Wednesday, 31 March 2010
We can't tow that away! Think the clamps will work?
Caption on Twitter: "Would the owner of the Ariane rocket parked outside please report to reception."
This was just tweeted by Newbury Astronomical Society - the Twitter account which led the twittersphere to meteor watching, which was the subject of a talk at the Royal Astronomical Society! (I made the comment that Twitter can indeed be very powerful, for example when it helped overthrow Trafigura's injunction. I might however have kept my mouth shut if I knew everything said was being written down and that I would later be approached for my name . . .)
Sadly, I barely saw any meteors either last summer or the summer before that. It was too cloudy. But in summer 2007 we did have clear nights and a dark moon, and my sister and I would take out the deck chairs and blankets and woolly hats and count as many as 18 in less than an hour. They're so fast, and so silent. I'll never forget my first ever - I was leaning out of the skylight of my attic room in Brighton before it was even quite dark, a truly magical experience! But the silver lining of all those clouds getting in the way is that, at least, the things they hide will be back next year. That's the lovely thing about astronomy. It never stops waiting.
Anyway, presumably largely as a result of all that tweeting, I'm delighted to announce that Adrian West of Newbury Astronomical Society was recently invited to the UK Space Conference, nominated for an Arthur Award (he's under "Individual Achievement"). "Didn't win, but just being nominated was an honour. It was fantastic and well worth going too," he told me on Twitter.
It was at the UK Space Conference that that beautiful rocket picture was taken. That's definitely an original and very effective form of advertising. Well, it got my attention, anyway!
On that subject, I recently heard an excellent story about a Saturn V rocket "parked" in a similar fashion near Utrecht Cathedral to demonstrate just how huge and impressive a rocket can be (they were about the same height) - and that that captured the public's imagination pretty well. I immediately wanted to write about that, of course, but Googling got me nowhere - does anyone have any links?