Failure, ignorance and nepotism

Dido Harding: In part wasted £23 billion of our money on a failed track and trace system. Paid consultants £7000 an hour, none of them seemed to have told her about school level science about viruses mutating or the 2nd wave. Was surprised when more testing would be needed in September, when the schools were forced to open. "None of us were able to predict a new variant would occur....

Tuesday, 9 February 2021 · 3 min · Paul Smith

Acid rain, the ozone layer, the ultimate proof global warming is wrong

...According to Dave from Portsmouth. From BBC News' Have your say. Well known not to bring out the brightest of people. Dave writes: We had acid rain in the 80's. That was quickly followed by the o-zone layer. Why are these two things never mentioned today? Climate change is a mere excuse to tax us to death. Dave, referring to past environmental "scares" attempts to paint global warming with the same brush, well at least his mental version of this brush, thinking they were merely fads which just went out of fashion....

Thursday, 10 December 2009 · 2 min · Paul Smith

What was that bright star next to the Moon?

Last night some of you may have seen a bright star close to the Moon, well it wasn't a star it was the planet Jupiter. It's been hanging out towards the south in the evenings for the summer if you hadn't already spotted it. The star to the lower-left of Jupiter is Iota Capricorni. But if you look closely you can see two other "stars" either side of Jupiter. They're not actually stars but two of Jupiter's moons....

Wednesday, 30 September 2009 · 1 min · Paul Smith

Saturn like you've never seen it before

Who turned out the lights on Saturn's rings? Well nobody, recently Saturn entered its equinox, meaning the Sun is directly above the equator. As the rings are in the same plane as the equator, they receieve much less light showing only an edge on profile towards the Sun. This happens every 14.8 years as it travels around the Sun but this is the first time we've had a spacecraft in orbit to capture it....

Tuesday, 22 September 2009 · 1 min · Paul Smith

Astronomers DO NOT say binoculars help with viewing the Perseids

The BBC was trying to do an article covering the Perseid meteor shower. Well they did a largely fair job on it, well almost. No special equipment is required to watch the shower, which occurs when Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. Yeah that's fine. The meteors appear to come from a point called a "radiant" in the constellation of Perseus - hence the name Perseid....

Wednesday, 12 August 2009 · 2 min · Paul Smith

Clearest image of Betelgeuse yet

Astronomers have a fairly good rule of thumb for identifying planets and stars. We say planets appear as a disc, while stars always appear as a point of light. While being good generally, there are a few exceptions, obviously we can see the Sun has a disc as its so close to us compared to other stars. And assuming you have a large telescope, something like the Very Large Telescope in Chile, you can resolve about a dozen other stars as discs, R Doradus is one of the larger ones and so is Betelgeuse, the bright star in Orion's shoulder....

Thursday, 6 August 2009 · 2 min · Paul Smith

Apollo landing sites imaged

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter which entered lunar orbit a few weeks ago, has imaged five out of the six Apollo landing sites. Which was a tad earlier than I was expecting. They were taken when the Sun was low in the sky so the decent stage of the lunar module would cast a long shadow to make them easier to spot. Anyway check this out: When it enters its lower mapping orbit, the images will get even better with two or three times the resolution....

Friday, 17 July 2009 · 1 min · Paul Smith

Helen Sharman was the first British astronaut

Congratulations Timothy Peake on being Britain's first ESA astronaut. But several media outlets as per usual have got things slightly wrong, so let's gets the correction out there. The Daily Telegraph for example says "Meet the first astronaut to fly to space under the British flag". Errr not quite. I know what they're trying to distinguish between, the several British-born astronauts who have all been US citizens, and an actual British citizen, but it seems they're forgetting Helen Sharman, who is a British citizen, and flew under the British flag....

Thursday, 21 May 2009 · 2 min · Paul Smith

Science, evolution and god - a reply to a reader

Somebody recently commented on my entry describing why the Earth isn't 6000 years old.  I wrote an e-mail reply to them but it seems like they didn't provide the correct e-mail address when they posted the comment.  So instead I'll be posting my reply to them here, in the off chance that they read it. Hello (hidden e-mail address), thank you for your comment on my blog. Unfortunately I can't see much, if any connection between science and the word of god....

Monday, 20 April 2009 · 6 min · Paul Smith

International Year of Astronomy

The IAU designated 2009 the year of astronomy. So this year I'll be trying to post more astronomy related goodness. With tools like the WorldWide Telescope the astronomical community can really try and spark people's curiosity about the universe around them. And hell maybe we could try and make a dent against the seemingly unstoppable encroachment of light pollution while we're at it, the skies should be for everyone to enjoy, regardless of if you live in a remote village in India or central London....

Thursday, 1 January 2009 · 1 min · Paul Smith