The sun decided it didn’t want to come out to play this time round….
Despite the wishful thinking of Pete….
I think the ‘special filters’ he was referring to, were unfortunately… CLOUDS!
Instead I had a play with Andy’s new ‘toy’ – a polarising microscope and some purchased pre-prepared ‘rock’ slides, great fun!
Had a go at imaging with the iPhone hand held to the eyepiece. Below a selection of slides at none and fully polarised settings – I think I’ve got the samples in the correct order!
Passed a happy hour or two…
Thanks to Peter (Hill), Ed, Bob, Roger, Geoff, Terry, Heather and Damian, who along with myself talked to 50+ members of the public about astronomy at the science discovery day today at Rosliston Forestry Centre.
The weather remained dry although persistent cloud meant that solar observing was limited to a few precious moments in the first hour. I ought along my LOMO polarising microscope and folks were excited to look at the birefrigement colour patterns on meteor thin microscope sections and at microfossils in thin sections of fossil-containing rock. Problems with my power inverter left my laptop out of action but Ed’s battery saved the day for the microscope illuminator so that the public could continue to look through the microscope!
The picture below was taken today through the LOMO microscope using my Bresser MikrOkular camera – it shows microfossils in rock thin section. Birefringence in the crystals of minerals in the fossil-bearing rock is evident:
I thought members might like to know about a World Service programme called Stargazing. It is introduced by Dava Sobell, she of Longitude, it is a series of five half hour episodes and can be found on the World Service web site.
Best wishes Stephen
Damian, Dave Jones and myself met at the forestry centre at 7pm tonight to observe the partial eclipse visible from the UK. Although only around 3-4% eclipse, we wanted to be part of this worldwide celebration – the most widely covered and watched solar eclipse of all time!
In the event, the sky was cloudy and we did not see the sun from Rosliston. However, we were able to stream live views of the eclipse from the USA and had a great time – we must have watched 3 or 4 eclipses! A group of walkers joined myself, Damian Briden and Dave Jones outside the Forestry Centre – we were even able to view the solar eclipse in the location in the US where Pete Hill, one of our members had gone on holiday.
I include photos below.
Sometimes I find that our own planet can give me insights into the work of NASA and WAS when they send probes and landers elsewhere. This was the case yesterday when Rhys, Hannah and I walked on the beach here at Bognor Regis.
Recently, we have been told that the Curiosity rover on Mars has found evidence of water on the planet and this stimulated a discussion on how evidence of water in the past can be found on a dry planet today. Admittedly, recent evidence proves there is still water on Mars now but our discussion was around demonstrating previous water.
We noticed that the stones on the beach at Bognor Regis had a number of features:
1. They were of numerous colours suggesting different mineral contents. Assuming that rock’s in a particular area tend to be composed of similar minerals, this indicates that some process has bought together small rock’s (stones) from different areasxand only process we know of to do that on Earth is liquid flow – water although on Titan this can be methane/methane and on Pluto it is nitrogen. However, the temperature on Mars would support water flow preferentially.
2. The stones on the beach were rounded indicating a process that bashes the edges off – on Earth this is due to rolling as they are carried along by the sea and washed ashore. On Mars round blueberries demonstrate a similar process has occurred in the past.
3. The stones were separated by size depending on where they were on the beach. Location of stones indicates processes that took them the. On Mars, rounded stones are found in depressed areas consistent with previous river beds. Dry now, these previously carried water.