Half a world away

Last year I was very busy, although I did manage to fit in a short ...umm... break at the DPS2005 conference. In fact, I haven't really had a real holiday in a good few years. My contract finished at Christmas and I thought I would take the chance to get a better idea about the size of this here planet Earth. So, I'm off to California (only briefly), New Zealand, Australia and Japan with an 'Around the World' ticket. Why these countries? Mainly because I have relatives in them and the fact that I've never been to them. For practical purposes this means that there will be fewer posts over the next eight weeks. Having said that, I plan to visit at least one observatory and a planetarium while I'm away and I'll be reporting back on those. Plus, I will get to see the amazing southern skies and possibly a comet.

I'll be leaving from London tomorrow afternoon heading for Los Angeles. Last night I suddenly realised that I will be up in the air over North America during the launch of New Horizons - the spacecraft bound for Pluto. It is extremely unlikely that I would see the launch however as long-haul flights tend to follow Great Circles, so I shall probably be over Canada during the launch window. At an altitude of 10 km, the horizon is about 350 km away (not taking into account refraction and extinction) and even allowing for the fact that the rocket is going up, I wouldn't really stand even the slightest chance of seeing it until it was at least 800 km up (if our ground separation was 3,500 km). Plus it will be heading in the opposite direction to me. I won't see it. Shame. Rob might though, so check out his blog.

Until I next find a computer and something astronomical to write about, I leave you in the capable hands of all the excellent astronomy bloggers in the list to the right. Clear Skies.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Monday 16th Jan 2006 (19:52 UTC) | Permalink
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