Saturday, 31 March 2012


As legend has it, the Herefordshire businessman Alfred Watkins was sitting in his car one summer afternoon during a visit to Blackwardine in Herefordshire. In 1921 he happened to consult a local map and noticed that a number of prehistoric and other ancient sites in the area fell into alignments. Subsequent field and map work convinced him that this pattern was indeed a real one. Watkins came to the conclusion that he was seeing the vestigial traces of old straight tracks laid down in the Neolithic era, probably, he surmised, for traders' routes. He concluded that after modernisation in the later Bronze and Iron Age periods the tracks had fallen into disuse during the early historical period. The pattern had been accidentally preserved here and there due to the Christianisation of certain pagan sites which were markers along the old straight tracks. He published these theories in two books. 
Reaction to Watkins' book The old straight track were sharply divided. Many thought he had uncovered a long-forgotten secret within the landscape and The Straight Track Club was formed to carry out further "ley hunting", while orthodox archaeologists vehemently dismissed the whole notion. And with a few notable exceptions this situation still pertains today.
In the 1960s an ex-RAF pilot, Tony Wedd, a man with a deep interest in the UFO phenomenon made a spurious connection between "orthotenies" (alignments of UFO sightings in France, first brought to public attention by Aime Michel and discussed in his book Flying saucers and the straight line mystery) and Alfred Watkins' "leys". He made a great impression on two local lads, Philip Heselton and Jimmy Goddard who revived the Straight Track Club in the form of the Ley Hunter's Club and started a magazine called The Ley Hunter. Within ten years this rekindled interest in leys grew into a whole network of interconnecting ideas and research that came to be known as "earth mysteries".
One particular notion which has complicated much research into this area of human behaviour and made it impossible for academe to take the ley hypothesis seriously has been the idea of "energy lines". The idea that leys could be lines of terrestrial energy linking ancient sites of cosmic power derived originally from The goat-foot god, a novel by Dion Fortune written in the 1930s. These kinds of concepts linking life-energies with the suggestion of place related energies revealed in folklore gained ground in the late 1960s, no doubt fuelled by the general search for spirituality and meaning in the modern world then manifesting itself in the drug and counter-culture, art, eastern mysticism, vegetarianism and rock 'n' roll. A milestone in the publishing world was John Michell's The view over Atlantis which synthesised many of the current ideas on leys, folklore, mythology and landscape. By the 1970s self-styled dowsers or water diviners had seized the nettle and were claiming that leys could be dowsed on the ground (and on the map!) and that ancient prehistoric sites were places of power situated at node points on a great global grid of spiritual energy. Most of this belief is not grounded in fact.
In the late 1970s, Paul Devereux, then editor of The Ley Hunter, instigated the Dragon Project, a volunteer effort set up to examine whether there was any truth in the claims of dowsers and others that ancient sites were the source or repository of exotic energies so far unrecognised by orthodox science. To this end they set up home base at the Rollright stone circle in Oxfordshire and employed all manner of scientific gadgetry, photographers, dowsers, psychics and sensitives to track down the elusive "earth energy". After nearly ten years of hard work, in often unpleasant conditions the Dragon Project (which moved operations to other sites all over the UK during this period) came to the conclusion was that there were no strange energies at these places, but there were strange anomalous effects in known energies. There was certainly no hard evidence for "ley energies" and successful dowsing for such energies was elusive. 
During this period many examples of straight tracks from around the world came to the notice of ley hunters. In particular there were the Native American Indian trails in the sierra regions of California, Bolivian lines marked with later Christian shrines and churches, the dead straight tracks of the Anasazi radiating from Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, the Mayan "sacbeob"... the list continues. Watkins, it seems, had been vindicated in the face of continuing hostility from orthodox archaeology. Even in Britain, the archaeologists were discovering "terrain oblivious lines" in the layout of ancient boundaries or "reaves" on Dartmoor.
Recent research has started to reveal some of the real meaning behind ancient man's apparent obsession with linearity. Nobody knows for sure, but it seems that earlier peoples considered that straight landscape lines to facilitate the passage of spirits. Research by Paul Devereux and Nigel Pennick has revealed that a history of the straight landscape line can be seen in which it moved from being a sacred or magical thing into the secular sphere. Leys, old straight tracks and "terrain oblivious lines" or whatever you want to call them, reveal a deep mystery lodged as much in the human psyche as in the landscape. Current research is revealing more and more examples of linear trackways, roads, paths and mythological routes which are connected to the dead, spirits of the dead and spirit travel.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


A Wilderness Adventure
Awaits You !

4787 Lake Trail Road
Courtenay, British Columbia
Canada, V9N 9N2
Telephone: 1-250-338-1914
Contact us at :

The Lake Trail Guesthouse is situated minutes from downtown Courtenay in the beautiful Comox Valley
midway up the east coast of Vancouver Island
Leave the busy city and experience the wonder of our wilderness.
Step out the door and you are surrounded by forest, lake, river, stunning waterfalls and mountain views.
The hiking and cycling trails start in our backyard and provide the traveler the opportunity to explore the
true natural beauty of Vancouver Island.
The Lake Trail Guesthouse offers comfortable accommodation, where you can relax and regain energy after a busy day of activities.
You can hike, cycle, swim or play in the potholes and waterfalls, and then
take time to recharge, sitting by a campfire or lounging in a deck chair.

The Lake Trail Guesthouse has private and share rooms, full kitchen, laundry.
$60/night private double bedroom
$40/night single private
$28 shared bedroom
weekly/monthly rates

Open Year Round
Minutes to Mt. Washington.

