Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

  • Mood:

I can see Uranus

Yesterday night addedentry's more famous brother, Dr. Robert Massey, invited us up the Greenwich Observatory for a last chance to look at Mars while it's this close to Earth.

I'd never been inside the Observatory before, and I was struck by how strongly it resembled the one in my all-time favourite Tintin adventure, The Shooting Star (which only proves how meticulous and accurate Hergé's drawings were). The dome splits open along its meridian (I got to push the buttons which rotate it left and right!) to allow the 28-inch telescope, four times a man's height, access to the sky.

It was a cloudy evening, and we had to wait a couple of hours before Mars would be positioned so the telescope could get a fix on it. So Robert found us some alternative eye candy including two binary stars, a ring nebula and Uranus (which is blue).

In between being shown things we went out onto the balcony to look down at the Millennium Dome, Canary Wharf, and a big pale fox in the Park who looked back up at us before trotting away, waggling his brush behind him.

At last Mars deigned to position itself at twelve o'clock high, or wherever, and we got a couple of minutes' look-see each before it shoved off again. Far bigger and brighter than anything else we'd looked at, orangey-red with distinct areas of light and dark and a white spot at the top which is the ice cap. The size and level of detail were similar to looking at the moon with the naked eye. Totally, utterly strange and awesome.

No, I did not spend the entire evening making silly and juvenile gags on the evergreen theme of 'Uranus' sounding vaguely like 'your botty'. I thought I'd save 'em all for here.

  • You Need A Cup Of My Famous Java

    The Cinema Museum in south London has been up and running for a while, but Wednesday night was my first visit - thanks to a screening in their…

  • Light

    I was greatly cheered on Friday night by Nine Lessons and Carols for Curious People, a timely reminder that there are plenty of good, clever, caring…

  • Thought for the Day

    If your bra can't double as military headgear for a couple of favourite plushies, you're doing it wrong. ("This would be the support unit, I take…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.