The Black Arrow

I could have been looking at the centuries old ruins of a castle.

Highdown Rocket test site, Isle of Wight.
Image Credit: Author

But the moulded concrete and rusting steel were a give away.  This was no Norman keep, this was the white heat of 60s Britain, sitting on a cliff at Highdown.

Black Arrow.

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What Telescopes were made for

It was the first thing I looked at with my scope.

The journey back home on the train nursing the large brown box had been filled with caution, fear and expectation.

The sky was beautifully clear, the darkness could not fall fast enough.

I hadn’t learnt to align or track, but hours after I had got my new toy home, with the smell of polystyrene packaging still lingering, I was in my back garden with only one thing on my mind.

This was the reason I bought a telescope.

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Destination Gliese 445

I don’t like the word ‘unremarkable’ when talking about stars.

Billions of tons of material coalescing, compressing and fusing to make huge quantities of energy is never ‘unremarkable’

But Gliese 445 is not exactly a show stopper.

It is not visible with the naked eye being a magnitude 10.78 star.

It is small, being a quarter of the size of the Sun and while our own star is a not too common G Type main sequence star, Gliese 445 is an all too common Red dwarf M type main sequence, of which ¾ of the stars in our neighbourhood belong.

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Hanging out in Regent’s Park

One hour of Radio 4 in the car while I crawl along 7 miles of the A40.

All the while in my mirrors I can see Venus and Jupiter just to the left of my daughters empty car seat.

The traffic is terrible, but this is actually quality ‘me time’.

If I look up from my wing mirror I can see Mars rising from the London orange murk.

I can hear the rattle of my telescope mount, sitting patiently in the boot.

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