Located 6k up Lake Trail Road from downtown Courtenay (5th Street)
Pick-up is available at the bus, train, ferry or airport with a reservation.
Reservations are recommended
Call us at : 1-250-338-1914

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Astronomy Information
Astronomy is the science of celestial objects (e.g., stars, planets, comets, and galaxies) and phenomena that originate outside the Earth’s atmosphere (e.g., auroras and cosmic background radiation). It is concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe. Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Astronomers of early civilizations performed methodical observations of the night sky, and astronomical artifacts have been found from much earlier periods. However, it required the invention of the telescope before astronomy developed into a modern science.
Since the 20th century, the field of professional astronomy has split into observational astronomy  and theoretical astrophysics. Observational astronomy is concerned with acquiring data, which involves building and maintaining instruments, as well as processing the results. Theoretical astrophysics is concerned with ascertaining the observational implications of computer or analytic models. The two fields complement each other, with theoretical astronomy seeking to explain the observational results.

Astronomical observations can be used to test fundamental theories in physics, such as general relativity. Historically, amateur astronomers have contributed to many important astronomical discoveries, and astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs can still play an active role, especially in the discovery and observation of transient phenomena.

Modern astronomy is not to be confused with astrology, the belief system that claims human affairs are correlated with the positions of celestial objects. Although the two fields share a common origin, most thinkers in both fields believe they are now distinct.

In early times, astronomy only comprised the observation and predictions of the motions of the naked-eye objects. In some locations, such as Stonehenge, early cultures assembled massive artifacts that likely had some astronomical purpose. In addition to their ceremonial uses, these observatories could be employed to determine the seasons, an important factor in knowing when to plant crops, as well as the length of the year.

As civilizations developed, most notably Babylonia, Egypt, ancient Greece, India, and China, astronomical observatories were assembled and ideas on the nature of the universe began to be explored. Early ideas on the motions of the planets were developed, and the nature of the Sun, Moon and the Earth in the universe were explored philosophically. These included speculations on the spherical nature of the Earth and Moon, and the rotation and movement of the Earth through the heavens.

A few notable astronomical discoveries were made prior to the application of the telescope. For example, the obliquity of the ecliptic was estimated as early as 1,000 B.C. by the Chinese. The Chaldeans discovered that eclipses recurred in a repeating cycle known as a saros. In the second century B.C., the size and distance of the Moon were estimated by Hipparchus. During the Middle Ages, observational astronomy was mostly stagnant in medieval Europe until the 13th century. However, observational astronomy flourished in the Persian Empire and other parts of the Islamic world. Islamic astronomers introduced many names that are now used for individual stars.

During the Renaissance, Nicolaus Copernicus proposed a heliocentric model of the Solar System. His work was defended, expanded upon, and corrected by Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler. Galileo added the innovation of using telescopes to enhance his observations.

Kepler was the first to devise a system that described correctly the details of the motion of the planets with the Sun at the center. However, Kepler did not succeed in formulating a theory behind the laws he wrote down. It was left to Newton’s invention of celestial dynamics and his law of gravitation to finally explain the motions of the planets. Newton also developed the reflecting telescope.

Further discoveries paralleled the improvements in size and quality of the telescope. More extensive star catalogues were produced by Lacaille. The astronomer William Herschel made an extensive catalog of nebulosity and clusters, and in 1781 discovered the planet Uranus, the first new planet found. The distance to a star was first announced in 1838 when the parallax of 61 Cygni was measured by Friedrich Bessel.

During the nineteenth century, attention to the three body problem by Euler, Clairaut and D’Alembert led to more accurate predictions about the motions of the Moon and planets. This work was further refined by Lagrance and Laplace, allowing the masses of the planets and moons to be estimated from their perturbations.

Significant advances in astronomy came about with the introduction of new technology, including the spectroscope and photography. Fraunhofer discovered about 600 bands in the spectrum of the Sun in 1814-15, which, in 1859, Kirchhoff ascribed to the presence of different elements. Stars were proven to be similar to Earth’s own sun, but with a wide range of temperatures, masses, and sizes.

The existence of Earth’s galaxy, the Milky Way, as a separate group of stars was only proved in the 20th century, along with the existence of “external” galaxies, and soon after, the expansion of the universe, seen in the recession of most galaxies from us. Modern astronomy has also discovered many exotic objects such as quasars, pulsars, blazars and radio galaxies, and has used these observations to develop physical theories which describe some of these objects in terms of equally exotic objects such as black holes and neutron stars. Physical cosmology made huge advances during the 20th century, with the model of the Big Bang heavily supported by the evidence provided by astronomy and physics, such as the cosmic microwave background radiation, Hubble’s law, and cosmological abundances of elements.

The Telescope:

A telescope is an instrument designed for the observation of remote objects. The term usually refers to optical telescopes, but there are telescopes for most of the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation and for other signal types.

An optical telescope is an optical tool that gathers and focuses electromagnetic radiation. Telescopes increase the apparent angular size of distant objects, as well as their apparent brightness. Telescopes work by employing one or more curved optical elements – lenses or mirrors – to gather light or other electromagnetic radiation and bring that light or radiation to a focus, where the image can be observed, photographed or studied. Optical telescopes are used for astronomy and in many non-astronomical instruments including theodolites, transits, spotting scopes, monoculars, binoculars, camera lenses and spyglasses.

Single-dish Radio telescopes are focusing radio antennae often having a parabolic shape. The dishes are sometimes constructed of a conductive wire mesh whose openings are smaller than a wavelength. Multi-element Radio telescopes are constructed from pairs or larger groups of these dishes to synthesize large “virtual” apertures that are similar in size to the separation between the telescopes: see aperture synthesis.

