Sunday, 25 May 2008

Don't we know it!

While browsing deep sky websites I was reading Steve Waldee's excellent website and his essays. One, in particular, caught my eye - 'Astronomical Chauvinism - Alive and Well' - which is basically about how location can affect how well, or not, a particular object is seen. An observer in northern Europe might dismiss an observation of a difficult object made by an observer in California, for example, and as Steve points out, to do so is just plain wrong because the conditions in Europe are not as favourable as those in parts of the USA or Australia.
I do feel that he does rub it in slightly - albeit unintentionally - when he states that "But, would I trade the skies of Arizona and California for those of the British midlands? Certainly not." Steve, and others, are obviously in no doubt how fortunate living in those places make them and the rest of us who are not so lucky can only dream of leaving cloudy, murky, over-crowded, light polluted Britain (I'm working on it!). Steve, you could have Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Debussy (classical music does nothing for me anyway) and even Patrick Moore if we could have better observing conditions in the UK!


All being well, I'll be in Texas this time next week. I leave on Friday for Gatwick and my flight to San Antonio via Atlanta is on Saturday. I'm hoping there'll be no delays at Atlanta and - more to the point - at Gatwick. The long range forecast for the Fort Davis area is looking excellent and I really hope it holds up for the whole TSP - it's the only decent observing I'll probably get all year!
I have three more days - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - to endure at work before then and I have a feeling they'll drag.