Archive for July, 2013

Please sign the AVAAZ petition regarding vandalism of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

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A business forum I frequent has a never-ending series of life-enhancing articles along the lines of:

The 5 things you must not say when you are after a raise in pay.

The 8 characteristics of the most iconic CEOs.

The 3 things that successful entrepreneurs practice every day.

9 ways to improve your overall work experience.

And I could go on ad nauseum.  Could I just say that if you are writing one of these articles that 1)  You clearly don’t have a clue about the subject.  2)  You don’t even have the talent to come up with an original title – we’re talking 1990 here – 23 years ago and counting!!

Whilst in grump mode I would like to share an experience that had me rolling about on the floor laughing for a good 10 minutes.  “The Dilbert Principle” arrived through the post this morning and as with all new books I turned to the back cover.  One of the “Management secrets” was the “use of humiliation as a Management tool”.  Oops – rolling around on the floor laughing again 🙂 🙂 🙂

Yes it has been cloudy for the past few nights.

By the way – as I’m still very much in grump mode – if you actually bought and read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” then I’m willing to bet the house you also have “How to Win Friends and Influence People” too.  That’s pretty much an in-joke I’m afraid.



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O.K. so this is another of my non-astronomy observations – sorry – but I am getting really cheesed off with the current Government thinking we are all a complete bunch of idiots.

So we have UK economic growth of 0.6% as measured over the last quarter – do we really?  So if you can measure to 0.6% you must be able to measure with an accuracy of at the very least 0.1%.  This cannot be above the noise level and these numbers are basically completely meaningless – but it does allow the Government to give the impression that there is some growth (even if it is tiny) and makes everyone feel good and believe that the Government is on the right track.  Well that’s the idea anyway.  Trouble is, even Joe Bloggs has sufficient intelligence to know this is just a pile of garbage.

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Another object bagged by the mini-WASP array during the recent period of clear Moonless nights.  This time it is the Globular Cluster M10 in the constellation Ophiucus.  7 x 10-minute sub-exposures on all 3 cameras.

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Lovely clear night again last night, but with a blazing Moon in the south it meant imaging towards the north.  Decided on a cluster rich region close to Ruchbah in Cassiopeia as the target.  Mini-WASP array, all 3 cameras firing, 20 subs at 5 minutes per sub on each camera.  Looks like cloud tonight, so I’m glad I made the effort to get some imaging done last night.

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It’s 11:30 p.m. – I’m in the NFO control room.   Queen is on BBC4 and “Hammer to Fall” is blasting out, expecting the ASBO to be delivered any second.  All 4 computers monitors on, I’m imaging 7 clusters and a planetary nebula near Ruchbah with the mini-WASP array.  Can it get any better than this?  I think not 🙂


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Lovely clear evening last night, but there was an annoying Moon hanging around for most of the imaging session.  Never mind, the Moon isn’t too much of a problem when you’re taking star shots.

The one frame has caught two Carbon stars in the constellation Sagitta.  The central star is X Sagittae HD190606 and towards top right is BF Sagittae (looking a lot less red) GSC 1629:945.  Carbon stars are invariably (no pun intended) variable stars and typically the brighter they are (during the variable period) the less red they appear.  Maybe BF Sagittae was near peak brightness??

Image captured using all 3 cameras on the mini-WASP array, 255-second subs and around 20 subs per camera.

Slowly working my way through the Carbon Star Observer’s Checklist 🙂

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Science and God

Oh dear, that old Chestnut again, can anything new be said on the subject?  Probably not, but then again, as we are now in the 21st Century, perhaps it is a good time to re-assess the situation.

Can you picture the battered Galileo leaving the interrogation by the Inquisition muttering under his breath “And yet it moves”?  I can, very clearly, even though it is very likely that he never said those words at that time.  Whilst on the subject, do you know how long it was before the Roman Catholic Church (i.e. the incumbent Pope) actually apologised for this travesty?  We had to wait until the 31st October 1992 before Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how “the Galileo affair was handled”.  Better late than never I suppose.