As of 2005, the current record array size is many times the width of the Earth, utilizing space-based Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) telescopes such as the Japanese HALCA (Highly Advanced Laboratory for Communications and Astronomy) VSOP (VLBI Space Observatory Program) satellite. Aperture synthesis is now also being applied to optical telescopes using optical interferometers (arrays of optical telescopes) and Aperture Masking Interferometry at single telescopes.

X-ray and gamma-ray telescopes have a problem because these rays go through most metals and glasses. They use ring-shaped “glancing” mirrors, made of heavy metals, that reflect the rays just a few degrees. The mirrors are usually a section of a rotated parabola. High energy particle telescopes detect a flux of particles, usually originating at an astronomical source.

The Hubble Space Telescope:
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a telescope in orbit around the Earth, named after astronomer Edwin Hubble for his discovery of galaxies outside the Milky Way and his creation of Hubble’s Law, which calculates the rate at which the universe is expanding. Its position outside the Earth’s atmosphere allows it to take sharp optical images of very faint objects, and since its launch in 1990, it has become one of the most important instruments in the history of astronomy. It has been responsible for many ground-breaking observations and has helped astronomers achieve a better understanding of many fundamental problems in astrophysics. Hubble’s Ultra Deep Field is the deepest (most sensitive) astronomical optical image ever taken.

 From its original conception in 1946 until its launch, the project to build a space telescope was beset by delays and budget problems. Immediately after its launch, it was found that the main mirror suffered from spherical aberration, severely compromising the telescope’s capabilities. However, after a servicing mission in 1993, the telescope was restored to its planned quality and became a vital research tool as well as a public relations boon for astronomy. The HST is part of NASA’s Great Observatories series, with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

The future of Hubble is currently uncertain. Its stabilizing gyroscopes need replacing, and without intervention to boost its orbit it will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere sometime after 2010. Following the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, NASA decided that a repair mission by astronauts would be unreasonably dangerous. The organization later reconsidered this position, but a final servicing mission still depends on the success of the Space Shuttle program in overcoming the design flaws which led to the Columbia disaster.

Hubble’s successor telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is due to be launched in 2013 and will be far superior to Hubble for most astronomical research programs. However, the JWST will only observe in infrared, so it will not replace Hubble’s ability to observe in the visible part of the spectrum.

The history of the Hubble Space Telescope can be traced back as far as 1946, when astronomer Lyman Spitzer wrote a paper entitled Astronomical advantages of an extra-terrestrial observatory. In it, he discussed the two main advantages that a space-based observatory would have over ground-based telescopes: First, the angular resolution (smallest separation at which objects can be clearly distinguished) would be limited only by diffraction, rather than by the turbulence in the atmosphere which causes stars to twinkle and is known to astronomers as seeing. At that time ground-based telescopes were limited to resolutions of 0.5–1.0 arcseconds, compared to a theoretical diffraction-limited resolution of about 0.1 arcsec for a telescope with a mirror 2.5 m in diameter. The second major advantage would be that a space-based telescope could observe infrared and ultraviolet light, which are strongly absorbed by the atmosphere.
The nature of the interstellar medium has received the attention of astronomers and scientists over the centuries. However, they first had to acknowledge the basic concept of “interstellar” space. The term appears to have been first used in print by Francis Bacon in 1626 where he wrote: “The Interstellar Skie.. hath .. so much Affinity with the Starre, that there is a Rotation of that, as well as of the Starre.” Later, natural philosopher Robert Boyle surmised: “The inter-stellar part of heaven, which several of the modern Epicureans would have to be empty.”

Before modern electromagnetic theory early physicists postulated that an invisible luminiferous aether existed as a medium to carry lightwaves. It was assumed that this aether extended into interstellar space, as R. H. Patterson wrote in 1862, “This efflux occasions a thrill, or vibratory motion, in the ether which fills the interstellar spaces” .

The advent of deep photographic imaging allowed Barnard to produce the first images of dark nebulae silhouetted against the background star field of the Galaxy. In 1904 Hartmann detected spectroscopic absorption lines towards a pair of binary stars that could not have come from the stars themselves. The growing evidence for interstellar material led William Henry Pickering to comment in 1912 that “While the interstellar absorbing medium may be simply the ether, yet the character of its selective absorption, as indicated by Kapteyn, is characteristic of a gas, and free gaseous molecules are certainly there, since they are probably constantly being expelled by the Sun and stars…”

The same year Victor Hess’s discovery of cosmic rays, highly energetic charged particles that rain down on the Earth from space, led others to speculate whether they also pervaded interstellar space. The following year the Norwegian explorer and physicist Kristian Birkeland wrote: ‘It seems to be a natural consequence of our points of view to assume that the whole of space is filled with electrons and flying electric ions of all kinds. We have assumed that each stellar system in evolutions throws off electric corpuscles into space. It does not seem unreasonable therefore to think that the greater part of the material masses in the universe is found, not in the solar systems or nebulae, but in “empty” space.’
In 1930, Samuel L. Thorndike notes that “.. it could scarcely have been believed that the enormous gaps between the stars are completely void. Terrestrial aurorae are not improbably excited by charged particles from the Sun emitted by the Sun. If the millions of other stars are also ejecting ions, as is undoubtedly true, no absolute vacuum can exist within the galaxy”.

Solar Systems – Planets:

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the official scientific body for astronomical nomenclature, currently defines “planet” as a celestial body that, within the Solar System:

(a) is in orbit around the Sun;
(b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape; and
c) has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit;

or within another system:

(i) is in orbit around a star or stellar remnants;
(ii) has a mass below the limiting mass for thermonuclear fusion of deuterium; and
(iii) is above the minimum mass/size requirement for planetary status in the Solar System.

