The city of Damascus is in the news for all the wrong reasons in 2012 as the awful bloodshed goes on in Syria. Forgive me if, for a moment, I sidestep the political and humanitarian issues and instead look at the glories that have been. For Damascus once meant luxury and craftsmanship for us, here in the west of Europe.
Posts Tagged ‘science’
This is a sudden posting, prompted merely by reading that Saturn is in opposition throughout the next few weeks, making it at its brightest to the naked eye.
So it’s a good time to recall the small telescope I owned in my childhood and to retrieve from my shelves a book called Challenge of the Stars (published by Mitchell Beazley in 1972 – although mine was a cheaper edition from Book Club Associates).
The book is by Patrick Moore and illustrated by David A Hardy, whose images deserve some plaudits, I reckon, as I now realise they are the pictures I still have in my mind’s eye when I visualise the planets of our solar system. More about Hardy later…
Those were the days when a great Planetary Grand Tour of the outer solar system was still on the cards, in a decade when the gas giants were in a conveniently close alignment and could be used as gravitational slingshots to help a probe on its way after taking close-up pictures.
Patrick Moore enthused (more…)
Recently a reader of the newspaper for which I work wrote to ask why on earth we always publish such ridiculous artist’s impressions every time there is an outbreak of a disease (the latest was Legionnaires’ disease).
I explained that we needed an illustration of some sort and couldn’t always take a photograph of a victim. The artist’s impression cost us nothing as it was in our archive already – and anyway the images were pretty and colourful.
I am reminded of this as I illustrate one of my “favourite words” – APOPTOSIS. It’s a (more…)