Theoretical aspects of astronomy

International Astronomy Show 2018 – Day One 12/10/2018: Talks & Impressions

Geoff Dryland and myself arrived early to meet Pete Hill, Ed Mann and Terry for the start of the first day of this year’s International Astronomy Show at Stoneleigh Park just south of Coventry around 4 miles beyond Warwick University. This annual show lasts two days and is located just southeast of Birmingham in the middle of the UK.

Plenty of space allows vendors to expand the area occupied by their stalls  in the display hall and to therefore display far more stuff than in some other astronomy conferences.The talks as always were great. Today we booked for all 5 speakers, thereby leaving us with limited time for looking at the vendors. I sm back here with Rhys tomorrow and he and I can then spend more time exploring the stalls.

The first talk was on creating simulations of the universe by a professor fron Nottingham. This was an unexpectedly excellent talk and even included information in free software to generate your own universe simulation on a Linux machine called Gadget – anyone can download this so let me know if you want the link. I think i am going to dowload it myself and give it a go……

The second talk was on Astrophotography. The speaker recommends Sequence Generator Pro and Straton software. He gave lots of detail on his photo processing techniques but my own lack of pre-existing knowledge of the area snd poor acoustics in the room meant most of it went over my head.

Next talk was about commercialisation and resource utilisation of space. Another really interesting and unusual topic with information that changed my perspective on the subject.

Meanwhile Ed had bought the lowest profile 2″ to 1.25″ adapter I have ever seen and Terry a Baader zoom eyepiece. Both purchases were bargains, so well done to both for spotting those!

Ed then came back with a planetarium projector of his very own…..see photo below where Terry interogates the new device…..take me to your leader!

There followed a talk on Exomars and finding life on Mars. For me this was most interesting talk of day with lots of detail on evolution of Mars over 3.8 billion years and bringing it right up to date with recent scientific papers.

The last talk of the day was another excellent discussion, this time around the solar wind.

Each talk was nearly one hour – much longer than those at Astrofest- so giving a chance to get far more under the service of a topic.

This was a great set of lectures. Definitely worth attending the conference! Only spent about 15 mins at stalls during the day and further half hour at end of day but tomorrow I am hoping to take more time to look at those with my son.

Photos below from talks and a couple vendors.

More photos from the vendors today can be seen st:

International Astronomy Show 2018 Day One – 12/10/2018: Photos of vendor displays

Rhys and I attended day two and photos and thoughts from that visit can be seen here:

International Astronomy Show 2018 – Day Two 13/10/2018

See also video from day two of the show at:

Video from International Astronomy Show 2018 (12-13 October 2018)



Why it was worth sending a rover to Gale Crater on Mars – lesson from the Amalfi Coast in Italy

This photos shows erosion in action on this island – like tje central peak in the martian Gale Crater, layers of rock are visible – the lower ones must have been laid down before the higher ones allowing a rover to sample different geological ages as it climbs the central mountain of the crater.


Island showing layering in rock similar to central mointain in the martian Gale Crater:

Wormholes and multi-dimensional universes

For those of you interested in this sort of thing, here is a puzzle.

I retired fully a couple of weeks ago, and the physicists in my old department gave me a klein bottle.


It is a sort of 3-dimensional Mobius strip (

It only has one surface, and therefore has no volume (and I have a certificate to prove it!)

You can get water into the bottle.

Given it has no volume, where is the water? In another dimension? Has it gone through a worm-hole?!!

I will bring it along to the next meeting, (as long as it hasn’t disappeared into another dimension!)