As a result of this definition, the Solar System is now considered to have eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Those objects which fulfil criteria (a) & (b), but not (c) – Ceres, Pluto, and Eris – are categorized as dwarf planets. Prior to the adoption of the 2006 resolution, there was no formal scientific definition of “planet”. Without one, the Solar System had been considered to have differing numbers of planets over the years, including Pluto, Ceres and several asteroids at various stages.

Beyond the Solar System, there have been more than two hundred objects discovered orbiting other stars. However, while a formal definition for planets within the Solar System now exists, the IAU’s position on those in other systems remains only a working definition in place since 2003. The IAU has not yet taken a position on whether free-floating objects of planetary mass outside star systems count as planets, except to exclude those in young star clusters.

Most objects in orbit round the Sun lie within the same shallow plane, called the ecliptic, which is roughly parallel to the Sun’s equator. The planets lie very close to the ecliptic, while comets and kuiper belt objects often lie at significant angles to it. All of the planets, and most other objects, also orbit with the Sun’s rotation in a counter-clockwise direction as viewed from a point above the Sun’s north pole. There is a direct relationship between how far away a planet is from the Sun, and how quickly it orbits. Mercury, with the smallest orbital circumference, travels the fastest, while Neptune, being much farther from the Sun, travels more slowly.

A planet’s distance from the Sun varies in the course of its year. Its closest approach to the Sun is known as its perihelion, while its farthest point from the Sun is called its aphelion. Though planets follow nearly circular orbits, with perihelions roughly equal to their aphelions, many comets, asteroids and objects of the Kuiper belt follow highly elliptical orbits, with large differences between perihelion and aphelion.

Astronomers most often measure distances within the solar system in astronomical units, or AU. One AU is the average distance between the Earth and the Sun, or roughly 149 598 000 km (93,000,000 mi). Pluto is roughly 39 AU from the Sun, while Jupiter lies at roughly 5.2 AU.

Informally, the Solar System is sometimes divided into separate “zones”; the first zone, known as the inner Solar System, comprises the inner planets and the main asteroid belt. The outer solar system is sometimes defined as everything beyond the asteroids; however, it is also the name often given to the region beyond Neptune, with the gas giants as a separate “middle zone.”

One common misconception with regards to the Solar System is that the orbits of the major objects (planets, Pluto, and asteroids) are equidistant. Due to the vast distances involved, many representations of the Solar System tend to simplify these orbits, with equal spacing between each object. However, with certain exceptions, it can generally be stated that the farther a planet or belt is from the Sun, the greater the distance between it and the previous orbit. For example, Venus is approximately 0.33 AU farther out than Mercury, whereas Jupiter lies 1.9 AU from the farthest extent of the asteroid belt, and Neptune’s orbit is roughly 20 AU farther out than that of Uranus. Attempts have been made to determine a correlation between these distances (see Bode’s Law) but to date there is no accepted theory that explains the respective orbital distances.respective orbital distances.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory is a research facility
founded in 1960 and located south-west of Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, Canada.
The site houses three instruments – an interferometric radio telescope,
 a 26-m single-dish antenna, and a solar flux monitor –
and supports engineering laboratories.
The DRAO is operated by the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
of the National Research Council of the Canadian government.

Radio astronomy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Radio astronomy is a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies. The
initial detection of radio waves from an astronomical object was made in the 1930s, when Karl Jansky
observed radiation coming from the Milky Way. Subsequent observations have identified a number of
different sources of radio emission. These include stars and galaxies, as well as entirely new classes of
objects, such as radio galaxies, quasars, pulsars, and masers. The discovery of the cosmic microwave
background radiation, which provided compelling evidence for the Big Bang, was made through radio

Radio astronomy is conducted using large radio antennas referred to as radio telescopes, that are
either used singularly, or with multiple linked telescopes utilizing the techniques of radio
interferometry and aperture synthesis. The use of interferometry allows radio astronomy to achieve
high angular resolution, as the resolving power of an interferometer is set by the distance between its
components, rather than the size of its components.
Before Jansky observed the Milky Way in the 1930s, physicists speculated that radio waves could be
observed from astronomical sources. In the 1860s, James Clerk Maxwell's equations had shown that
electromagnetic radiation is associated with electricity and magnetism, and could exist at any
wavelength. Several attempts were made to detect radio emission from the Sun by experimenters such
as Nikola Tesla and Oliver Lodge, but those attempts were unable to detect any emission due to
technical limitations of their instruments.

Karl Jansky made the discovery of the first astronomical radio source serendipitously in the early
1930s. As an engineer with Bell Telephone Laboratories, he was investigating static that interfered
with short wave transatlantic voice transmissions. Using a large directional antenna, Jansky noticed
that his analog pen-and-paper recording system kept recording a repeating signal of unknown origin.
Since the signal peaked about every 24 hours, Jansky originally suspected the source of the
interference was the Sun crossing the view of his directional antenna. Continued analysis showed that
the source was not following the 24 hour daily cycle of the Sun exactly, but instead repeating on a
cycle of 23 hours and 56 minutes. Jansky discussed the puzzling phenomena with his friend,
astrophysicist and teacher Albert Melvin Skellett, who pointed out that the signal seemed to be typical
of an astronomical source "fixed" in relationship to the stars on the celestial sphere and rotating in
sync with sidereal time. By comparing his observations with optical astronomical maps, Jansky
eventually concluded that the radiation was coming from the Milky Way, and that it was strongest in
the direction of the center of the galaxy, in the constellation of Sagittarius. He also concluded that
since he was unable to detect radio noise from the Sun, the strange radio interference may be
generated by interstellar gas and dust in the galaxy.] He announced his discovery in 1933. Jansky
wanted to investigate the radio waves from the Milky Way in further detail, but Bell Labs re-assigned
him to another project, so he did no further work in the field of astronomy. However, his pioneering
efforts in the field of radio astronomy have been recognized by the naming of the fundamental unit of
flux density, the jansky (Jy), after him.

