Watching 2001 a Space Odyssey.

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I haven’t seen 2001 for about 10 years but it hasn’t lost its magic. If you have never seen it then it’s worth having a look. It’s a classic science fiction film set in 2001. It was made in the 1960s but it has quite good predictions of how things would work in the future.

It starts at the dawn of man and charts what happens when a enigmatic black obilisk appears on Earth. The film then fasts forward to a future where humans have made a discovery on the moon and follows an expedition to Jupiter.

I did read the original book by Arthur C Clarke and the following sequels. I think in the original story they travel to Saturn, but the destination was changed in the film and the subsequent books.

I won’t post any spoilers about what happens. But it is very good, although modern audiences might find it a bit slow. The one thing I do like is that the space sequences are silent except for music in the first sequence. Sound cannot propagate in a vacuum as there are no molecules to transmit it. Hence although you would hear rockets in earth’s atmosphere you wouldn’t in outer space.

The director was Stanley Kubrick who also directed A clockwork orange and other classic films. I think they are showing it because its the anniversary of Kubruck death.

The start of the film shows the moon in silhouette with Earth and then the sun curving beyond. That’s what I’ve tried to draw here.

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Wow signal?

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Peeeeep she heard it on the radio. A loud pulse  then it was gone. What was that? It had been a piercing squeal.

But it was gone. A disturbance in the aether, a cosmic scream perhaps??

She checked the Internet. It was all over Facebook. At precisely 4pm Greenwich mean time a signal had slashed into the Earth’s atmosphere. So strong it was picked up by transistor radios and radio telescopes alike. The Internet was calling it a Wow signal based on a signal heard by a radio telescope on August 15th 1977.

Could it be interference from Earth? But the signal had eminated from the milky way galaxy. Millions of light years away across the sky from us.

Speculation increased  Could it be aliens? Or the voice of God? Maybe there was a new astronomical phenomenon.

For now the sky remained annoyingly quiet and the world waited with mixed fear and hope to see if it would happen again or what would happen next.

Uncertainty

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Watching a programme about gravity and quantum physics. The very big and the very small…

Hard to follow. There is apparently a fundamental problem in our understanding of the universe. General relativity explains Stars and galaxies. Quantum mechanics explains Atoms. But when you get to black holes the laws of nature fail.

Today Nasa published the very first image of a real black hole. Before today any images were just illustrations or mock ups.

The singularity at the centre of a black hole is apparently the same sort of thing as the singularity at the beginning of the universe.

The programme shows how something called quantum gravity explains the universe. Now we have seen a real black hole they may be able to take the theories further.

I’m leaving this now. I don’t understand!

Tranquil – from Sue Vincent’s weekly #writephoto prompt.

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Funny how the light shines in this glade she thought. The trees and the beach look pink and purple. It must be the weather. Then she looked up to where the sun should be, but the star she saw  was red, like the sun when you see it through thick clouds on the horizon. But this star was small and high up in the sky. She could tell it wasn’t her sun. You could actually look at it without being blinded.

She tried to remember how she had got here, what had happened to her? All she could think of was the lights in the sky the night before. Not meteors but green flashes, like falling fireworks. Yes, then something had lifted her up and everything had gone dark and silent….

Where am I? Where have I been brought to? she thought, this place is so peaceful, so quiet. Then she realised what was missing, birdsong, insects churring, the everyday sound of traffic… Wherever she was she knew now it was alien. It could not be Earth.

Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday #writephoto prompt here

Moon

sketch-1550491668382The moon danced last night

Leaping across the sky

It sang of silver shadows

Falling far and wide

The moon rang with music

Notes of heavenly tunes

Rising and falling

moon bows shining bright

The moon smiled last night

As it travelled overhead

Bathing the world with glimmers

And frosty gauzy white

The moon breathed last night

Cool breezes soft and sweet

Gentle dreaming sighing

Sleep in silent flight.

Ultima Thule

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Excuse the picture. I tried to draw what Ultima Thule looked like.

I just watched a programme called “the sky at night” a BBC programme about the Nasa New Horizons mission that flew past a tiny planetoid called Ultima Thule (pronounced Thooley) on 1st January 2019. This was the same probe that sent back beautiful photos of Pluto a couple of years ago. Ultima Thule is only 21 miles long and the probe showed that it is made up of two lumpy spheres of material stuck together at a neck. There is only one clearish photo so far but they also know that it probably is a red colour. The pictures they published have been brightened to show details but the thing is probably a dark red colour.

The probe was apparently travelling at around 15 kilometres a second so it sped past Ultima Thule and is now several hundred kilometres past it and travelling further into the Kuiper belt (a ring of debris spread in a flat layer around the outer edge of the solar system). New horizons is nuclear fueled because solar panels would not work in the darkness so far from the sun.

It will take two years to stream all the data thay have collected from the probe back to Earth. This is the furthest world we have ever seen close up.

I love informative programmes like the Sky at Night. Its been on TV since the 1960’s I think. I have learnt a lot about astronomy over the years from it.

 

Dalek 2013

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I just found this old photo from 2013. We were on the churnet valley light railway for a fun day out and when we got to Froghall Station at the far end we found a Dalek trundling up and down the platform!

It was surreal. I’ve been watching Dr Who on and off since it first started in the 1960’s. It’s a British Sci fi series about a time lord that travels through time and space in a TARDIS (time and relative dimensions in space). One of the doctors arch enemies were the daleks. Now the doctor has regenerated. ( the part has changed over the years, with different actors playing the part). The part is now being played by Jodie Whittaker, and despite concerns she would not be any good I think she’s excellent.

This new years eve Dr Who was a favourite. The Daleks (or at least one) returned. It seems we will have to wait a year till the next series. I wish it was sooner, I need a tardis!