Archive | June 2008

Download Festival 2008

I know it was almost two weeks ago now but I’ve finally gotten around to having some time to write up on here what I thought of the [Download festival]. It was indeed my first time at this festival and I have to say I was very impressed. It was also the first festival that I have been to that we drop to and from every day. Donnington isn’t too far from Birmingham so its easily feasible and is the first thing I was very shocked about. I was expecting since we were driving each day to have to wait in long traffic queues. Nope, it appears that the place was very well organised and the longest we had to wait was 10 minutes when we left on the second night, now that’s not bad! Anyway onto the music…
– seeing Kiss, they were great showmen
– a certain song by Motorhead, this time I was not waiting for the young lady to come of the loo!
– HIM, they were excellent but I have to say I was really shocked by the numbers of people watching them, I guess they were all off watching the Offspring…
– The Offspring, we saw half of their set and wow they were great, shame they didn’t really do much of an encore but then again we were expecting an half an hour extra gig off them after Kiss…
– The rock (and peg) game, see below for pictures – essentially a game of deception when you end up with about a ton of rocks in your bag.. well Alice did!
– Simple Plan, we caught about half of their set and they were great!
– The storm troopers that got me and Sean…
– Ash, solid set!
– Clean toilets… actually coming home to have a shower every night was very nice!
– Free Muller rice, “eat it cold, eat it hot, eat it free”… we had a lot of these.
– The crazy guys on bikes, wicked show (yep the guy is upside down in a ball in the second pic, at one point they had 3 guys in there!)!
– Lostprophets… great set, but I just don’t think they are a headline act…
– Airbourne, great set… really got the crowd going!
– oh and meeting 001… we got a pic with Sean… I missed out 😦
– seeing Kiss, they really disappointed me by not playing a certain song… they also went on a bit!
– the price of the food.. but what do you expect
– Incubus, they were good but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
– Kid Rock not turning up… oh wait I didn’t care this is was a highlight! 😀
– having to put up with Sean the whole darn weekend!
– how cold it was on the first day… having to buy a new jumper.. not that I really minded!
– the fact that Lethal Bizzle was there… we walked past to have a game in the EA hub and he was on, there were lots of people there. I think a lot were booing but a number (more than the people who saw HIM) were jumping up and down… argh! If your band don’t play their own instruments then get off the stage.
Saying all that, overall it was a great festival and it was a lot more spread out and relaxed than Reading… I think I will be going back to Download.. especially if they keep the quality of the bands like there was this year!

A trip to Jodrell Bank…

Last week Astrosoc finally went on a trip to Jodrell bank… we have only been talking about doing this for 7 years! biggrin.gif Well I personally can say I had a great time, not that I haven’t seen the Lovell telescope many times now…
Its a wonderful sight:
but I’m sure we didn’t show the true respect… biggrin.gif
and a nice and geeky space theatre group pic…

A Fire Rainbow

I came across this really lovely image on APOD yesterday of an inverted rainbow! Take a look at [apod] for the picture and nice description of how this is formed.

Interview for AstrotalkUK

Last week I was interviewed for [AstrotalkUK]. – a UK based podcast for amateur astronomers. I was talking about the Federation of Astronomical Societies and the resources that we have available to the wider amateur community. So if you want to listen to it go to [] and look at episode 19 (I’m the last speaker on) or go to the direct link [here].
I should really clarify a few things that I said in the interview: The FAS convention this year takes place at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge on 20th September ; the actual costs to become a member society can be found on the [federation of astronomical societies webpages].
I also mentioned my work for looking for radio emission from extrasolar planets, more on this can be found at []

Women in Science…

L’Oreal are running a vote to find out who people feel is the most inspiration female scientist. There is some stiff competition and I’m not sure I can decide… take a look at [] to vote.

Magnetic fields… are all around you.

I’m not sure who made this movie (according to some forums its “NASA scientistisT) but its quite cool. It does look a bit like too much CGI and some long exposure photos of light sources being moved around but still its quite cool and does show off some physics (which is never a bad thing…)
mag fields
Take a look at the movie

Low mass planet “detected”

There are suggestions that a 3-Earth-mass planet (given the designation MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb) has been discovered orbiting a brown dwarf “star” (the ultra-cool star has a mass just 6 percent of the Sun). I’m not so convinced.. but if you want to learn more take a read of [].

The Phoenix landing…

WOW! This has to make it into my 50 most powerful images in astronomy. Yep that is the Phoenix mars lander on its decent to the red planet…
Credit: MRO-HiRISE, NASA, JPL, Univ. Arizona
A much more thorough report can be found at [apod]