Grote Reber was inspired by Jansky's work, and built a parabolic radio telescope 9m in diameter in
his own backyard in 1937. He began by repeating Jansky's observations, and went on to conduct the
first sky survey in the radio frequencies. On February 27, 1942, J.S. Hey, a British Army research
officer, made the first detection of radio waves emitted by the Sun. By the early 1950s, Martin Ryle
and Antony Hewish at Cambridge University had used the Cambridge Interferometer to map the radio
sky, producing the famous 2C and 3C surveys of radio sources.

Radio astronomers use different techniques to observe objects in the radio spectrum. Instruments may
simply be pointed at an energetic radio source to analyze its emission. To “image” a region of the sky
in more detail, multiple overlapping scans can be recorded and pieced together in a mosaic image.
The type of instrument used depends on the strength of the signal and the amount of detail needed.

Observations from the Earth's surface are limited to wavelengths that can pass through the
atmosphere. At low frequencies, or long wavelengths, transmission is limited by the ionosphere, which
reflects waves with frequencies less than its characteristic plasma frequency. Water vapor interferes
with radio astronomy at higher frequencies, which has led to building radio observatories that conduct
observations at millimeter wavelengths at very high and dry sites, in order to minimize the water
vapor content in the line of sight.

Radio Telescopes
An optical image of the galaxy M87 (HST), a radio image of same galaxy using Interferometry (Very
Large Array-VLA), and an image of the center section (VLBA) using a Very Long Baseline Array
(Global VLBI) consisting of antennas in the US, Germany, Italy, Finland, Sweden and Spain. The jet
of particles is suspected to be powered by a black hole in the center of the galaxy.
Radio telescopes may need to be extremely large in order to receive signals with low signal-to-noise
ratio. Also since angular resolution is a function of the diameter of the "objective" in proportion to the
wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation being observed, radio telescopes have to be much larger
in comparison to their optical counterparts. For example a 1 meter diameter optical telescope is two
million times bigger than the wavelength of light observed giving it a resolution of roughly 0.3 arc
seconds, whereas a radio telescope "dish" many times that size may, depending on the wavelength
observed, only be able to resolve an object the size of the full moon (30 minutes of arc).

Radio Interferometry
The difficulty in achieving high resolutions with single radio telescopes led to radio interferometry,
developed by British radio astronomer Martin Ryle and Australian-born engineer, radiophysicist, and
radio astronomer Joseph Lade Pawsey and Ruby Payne-Scott in 1946. Surprisingly the first use of a
radio interferometer for an astronomical observation was carried out by Payne-Scott, Pawsey and
Lindsay McCready on 26 January 1946 using a SINGLE converted radar antenna (broadside array)
at 200 MHz near Sydney, Australia. This group used the principle of a sea-cliff interferometer in
which the antenna (formerly a WWII radar) observed the sun at sunrise with interference arising from
the direct radiation from the sun and the reflected radiation from the sea. With this baseline of almost
200 meters, the authors determined that the solar radiation during the burst phase was much smaller
than the solar disk and arose from a region associated with a large sunspot group. The Australia
group laid out the principles of aperture synthesis in their ground-breaking paper submitted in mid
1946 and published in 1947. The use of a sea-cliff interferometer had been demonstrated by numerous
groups in Australia, Iran and the UK during World War II, who had observed interference fringes (the
direct radar return radiation and the reflected signal from the sea) from incoming aircraft.

The Cambridge group of Ryle and Vonberg observed the sun at 175 MHz for the first time in mid July
1946 with a Michelson interferometer consisting of two radio antennas with spacings of some tens of
meters up to 240 meters. They showed that the radio radiation was smaller than 10 arc min in size
and also detected circular polarization in the Type I bursts. Two other groups had also detected
circular polarization at about the same time (David Martyn in Australia and Edward Appleton with J.
Stanley Hey in the UK).

Modern Radio interferometers consist of widely separated radio telescopes observing the same object
that are connected together using coaxial cable, waveguide, optical fiber, or other type of transmission
line. This not only increases the total signal collected, it can also be used in a process called Aperture
synthesis to vastly increase resolution. This technique works by superposing (interfering) the signal
waves from the different telescopes on the principle that waves that coincide with the same phase will
add to each other while two waves that have opposite phases will cancel each other out. This creates a
combined telescope that is the size of the antennas furthest apart in the array. In order to produce a
high quality image, a large number of different separations between different telescopes are required
(the projected separation between any two telescopes as seen from the radio source is called a
baseline) - as many different baselines as possible are required in order to get a good quality image.
For example the Very Large Array has 27 telescopes giving 351 independent baselines at once.

Very Long Baseline Interferometry
Beginning in the 1970s, improvements in the stability of radio telescope receivers permitted telescopes
from all over the world (and even in Earth orbit) to be combined to perform Very Long Baseline
Interferometry. Instead of physically connecting the antennas, data received at each antenna is paired
with timing information, usually from a local atomic clock, and then stored for later analysis on
magnetic tape or hard disk. At that later time, the data is correlated with data from other antennas
similarly recorded, to produce the resulting image. Using this method it is possible to synthesise an
antenna that is effectively the size of the Earth. The large distances between the telescopes enable
very high angular resolutions to be achieved, much greater in fact than in any other field of
astronomy. At the highest frequencies, synthesised beams less than 1 milliarcsecond are possible.

