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JohnD
2011-May-03, 04:23 PM
This play was on UK BBC Radio 4 yesterday;
"Star Struck by Katharine Way
Sarah has got the job of her dreams. Working with Cal, an Astronomy Professor at a remote observatory in New Zealand, watching the destruction of a planet by a black hole. But then the Professor registers a message from the dying planet. Can it really be genuine?"

Only two parts in the piece. They arrive at the isolated telescope, which has been financed by two universities. There is no one there, but they are not surprised, this is normal.
The female then says that she is tired and jet-lagged and has found a bedroom that is north-facing, "so the sun won't get in."

I didn't bother to listen any more.
Massive telescope that needed two Unis to buy, and is only used casually?
And an astronomer who expect a north facing room in the Southern Hemisphere to have less sunlight than others?
Clearly the author did no research, so the rest of the plot will be as nonsensical.

John

Amber Robot
2011-May-03, 04:36 PM
Well, the first part may mean that it's a very old telescope and thus currently undersubscribed. The second is yes, just a stupid mistake. Although I think most people don't really understand the movement of the sun in the sky. Very often I see television shows that in an attempt to show a sunrise simply film a sunset and run it backwards, not realizing that the sun's horizontal motion is different between sunrise and sunset. They need to flip it horizontally as well as run backwards, or they're just implying the scene is in the opposite hemisphere from which they intend.

AGN Fuel
2011-May-04, 03:05 AM
I'd certainly be eager to apply for time on a terrestrial scope that can "watch" the destruction of a planet by a black hole and also receive a message from said planet. Hard to believe that such a versatile observatory would be so under-utilised! :razz:

Rolsch
2011-May-04, 06:42 AM
And an astronomer who expect a north facing room in the Southern Hemisphere to have less sunlight than others?

Maybe if you kept listening, it all would have been explained when the pole shift was mentioned. Could even work for the telescope, it is no longer capable of pointing at the things they wanted to study, due to the pole shift.


Clearly the author did no research, so the rest of the plot will be as nonsensical.

Could all be explained by the very sensible and plausible idea of a pole shift.



John[/QUOTE]

Tog
2011-May-04, 06:56 AM
How are you defining "pole shift" in a way that allows the sun to shine from the south in New Zealand and is "sensible and plausible". The two seem somewhat at odds to me.

Rolsch
2011-May-04, 07:13 AM
How are you defining "pole shift" in a way that allows the sun to shine from the south in New Zealand and is "sensible and plausible". The two seem somewhat at odds to me.

Sheesh, I have to explain everything here? New Zealand would be in the north. Very plausible. In fact, it happened yesterday, but you didn't notice because it shifted back before you had a chance to look at the window.

Jamotron
2011-May-04, 11:06 AM
Northern Hemisphere chauvinism strikes again! Try living here (maybe you do) and then see how much this rubbish gets to you.

Tog
2011-May-04, 12:14 PM
Sheesh, I have to explain everything here? New Zealand would be in the north. Very plausible. In fact, it happened yesterday, but you didn't notice because it shifted back before you had a chance to look at the window.

Oh.
Right.
Silly me.

Welcome to the board. You're new, so maybe you're kidding around and it slipped past my detector. If not, even a half day flip would be hard to miss. It wouldn't even take any math to explain why.

JohnD
2011-May-04, 10:02 PM
Pole shift?
North goes south and vice versa?
How would that change the direction of rotation of the Earth?
If it did, it would blow the planet apart.

Yes, the inattention to physics and astronomoy, or the happenstance of an underutilised uni resource could have been for dramatic effect, but to do so in a story about a black hole seems a bit unnecessary.

John

astromark
2011-May-06, 11:03 AM
@John... Me thinks them's is jesting just a tad.... I saw some pigeons flying in circles... this explains it... Yaa right:razz:

I see the heading has nonsense as part of it...

