Monday, April 07, 2008

Where, When, What, Why?

Astronomy - I think I'm getting the hang of it, there's a lot of maths and physics involved in working out how to locate your objects in the sky; not only is the earth moving, but everything else is moving too, so making sure that you can find things 'up there' from second-to-second is very challenging.

Astronomers are interested in how old astronomical 'objects' are, how large they are, how heavy they are, how old they are, how far away they are and once they can determine all this information - they can tell us a lot about where we are, what we're made of and where we are going.

The process of getting all this information is rather challenging, as well as mind-blowing. While I am currently sitting in what looks like the control room in the Starship Enterprise, and it's not too cold (we are, after all, up a mountain, above the clouds and it's close to freezing) - I'm about to go outside in the pitch black to try to find my way to the Meade telescope which is on a tripod in the open air - and take a photo of star trails - which will take a 30 minute exposure, outside, in the cold.

While for the astronomers it's a lot more than just taking pretty pictures - that's exactly what I'm hoping to get!

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