The pre-eminent VLBI arrays operating today are the Very Long Baseline Array (with telescopes
located across North America) and the European VLBI Network (telescopes in Europe, China, South
Africa and Puerto Rico). Each array usually operates separately, but occasional projects are observed
together producing increased sensitivity. This is referred to as Global VLBI. There is also a VLBI
network, the Long Baseline Array, operating in Australia.

Since its inception, recording data onto hard media has been the only way to bring the data recorded
at each telescope together for later correlation. However, the availability today of worldwide, high-
bandwidth optical fibre networks makes it possible to do VLBI in real time. This technique (referred
to as e-VLBI) was pioneered by the EVN (European VLBI Network) who now perform an increasing
number of scientific e-VLBI projects per year.

Canada's Largest Radio Telescope
The 46 m (150 ft) antenna at Algonquin Radio Observatory is Canada's largest antenna. Commissioned in 1965, the telescope is a fine example of a monster machine. The giant dish is fully steerable and can track with arc second precision the faintest object in the sky. Powerful motors turn the giant antenna in azimuth and elevation to point at any location in the sky. The moving part of the antenna rests 1000 tonnes on the pedestal base. 

Radio JOVE students and amateur scientists observe and analyze natural radio emissions of Jupiter, the Sun, and our galaxy.
  • Build and use your own Decametric Radio Telescope
  • Follow Live Observations Online
  • Teachers, See Our Lesson Plans and other Educational Materials

Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers
Build Your Own Itty Bitty Telescope  

The Lake Trail Guesthouse, Vancouver Island BC Canada

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Discovering My Ancestry: Great, Great Uncle " William Hope Hodgson " Writer, Poet, Free Spirit !

What really is It? Race menories, particles of enery ever being passed on where now, in this present moment of reality, I am the point of it all.
The Now Particle.

Retracing lingage, I am connected with countless similarities and parralles that reflects
my present Being/Spirit. The conduit of exchange thru generations, spontaneous intergrations
my holographic center creating a future tense.

The Nexting Now.

" No PiecesTo The Puzzle
   I Am My Own Ghost
  Time . . .
  Dreams Itself To Sleep
  I Give My Panes
  Melting mirrors . . .
  In Cauldrons of the Rainbow Machine "

    By William Dave Hodgson  3/19/2012

William Hope Hodgson

William Hope Hodgson
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Hope Hodgson (November 15, 1877 – April 1918) was an English author. He produced a large body of work, consisting of essays, short fiction, and novels, spanning several overlapping genres including horror, fantastic fiction and science fiction. Early in his writing career he dedicated effort to poetry, although few of his poems were published during his lifetime. He also attracted some notice as a photographer and achieved some renown as a bodybuilder. He died in World War I at the age of 40.

Hodgson was born in Blackmore End, Essex, the son of Samuel Hodgson, an Anglican priest, and Lissie Sarah Brown. He was the second of twelve children, three of whom died in infancy. The death of a child is a theme in several of Hodgson's works including the short stories "The Valley of Lost Children", "The Sea-Horses", and "The Searcher of the End House".

Hodgson's father was moved frequently, and served 11 different parishes in 21 years, including one in County Galway, Ireland. This setting was later featured in Hodgson's novel The House on the Borderland.

Hodgson ran away from his boarding school at the age of thirteen in an effort to become a sailor. He was caught and returned to his family, but eventually received his father's permission to be apprenticed as a cabin boy and began a four-year apprenticeship in 1891. Hodgson's father died shortly thereafter, of throat cancer, leaving the family impoverished; while William was away, the family subsisted largely on charity. After his apprenticeship ended in 1895, Hodgson began two years of study in Liverpool, and was then able to pass the tests and receive his mate's certificate; he then began several more years as a sailor.

At sea, Hodgson experienced bullying. This led him to begin a program of personal training.

The primary motivation of his body development was not health, but self-defence. His relatively short height and sensitive, almost beautiful face made him an irresistible target for bullying seamen. When they moved in to pulverize him, they would learn too late that they had come to grips with easily one of the most powerful men, pound for pound, in all England.

The theme of bullying of an apprentice by older seamen, and revenge taken, appeared frequently in his sea stories.

While away at sea, in addition to his exercises with weights and with a punching bag, Hodgson also practised his photography, taking photographs of cyclones, lightning, sharks, aurora borealis, and the maggots that infested the food given to sailors. He also built up a stamp collection, practised his marksmanship while hunting, and kept journals of his experiences at sea. In 1898 he was awarded the Royal Humane Society medal for heroism for saving another sailor who had fallen overboard in shark-infested waters.

In 1899, at the age of 22, he opened W. H. Hodgson's School of Physical Culture, in Blackburn, England, offering tailored exercise regimes for personal training. Among his customers were members of the Blackburn police force. In 1902, Hodgson himself appeared on stage with handcuffs and other restraining devices supplied by the Blackburn police department and applied the restraints to Harry Houdini, who had previously escaped from the Blackburn city jail. His behavior towards Houdini generated controversy; the escape artist had some difficulty removing his restraints, complaining that Hodgson had deliberately injured him and jammed the locks of his handcuffs.

Hodgson was not shy of publicity, and in another notable stunt, rode a bicycle down a street so steep that it had stairs, an event written up in the local paper. Despite his reputation, he eventually found that he could not earn a living running his personal training business, which was seasonal in nature, and shut it down. He began instead writing articles such as "Physical Culture versus Recreative Exercises" (published in 1903). One of these articles, "Health from Scientific Exercise," featured photographs of Hodgson himself demonstrating his exercises. The market for such articles seemed to be limited, however; so, inspired by authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, H. G. Wells, Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle, Hodgson turned his attention to fiction, publishing his first short story, "The Goddess of Death", in 1904, followed shortly by "A Tropical Horror". He also contributed to an article in The Grand Magazine, taking the "No" side in a debate on the topic "Is the Mercantile Navy Worth Joining?" In this piece, Hodgson laid out in detail his negative experiences at sea, including facts and figures about salaries. This led to a second article in The Nautical Magazine, an exposé on the subject of apprenticeships; at the time, families often were forced to pay to have boys accepted as apprentices. Hodgson began to give paid lectures, illustrated with his photography in the form of colorized slides, about his experiences at sea.