Middenrat
2011-May-07, 04:22 AM
The Beeb's been putting out quite a lot of Sci-Fi drama lately on the radio, it may be part of a broadcasting 'season', I'm not sure... they may be just padding out the Digital stations with tempting schedules to swell Digital uptake - and that's a Policy.
I've sampled some of it (the Sci-Fi) and it's pretty execrable. Maybe it will inspire some future, much more talented writers to try their hand, on the understanding that the BBC will provide an income for any old rope :(

Jeff Root
2011-May-07, 10:23 PM
That the writer apparently goofed and thought the Sun wouldn't
come in a north-facing window I thought was kinda funny, but
what shocked me is that you stopped listening at that point.
I was expecting to get further, possibly more interesting details.

The Sun just started coming in my north-facing windows a few
days ago.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

slang
2011-May-08, 12:28 AM
Only two parts in the piece. They arrive at the isolated telescope, which has been financed by two universities. There is no one there, but they are not surprised, this is normal. [...]

Massive telescope that needed two Unis to buy, and is only used casually?

I'm not sure where how you concluded that it was only used casually. Telescopes, even big and expensive ones, can be operated remotely. But why do the two visit the telescope then? To actually work there, or to investigate how that weird message might have popped in? Or maybe they were really, really small universities. University of Grand Fenwick perhaps.

OOooh... you can listen to it here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b010t5wt)! Two days left!

ETA: made it all through 7 minutes of it.. I guess I'm not one of those who enjoy radio plays.

Jeff Root
2011-May-08, 06:44 AM
I've listened to the first couple of minutes. Several small
errors in the beginning about star-stuff. But what stood out
for me was the sound of the door closing. I'm sure it was
supposed to be the exterior door of the observatory, but it
was clearly the sound of an interior door.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Tog
2011-May-08, 09:39 AM
I listened to the whole program. It wasn't really about the black hole or the other planet.

The two characters were the young, female assistant, and the older, male professor.
She had had a breakdown a few years before, and he seemed to be trying to give her another one. As the show went on, only he can interpret the signal they received. She can't see it. He convinces her that the aliens are in direct telepathic communication with her and that her first breakdown was them trying to reach her. She needs to have a second one in order to make contact. (Sounds familiar, but no mention of Starburst Fruit Chews.)

If the sun shining in the northern window was enough to put you off, then getting out when you did was a wise choice. It was a radio telescope. They still needed night time and clear skies, though. At one point a storm blows in and she explains that you can't use a radio telescope in a high wind.

They also get visual images from the radio telescope. He points to an image where there should be a flash of light.

The observatory is a place of interest for helicopter tours.

In the end, you're supposed to be left wondering which one of them, if either, was really sane. There's not really a way to tell how much really happened, and how much was in her mind only.

MAPNUT
2011-May-13, 12:31 PM
Maybe the only other bedroom available faced east, so in the north-facing bedroom you could at least sleep until 9. Actually in midsummer, in the far south of New Zealand, the sun would shine into a south-facing window very early and hardly at all into a north-facing window. About the planet and black hole, though . . .

JohnD
2011-May-22, 09:34 PM
Thanks, Tog, action above and beyond..........
Made me glad I didn't bother.

BUT, isn't there a film, "The Dish" about the Parkes radio telescope, where bad weather in the form of high winds nearly make it impossible for then to receive "One small step for Man.......", when thye were the only dish available? The dish was not safe at the correct angle to pont at the Moon in the threatened wind force and could have blown down. So maybe that bit WAS correct?

JOhn

AGN Fuel
2011-Jun-01, 03:41 AM
That is actually factual. There were near gale-force winds blowing in the Parkes area at the time of the Apollo 11 EVA. Despite operating well outside of tolerances, the Parkes team did receive signals for nearly the whole A11 EVA.

Armstrong's "One small step for man..." was actually received through Honeysuckle Creek, near Canberra. They switched to PKS (and the much better TV signal) about 6 minutes later.