I watched a great show last night on PBS, "The Sidewalk Astronomer". It was basically a biographical piece on John Dobson, the extraordinary amateur astronomer. He is very well known in astronomy circles. The "Dobsonian Mount" is named after him. His specialty is building very inexpensive powerful telescopes. A Dobson construction will typically include the base mount (2-axis swivel) of his name sake and a concrete construction tube known as a sonotube (perhaps 10 or 12 inches) for the body of a reflector telescope. He is known for setting up a one of these great scopes on a sidewalk in a city and inviting people to look thru it to a celestial body. What a great thing.

He has a great philosophy. I caught a great tidbit in the program last night where he said something like, "People only know the food they eat, the tree, the monkey, the grass, the cat and the dog. People only think in the extents of biology. If we could only get people thinking outside their own gonads that would be really something." Wow. John Dobson has been to Antarctica! Looking at planets and understanding them is like the experience of spending time in Antarctica. There is no biology. There is only ice and rock. In fact when I was out in the field a few times you can't help but fill in the unimaginable (life without life). You will look a scape and see colors of different rocks and think it is a shrubs or scrub... something living. Self-actualization may be just that... understanding life without life. Great stuff.

The plane is back together after its annual inspection. I didn't end up doing much work, but I was there. I was checking out the details inside and out of the plane. My instructor and mentor took the plane out for the check ride just after its reassembly as shown in the picture below as the plane just about to lift off.


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