Do “scientists” show any more tolerance or understanding towards Religious people?  Far from it, the last decade has seen plenty of venting from several individuals who believe their own Godless view of the Universe is the “correct” way to look at things.  Many “scientists” also express the opinion that as we learn more and more so the need for a God appears to be required less and less.  Those with these opinions are of course very amateur “scientists”; those working at the forefronts of Cosmology fully realise that we are a long way from any real understanding of the Universe we live in, and that a God (or Gods) could help us out in explaining some of the more cerebrally challenging details.

As I have mentioned in posts elsewhere, it is a rather ignorant Religious person who has no time for science, because like it or not, that’s the way the world operates.  Likewise it is an equally ignorant “scientist” who discounts the spiritual side of Homo Sapiens, because again, like it or not, that’s a level on which (most) humans operate.

The reason I have called this piece Science and God and not Science and Religion is quite simple.  I have said all I am going to say about Religion above, Religion is not the issue here, God is.  Religion is a mind-construct of Homo Sapiens.  Religion and associated concepts such as Heaven were created, as Kryten so brilliantly observed in Red Dwarf, “to try and prevent you guys from going nuts”.  I have no time for any religion whatsoever, purely man-made constructs cannot give any “true” answers to the God question.  They do seem however to be really good forums for pitting Homo Sapiens against Homo Sapiens.  But not having any religious interests does not equate to having no interest in the existence of a God (or Gods).  The God question is extremely interesting.

Does God exist?  Even Kurt Gödel wrote a piece trying to answer this question, so I guess it must be important.  The corollary of course is, if God exists, then what exactly is God?

I can be wrong right from the off on this one, but my “feeling” is (yes I am a member of Homo Sapiens I work with feelings as well as with numbers) – my feeling is that what we as a race call God is the Absolute Infinite.  So that is going to be my starting point, if you disagree with that, then it is pointless reading any further to get any God answers.

If God is the Absolute Infinite, the Ein Sof, then I think we are entering very interesting territory indeed.  Why?  Because I don’t believe there is ANYTHING in the physical Universe that is infinite.  I don’t believe there are an infinite number of photons, quarks or neutrinos.  Our Universe it appears is finite in size and contains a finite amount of stuff within it.  So everything we know (or ever will know) in the real physical world appears to be made out of finite quantities – Q.E.D. we won’t find God in the physical Universe.

Where do we find Infinities?  The only place I know of where we find Infinity and infinite quantities is in mathematics.  Now that’s strange.  We use mathematics to explain the real world to a high degree of accuracy, and we even carry out integrations over infinity to give answers that correspond to realities in the real world – and yet infinity does not seem to be part of the real world.

So am I saying that God is Mathematics?  No I am not.  But can you see that Mathematics might give us a clue as to what God actually is?  The Absolute Infinite was contemplated by Georg Cantor as an infinity that transcended the transfinite numbers.  It should be noted that Cantor equated the Absolute Infinite with God!  Cantor believed that the Absolute Infinite possessed mathematical properties including the reflection principle which states that every property of the Absolute Infinite is also held by some smaller object.  It is sad to relate that Georg Cantor, along with several other famous mathematicians/physicists who dared to venture into the realm of the infinite encountered severe mental problems which led to death.

We are now coming to the end of this piece.  How is it possible for a finite Mind to contemplate and work with infinite quantities?  I suppose the trite answer is that it cannot and it leads to madness and death, which in itself is extremely interesting observation, because as we all know “Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad”.  But now consider the reason our finite minds can work with the Infinite is due to the reflection principle, so that every property of the Absolute Infinite is also held by some smaller object – ourselves for example!

I therefore believe it is possible for us “smaller objects” to know “the Mind of God” – but the quest is fraught with danger!!

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Got today’s EPOD with a focus-stacked photomicromosaic of a Diatom Exhibition slide.  Thank you Jim at EPOD for continuing to publish my work 🙂


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This is a composite image combining the recent 8 x 20-minute subs from the Hyperstar III with earlier Sky 90/M25C which incorporated H-alpha and OIII narrowband data.

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