one day at a time…
Saturday, 18 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Two Turners Portraying Lakeland
CREDITS: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk MAP: Elterwater
Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Grasmere © Peter TurnerAutumn, or Fall if you prefer, is in full swing in our old homeland of the English Lake District. Today as we flicked through the local CAM web sites there were some appealing and reminiscent shots. The ice is beginning to form on the smaller tarns, and the morning fields are rimed with white.

Peter Turner visited Elterwater on a trip north from his Macclesfield base. The tree outside the Britannia at Elterwater nearly always makes an excellent photographic subject: it's rather difficult to do badly unless there are intrusively parked vehicles. Another of Peter's excellent 'walkabout' tours… then we saw the featured picture. We could write several hundred appreciative words about it… but we will just quietly withdraw to allow you to gaze in wonderment on another fine Turner lake scene.

On This Day In 2002: No Faking When Dennis Met IRIS - Fri, 18 Oct 2002
CREDITS: © Anglo-Australian Observatory, Epping, New South Wales
MAP: Sydney, NSW. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image on source web site.

Dennis & IRIS2 © Anglo Australian ObservatoryWhen there is no entry available from our archives to prepare this feature, we input the date in our preferred format into Google and take pot luck.

Given our own Google settings, and the bizarre American way of formatting dates, this method does produce a high percentage of hits from Australia. Today was no exception: we had to miss out the 'dayname' to get a suitable return, but eventually the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Epping, a suburb of northwest Sydney, New South Wales hove into view on our monitors. This facility introduces itself like this, "The AAO operates the Anglo-Australian and UK Schmidt telescopes on behalf of the astronomical communities of Australia and the UK. To this end the Observatory is funded equally by the Australian and British Governments. Its function is to provide world-class observing facilities for British and Australian optical astronomers. We wish more web sites gave such a clear statement of purpose.

There is a gateway page leading to thumbnails of images recorded at the Epping observatory, which are also available at a reasonable size. The observatory web site also offers much larger pictures, for sale, and an annual calendar. The observatory is also equipped with an IRIS (Infrared Imager & Spectrograph), which is seen in our picture, and judging from the picture file title [Dennis_IRIS2_medium.jpg] we think perhaps it is operated by someone called Dennis.

Proving that academics love attaching long names to things, the Institute of Astronomy is part of the Faculty of Physics and Chemistry within the School of the Physical Sciences of the University of Cambridge in the UK. Fortunately their web address ast.cam.ac.uk is elegantly brief and to the point.

There the very latest development for the Anglo-Australian Telescope is the construction of AAOmega. This will be the next generation optical spectrograph for the AAT. The instrument will be a multi-purpose fibre fed spectrograph with two main observing modes: multiple-object spectroscopy using the existing 2dF top end; integral field spectroscopy at Cassegrain focus; spectropolarimetry may be available at Auxiliary Cass (yet to be determined).

AAOmega will provide higher spectral resolving power, throughput, and stability than the existing 2dF, RGO, and SPIRAL spectrographs and is intended to replace all three. AAOmega is currently in the Final Design phase, with commissioning currently scheduled for Semester 2005B.

On the mechanical team is one J. Dennis Whittard. Could it be?

When first we looked at the thumbnail in Google, we thought Dennis was some crazed laboratory technician driving an upscale scientific ATV, but when we tracked down the larger image on the source web site we realized that those were gimbals not wheels; that was the IRIS instrument not a steering column; and what we first thought was a steering wheel, looks like it might be part of the tracking mechanism, receiving maintenance attention from Dennis. Whatever the facts, we thought it was a very appealing picture. We feel sure that IRIS will not offer Dennis anything but valid scientific data, never faking anything just to gain attention.

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)