Monday, 23 January 2012

Macro on Monday - Guess What

Once again last week's puzzle photo was a resounding success with congratulations and   gold star  going to John, Anon, Wilma, Adrian and Glo for identifying the ice crystals formed during an early morning frost on my garden.

Morning Frost   Morning Frost

On to this week's puzzle picture of a shocking find at the edge of a local field.
Guess What:
IMG_0119 copy

Just for fun. No prizes.

The effects of the CME mentioned on Saturday were later than forecast and not as extensive as had been hoped for. I understand the Aurora could be seen over the north of the American continent last night and the effect was strong enough to compress the Earth's magnetic field for a while.

This morning Sunspot 1402 erupted producing a long duration M9-class Solar flare (the most powerful kind). It is expected to give a strong glancing blow to the Earth's magnetic field on Jan 24/25.

Further information HERE on the SpaceWeather site.

I have never seen an Aurora but live in hopes, especially as we approach the peak of the 11yr cycle of Sunspot activity. One thing I have managed in the past when I was an active amateur radio enthusiast was to bounce radio signals off the charged particles during an aurora. It does strange things to radio signals and the person you are talking to sounds like they have a severe case of laryngitis as only the breathy part of the sound is left and all tone is missing.  To contact someone to my East, say Holland or Germany, we both have to point our aerials towards the North to use the Aurora but if we try to communicate directly the chances are the signals that way are too weak to be detected.

My aerial setup as it was then:
Main mast bottom to top; 6m beam, 2m beam, 70cm beam and 2 times 23cm beams.
Small mast: 4m beam.
Occasionally I used to put up a set of aerials for working through amateur satellites. Great fun trying to keep a beam pointing at a satellite as it dashes across the sky above and working a transmitter at the same time.

Boby is active and eating well now we seem to have his medication sorted out. The main battle is getting all the pills down him though his usual liking for jam tarts helps as the tablets hide nicely in the jam!  Another is keeping up with him when we set out for a walk.


  1. John, it's an electric fence or the plastic supports for one.
    The wonders of shortwave. I remember the rigmarole of contacting Portishead then getting a landline. I forget now whether we halved the frequency at night or doubled it. Dawn and dusk I avoided. something to do with skipping radio waves from the ozone layer. Whatever, without sunspot activity it was a nightmare with it beyond me.
    I'm glad Bobby is dragging you around again.

  2. Adrian: All those daily and seasonal changes to radio propagation which are a nuisance to commercial users are a boon to amateurs as they enable longer distance communication than normal. It was great fun to be able to work stations in USA and South Africa in the Summer sporadic E conditions. It depended how high up the charged layers were (changing with the effects of the Sun) as to how far the skip would take signals.

    1. Thank the lord and America for satellites. Some folk had the feel for it. I never did. When I first started it was Morse. A nightmare to me but not to the buggers at Portishead. They could tap away like folk with St Vitus in their fingers. I got through the exams but was crap at it.
      Even VHF can skip...... Satellites are better.
      Do folk still use short wave?

      This is a thread...A new feature I think should be encouraged.

  3. Great news about Bobby.
    My guess is the same as Adrians; an electric fence.

  4. No idea whatsoever visually but I'm guessing from the clue there is something electric involved, maybe part of a pylon.

    So glad Bobby is better than he was. Getting pills down them can be a nightmare. Have you tried hiding them in a piece of butter? It might be better for his teeth than jam ;-) and has worked for our dogs in the past.

  5. an electric fence post (blue thing) with white electric wires and and reddish rope looped around it.

    Tommy in Fair Ilse got some nice shots of the aurora.

    glad Bobby is doing well.

  6. A striped bird (like a woodpecker) on an electric fence.

    Me from Minnesota

  7. It sounds as if Bobby has found a good excuse to get you to give him extra jam tarts! jammy devil! great that he's on the mend.

  8. Too true Matron. Lemon curd is his favourite at the moment, lovely and sticky, holds tablets a treat.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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