronomy can be quite frustrating at times! I did manage a couple of quick photos of Jupiter and its four largest satellites: Io, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto (in order from left to right)