I've been meaning to write something for weeks but somehow I never quite seem to get around to it.
Never say never. That old chestnut. Two in the bush gathers no broth.
It was my birthday recently and my wife and parents clubbed together and bought me something I'd often talked about before (if somewhat whimsically): a telescope.
After an evening of setting it up indoors, figuring out how all the bits, and performing some initial calibration of the sighting scope, the skies proceeded to be full of cloud for several nights afterwards.
The first night of clear skies happened to tie in very nicely with what was apparently the perfect night for viewing Jupiter. I got myself warmly attired, put some wellies on, and went out into the garden with my telescope (and a bottle of scotch). After some more time getting used to the equipment and better calibrating the sighting scope now that I was looking at celestial bodies rather than neighbour's aerials, I finally got sight of Jupiter! At first, I was just finding my way with a low magnification but once I'd got the hang of it, I stuck my best lens in and was utterly blown away by what I saw.
It's not that I'm anywhere near tinfoil-hatted scepticism but actually seeing an object in the sky - that to the naked eye is a mere white dot - so much closer with equipment that I could naively understand felt like I was properly confirming to myself that what I'd been taught was true.
I could see the colours and some shapes on the planet itself and after some steadying and patience, I realised I could also see all of the moons :)
A great experience and I think I'll head out to a meeting of my local astronomical society one of these days.
Snakes on a screen
In other news, I have been really enjoying getting stuck into Python again recently. I have a couple of smallish projects I'm working on when I get chance which I'll unveil at some point.
Take a sad song
This evening I had my first ever* Judo lesson and thoroughly enjoyed it.
* OK, technically my second; I had a taster lesson when I was at high school nearly 20 years ago.