Stellar outbursts

There are many stars which are known to be variable and sometimes to eject matter in outbursts. This isn't just limited to astrophysical stars. The interwebs seem awash (OK, I should really get out more) with talk about the latest comments from Sir Patrick Moore (late-time giant?).

The comments are a rant about the state of TV today which Sir Patrick puts down to the number of women producers. I certainly don't agree with this conclusion which seems to link two independent trends. You may as well associate the state of TV to the decline in numbers of pirates. Orbiting Frog (YSO?) helpfully points out that three of Sir Patrick's fivesix previous producers have been women. That does rather argue against Sir Patrick's hypothesis.

Chris Lintott (YSO?) also disagrees with almost everything Patrick said too (presumably the bit he agrees with is the decline in quality of TV). Now the Bad Astronomer (a cataclysmic variable?) has decided that, in protest, he will never go on the Sky At Night (does that mean he won't even talk to Chris?). It is widely known (perhaps only amongst British people) that Sir Patrick has views like this - I have heard Sir Patrick referred to as "more right-wing than Genghis Khan". Back in 1978 Sir Patrick even described himself as "the most right-wing Englishman alive" (ref: the Science Show the other week). As long as he keeps away from talking about politics (which he has done for the overwhelming portion of the last 50 years) people generally leave him be and just listen to his comments on astronomy and the possibility of people going to Mars. It is a shame that Phil Plait has decided that the British public will not be able to see him (Phil Plait that is) because of this.

Sir Patrick's comments have now put a downer on the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Sky At Night despite the many years featuring both men and women astronomers (to me they have always just been astronomers with no need for prefixes). Orbiting Frog puts it well when he says "he’s being pig-headed and an old fogey".

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 09th May 2007 (10:51 BST) | Permalink
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