18 October 2011 (Tuesday) - Stuff

The noise of the rain on the window kept me awake for much of the night. And so I spent a lot of today wanting to go back to bed.

In a week or so’s time I shall be lecturing to the astro club on the subject of comets. Earlier in the year I was very pleased to find out that comet Elenin would be at its brightest at the end of this month, and that it might possibly even be bright enough to see with the naked eye. That fitted in very well with my plans: a lecture on comets; then we’d go outside and look at one.
As usual God laughs when I make plans….
The eagle-eyed amongst my readers may well have spotted that there isn’t a bright comet in the skies at the moment. Those of my readers equipped with telescopes may well have spotted that here isn’t a dull comet in the skies at the moment.

Comet Elenin made its closest approach to Earth a couple of days ago and…. Well, what can I say? Comet Elenin isn’t where it should be. One can’t help but wonder where it’s gone.
The chances are that the comet broke up whilst swinging around the sun. But were that the case, there should be some comet fragments visible to the more powerful optical telescopes. And there aren’t. Having spent months preparing a talk for the astro club and expecting a comet, with ten days to go, I might just have to undertake something of a major re-write.

Meanwhile, polar bears are shrinking. It’s an established fact of science that the larger an animal’s body, the more difficulty the animal has keeping cool. Which is why elephants have big ears and flap them about, why hummingbirds live at the equator, and why polar bears are the biggest bears there are. And polar bears, together with all sorts of animals including, toads, tortoises and tits are getting smaller.
More evidence of global warming?
And so with comprehensive evidence of our planet being terminally knacked, we are still struggling to do what needs to be done: the European Space Agency is going cap in hand to the Russians to beg for a rocket to launch their Exo-Mars probe.

Meanwhile, I wonder if any of my loyal readers could settle an argument. There is a school of thought which believes that in China it is not customary to eat anything after 4pm. There is another school of thought which believes this to be a load of old tosh…

1 comment:

  1. Partial tosh, according to a friend of mine who worked in Beijing for a year and travelled extensively. Mealtimes are earlier than here, lunch starts around 11 for example, but in the major cities the evening meal is normally taken around 6pm. However, in rural areas, they do often eat much earlier - he's not sure why but suspects a combination of patchy power and early starts in the fields...