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M37: a rich open cluster

M37 is an open cluster in Auriga. Its a pretty rich open cluster, which means there is a higher density of stars than in most open clusters. This means this object is a bit more attractive to the eye than many open clusters.

Shugborough estate


We had a lovely time at Shugborough estate. Though I have to say it wasn’t quite up to normal national trust standards. This was not helped by us having to pay an extra £7.50 on our normal NT membership. We were already aware of this but of course it makes a disjointed place feel even more like a let down. Don’t get me wrong we had a lovely time but I expect that was as much to do with our lunch and just being out in the countryside (especially whilst being sunny). Of course we could have just got into the house and gardens for free as NT members. That’s what we would do if we returned but that’s assuming we bother keeping our membership. Not sure we are getting great value out of it at the moment.

2013 in 365 photos

As promised in my last post here is the monster… one photo a day for the whole of 2013, it feels kind of weird stopping this now (well I’ll continue on until the little many is 1 and then down to 1 per week).

2013 in 365 photos

My 2013 in 12 images

Like last year I have decided to summarise my year in 12 images, I have been completing a photo a day challenge as well and will post this separately.

1. Henry arrives

Day 6: first family shot

2. Getting big cuddles

Day 46: Daddy gets a big hug

3. Family portrait

Day 82: Family portrait time

4. Henry loves his highchair

Day 158: Superhero boy enjoys the highchair

5. Teaching Chemistry is always fun…

Day 159: Ammonium dichromate volcano

6. but Physics is better

Day 162: Radioactive Sam

7. First trip to the sea

Day 232: Henry's first trip to the sea!

8. First display in my own classroom – NQT begins

Day 238: my first classroom display...

9. Our own home.. yes we bought a place 🙂

Day 269: Entering our own home!

10. Talking about radio astronomy at the University of Cambridge

Day 290: Me speaking at the FAS Convention

11. Off for a hike…

Day 336: outdoors pushing is popular

12. Christmas time with family

Day 355: Family Christmas meal at the Hungry Horse

4 weeks of the little man

We have now had four weeks as being a family.. and they have been lots of fun – so far Henry has:

– met a cat (the cat is still confused):

Day 13: Rosie pondering Henry

– explore the snow (he did not enjoy this):

Day 19: Me, Henry and the weird snowman

– dressed like a Roman (and had a cheeky smile):

Day 26: a happy Henry

and been the centre of attention around his cousins:

Day 33: Henry with his cousins

Not a bad few weeks for all 🙂

Baby Arrival

A quick blog post to announce the birth of my first child, Henry Joseph. He was born on Saturday and both he and mother are well.

Nicely asleep

365 photo challenge

I’m going to take the on the 365 photo challenge this year. The idea is that I will document a year of my life by taking a photo a day. This is the first time I’ve tried to take this on and I hope to be successful. I’ll occasionally post here but all the photos will go up on flickr. There is, of course, and added reason that I am doing this – we have a baby on the way (expected Jan 19th). I’m planning todo a photo a day with the baby anyway so thought I’d extend it a little… hopefully some of the photos will be interesting and I won’t end up with too many self portraits or baby photos. Well here we go.. on to the first one – Elizabeth and the bump:

365 Day 1: Elizabeth and the belly

My 2012 in 12 images

Its about that time of year where I do my annual summary of what I have done… I normally go on endlessly writing random stuff. This year I thought I’d do something a little different (and hopefully a little faster for me to put together)… my year in 12 images of things I’ve done and places I’ve been:

1. The wonderful caves of Ellora, India (this is cave number 10)

Ellora cave 10

2. The serene and might Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) at sunset

GMRT Antenna at Dusk

3. Amsterdam Central Station

Amsterdam Central Train Station

4. Saracens vs the Harlequins and my first time at the new Wembley

Woop Wembley

5. Kings College, Cambridge


6. The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition and ALMA

some of the ALMA SSE team

7. Black Sabbath @ Download 2012

Black Sabbath @ Download 2012

8. Wicken Fens windpump

Wicken Fen Windpump

9. The 4C at the MRAO during one of my many public tours


10. Garden gate a Wimpole

Wimpole Garden Gate

11. St. Andrews Square in Glasgow

St Andrews in the Square

12. The baby’s room

Baby's room

Wandering around Glasgow

I recently went up to Scotland for one of my close friends stag dos. I have to say the evening were lots of fun and full of dancing and good beer but the thing I’ll take away more is the fantastic Victorian buildings of Glasgow. Apart from the general walking around to get to places I managed to get an early morning stroll in before I had to head back to Brum…

One of the places that stood out the most to me was St. Andrews in the Square:

St Andrews in the Square

There were some lovely clocktowers around the Merchant City area too:

Merchant City clock tower

Probably the thing that surprised me the most was walking back to the hostel and seeing the little Caffe Nero building:

Former railway building, St. Enoch Caffe Nero

I really have to say I had a great time in Glasgow and will have to go back for a longer and a more detailed (and probably a bit more culture) visit.