Although he wrote a number of poems, only a handful were published during his lifetime; several, such as "Madre Mia", appeared as dedications to his novels. Apparently cynical about the prospects of publishing his poetry, in 1906 he published an article in The Author magazine, suggesting that poets could earn money by writing inscriptions for tombstones. Many of his poems were published by his widow in two posthumous collections, but some 48 poems were not published until their appearance in the 2005 collection The Lost Poetry of William Hope Hodgson.

While his poetry did not see print, in 1906 the American magazine The Monthly Story Magazine published "From the Tideless Sea"", the first of Hodgson's Sargasso Sea stories. Hodgson continued to sell stories to American magazines as well as British magazines for the remainder of his career, carefully managing the rights to his work in order to maximize his remuneration. Still living with his mother in relative poverty, his first published novel, The Boats of the "Glen Carrig", appeared in 1907, to positive reviews. Hodgson also published '"The Voice in the Night" the same year, as well as "Through the Vortex of a Cyclone", a realistic story inspired by Hodgson's experiences at sea and illustrated with tinted slides made from his own photographs. Hodgson also explored the subject of ships and cyclones in his story "The Shamraken Homeward-Bounder", published in 1908. Also in 1908, Hodgson published an unusual satirical science fiction story "Date 1965: Modern Warfare", a Swiftian satire in which it is suggested that war should be carried out by men fighting in pens with knives, and the corpses carefully salvaged for food, although in letters to the editor published at the time, he expressed strong patriotic sentiments.

He published his second novel, The House on the Borderland in 1909, again to positive reviews; he also published "Out of the Storm", a short horror story about "the death-side of the sea," in which the protagonist drowning in a storm rants about the horrors of a storm at sea.
This story proved an emotional testament beyond all other evidence. Hodgson, whose literary success would be in a large measure based on the impressions he received at sea, actually hated and feared the waters with an intensity that was the passion of his life.

Also in 1909, Hodgson published another novel, The Ghost Pirates. In the foreword, he wrote

...completes what, perhaps, may be termed a trilogy; for, though very different in scope, each of the three books deals with certain conceptions that have an elemental kinship. This book, the author believes that he closes the door, so far as he is concerned, on a particular phase of constructive thought.
 Despite the critical success of his novels, Hodgson remained relatively poor. To try to bolster his income from short story sales, he began working on the first of his recurring characters: the Carnacki character, featured in several of his most famous stories and partly inspired by Algernon Blackwood's occult detective John Silence.[5] The first of these, "The Gateway of the Monster", was published in 1910 in The Idler. In 1910 Hodgson also published "The Captain of the Onion Boat", an unusual story that combines a nautical tale and a romance. He continued to publish many stories and non-fiction pieces, occasionally resorting to the use of recycled plot elements and situations, sometimes to the annoyance of his publishers.

His last novel to see publication, The Night Land, was published in 1912, although it likely had its genesis a number of years earlier. Hodgson also worked on a 10,000 word novelette version of the novel, now known as The Dream of X. He continued to branch out into related genres, publishing "Judge Barclay's Wife", a western adventure, in the United States, as well as several non-supernatural mystery stories and the science fiction story "The Derelict", and even war stories (several of the Captain Gault tales feature wartime themes).

In 1912, Hodgson married Betty Farnworth, known also as Bessie, a staff member for the women's magazine Home Notes. After a honeymoon in the south of France, they took up residence there, owing in part to the low cost of living. Hodgson began a work entitled "Captain Dang (An account of certain peculiar and somewhat memorable adventures)" and continued to publish stories in multiple genres, although financial security continued to elude him.

Hodgson returned to England. He joined the University of London's Officer's Training Corps. Refusing to have anything to do with the sea despite his experience and Third Mate's certificate, he received a commission as a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. In 1916 he was thrown from a horse and suffered a broken jaw and a head injury; he received a mandatory discharge, and returned to writing. Refusing to remain on the sidelines, Hodgson recovered sufficiently to re-enlist. His published articles and stories from the time reflect his experience in war. He was killed by an artillery shell at Ypres in April 1918; sources suggest either the 17th or 19th. He was eulogized in The Times on 2 May 1918. The American magazine Adventure, to which Hodgson had contributed fiction, also ran a obituary which reprinted a clipping from his widow, describing how Hodgson led a group of NCOs to safety under heavy fire.

Most famous works
Hodgson is most widely known for two works. The House on the Borderland is a novel of which H. P. Lovecraft wrote "but for a few touches of commonplace sentimentality [it] would be a classic of the first water". The Night Land is a much longer novel, written in an archaic style and expressing a sombre vision of a sunless far-future world. These works both contain elements of science fiction, although they also partake of horror and the occult. According to critical consensus, in these works, despite his often laboured and clumsy language, Hodgson achieves a deep power of expression, which focuses on a sense not only of terror but of the ubiquity of potential terror, of the thinness of the invisible boundary between the world of normality and an underlying, unaccountable reality for which humans are not suited.

The Ghost Pirates has less of a reputation than The House on the Borderland, but is an effective seafaring horror story of a ship attacked and ultimately dragged down to its doom by supernatural creatures. The book purports to be the spoken testimony of the sole survivor, and the style lacks the pseudo-archaism which makes The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" and The Night Land tedious reading for many.

