When I was trying to find people to comment about my asteroid story on The Wireless, I put out a call on Twitter to see if there were any amateur astronomers out there. Shaun put me in touch with this chap called Warwick Kissling who is one of a few kiwis who have asteroids named after him. Warwick’s comments didn’t quite make it into my article, but — once again — I thought it was a cool little story about NZ’s space history. Continue reading →
Space rocks! Except when space rocks rock earth. Bad things happen, like dinosaurs going extinct. Luckily, unlike the dinosaurs, we humans have a sophisticated space programme. And Bruce Willis. Here’s a cool little story I wrote for The Wireless about asteroids, impacts, and Aotearoa.
The interviews with Alan, Philip, and Jess were really interesting. As I’ve been finding with a lot of my stories for The Wireless, you could almost write a book with all the information that doesn’t make it into the final cut.
Alan Gilmore — Resident Superintendent of University of Canterbury’s Mt John Observatory, based at Lake Tekapo — shared this informative and heart warming piece of personal and NZ space history when I asked him about what got him interested in tracking Near Earth Objects (NEO).
“I got interested in this work in the 1970s when at the Carter Observatory in Wellington. The Carter Observatory had an excellent new telescope with a 16-inch (40 cm) mirror. It was not doing much science. Almost no one in the southern hemisphere was measuring the positions of comets and asteroids to help calculate their orbits. So I built a device that allowed us to move the photographic plate in the telescope to follow the moving object while the telescope was guided on a background star. At first we measured the plates on a machine at the Physics & Engineering Laboratory (PEL) of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, in Gracefield, Lower Hutt. (PEL became Industrial Research Limited and is now called Callaghan Innovation New Zealand.) We were much encouraged in this work by international specialists in comet and asteroids. Soon were able to borrow from the US a machine to measure the plates on. (The ‘we’ is Pam Kilmartin and me. Pam was an amateur astronomer — as was I originally — and qualified librarian who joined the Carter Observatory as Librarian and Information Officer. We quickly made an observing team and married in 1974.)”
Lovers bought together by DIY skills and a fascination for NEOs. That is super cute.
Alan rounded out the interview saying he and Pam hope to build or buy some smaller but useful telescopes to allow them to do some follow-up work on NEOs at any time.
“I’d say how lucky I feel that we have been able to pursue our NEO programme for so long and through such remarkable changes of technology. That it has been a joint effort with a life’s partner has made all the more a delight.”
Once again my heart melts like a comet screaming toward the sun.
Quinovic said I stole a hose. It was the last straw in a two month ordeal to end lease agreement.
I unashamedly admit to being a nerd – in fact, of the names I get called on a daily basis, that one is by far the nicest. I’m also a student of politics who has no particular loyalty to any party. It’s because of these two things, Kim, that I feel an overwhelming need to grab you by those mountainous figurative shoulders and figuratively slap some literal sense in to you.
Regardless of any other motives you may have around your extradition, I have absolutely no doubt that you believe what you are doing is best for New Zealand’s internet policy. After all, a lot of the things you believe in would be wonderful for this country — for example, a competitor for the Southern Cross cable. Continue reading →
Hi, my name is Jackson.
Today I’ve been sober for one year — 365 days. Continue reading →