Hodgson is also known for his short stories featuring recurring characters: the "detective of the occult" Thomas Carnacki, and the smuggler Captain Gault. The Carnacki story "The Whistling Room" has been reprinted in numerous anthologies, including collections introduced by Alfred Hitchcock. Hodgson's single most famous short story is probably "The Voice in the Night", which has been adapted for film twice. Another story regarded highly by critics is "The Shamraken Homeward-Bounder".

It is sometimes assumed that Hodgson was an influence on . But he was out of print for a number of years following his death, so Lovecraft presumably did not read his works until 1934 (unless he had access to a used copy) Рand so Lovecraft's own work almost certainly could not have been influenced by him. There may have been a roundabout influence, via the works of other authors, however. In a 2009 essay, China Mi̩ville traces the origin of "the tentacle" as an object of horror to Hodgson's The Boats of the "Glen Carrig".

Hodgson's literary estate
Hodgson's widow, Bessie, worked to keep his books in print, and to publish works he was not able to get published during his lifetime. This work included two books of poetry. After she died in 1943, Hodgson's sister  took over his literary estate.

While the first six Carnacki stories were collected during Hodgson's lifetime, "The Haunted Jarvee" appeared posthumously in 1929, and two more Carnacki stories, "The Find" and "The Hog," were not published until 1947 by August Derleth. Some critics suspected that Derleth might actually be the author of these two stories, but that theory has been discounted.

One Captain Gault story, "The Plans of the Reefing Bi-Plane," was not published until 1996, when it was included in the short story collection Terrors of the Sea.

Some of Hodgson's poems were first published in 2005, when they appeared in The Lost Poetry of William Hope Hodgson. Some may be still under copyright protection.

A number of other Hodgson works are reprinted for the first time since their original publication in the five-volume Collected Fiction of William Hope Hodgson series published by Night Shade Books.

Copyright protection has now expired on most of Hodgson's work, with the exception of some of the works published posthumously, including many of his poems.

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Rite of Spring

The Rite of Spring
Vernal equinox occurs on March 19, 2012  10:14 PST

by Ann-Marie Imbornoni and Elissa Haney

March 19, 2012, is a date that most of us recognize as symbolic of changing seasons. As we welcome spring, people south of the equator are actually gearing up for the cooler temperatures of autumn.

What Happens at the Equinox?

Far from being an arbitrary indicator of the changing seasons, March 19 (March 21 in some years) is significant for astronomical reasons. On March 19, 2012, at precisely 10:14 A.M.  PST , the Sun will cross directly over the Earth's equator. This moment is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. For the Southern Hemisphere, this is the moment of the autumnal equinox.

Equinox Means "Equal Night"

Translated literally, equinox means "equal night." Because the Sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes. A second equinox occurs each year on Sept. 22 or 23; in 2012, it will be on Sept. 22 at 10:49 A.M. EDT. This date will mark the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Southern (vernal denotes "spring").
Reasons for the Seasons
These brief but monumental moments owe their significance to the 23.4 degree tilt of the Earth's axis. Because of the tilt, we receive the Sun's rays most directly in the summer. In the winter, when we are tilted away from the Sun, the rays pass through the atmosphere at a greater slant, bringing lower temperatures. If the Earth rotated on an axis perpendicular to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun, there would be no variation in day lengths or temperatures throughout the year, and we would not have seasons.

Rituals and Traditions

Modern astronomy aside, people have recognized the vernal equinox for thousands of years. There is no shortage of rituals and traditions surrounding the coming of spring. Many early peoples celebrated for the basic reason that their food supplies would soon be restored. The date is significant in Christianity because Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. It is also probably no coincidence that early Egyptians built the Great Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising Sun on the day of the vernal equinox.

The first day of spring also marks the beginning of
Nowruz, the Persian New Year. The celebration lasts 13 days and is rooted in the 3,000-year-old tradition of Zorastrianism.

Time Lapse Movie

The Lake Trail Guesthouse,
Vancouver Island BC Canada

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Cosmology and the Big Bang

Cosmology and the Big Bang
Cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole -- what happened in its past and what will happen in the future. Cosmology is a fast-moving subject at the moment and often in the news. It has many concepts which are hard to grasp; as such, many of the questions that are sent in to us are about cosmology.
The Big Bang
One of the best know theories in cosmology is the Big Bang. This is the idea that our universe started out much hotter and denser than it is now and has been expanding since then. This theory is based on observations of our universe, among which are:
External galaxies are receding in such a way that their recessional speeds are proportional to the distance they are away from us (this is called Hubble's Law after Edwin Hubble who first noticed it). This observation is explained well by a uniform expansion of the universe. If the universe is expanding, it must have started out very small some time far in the past. It is this point which has been called the beginning of the universe or the "Big Bang."
When we observe the night sky we see an excess of radiation which is called the CMB radiation (cosmic microwave background radiation). It is a perfect black body with a temperature of 3 Kelvin. Taken with the expansion of the universe, this radiation says that the universe must have been much hotter in the past and also opaque to radiation. It turns out that the CMB radiation fits in perfectly with being from the first photons to escape after the universe became transparent. The universe became transparent for the first time when atoms first formed (in an event known inexplicably as recombination).
Large scale structure of the universe

Galaxies are not randomly scattered across the universe, but rather they are preferentially found in groups or clusters, and the groups and clusters are also seen to be arranged in superclusters. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is known to be a member of the group of galaxies that we call the Local Group. The group has two large galaxies (the Milky Way and Andromeda) as well as a host of dwarf galaxies. Clusters are just much larger versions of groups. A good analogy is that the groups are like towns, while clusters are like cities. In this analogy the superclusters are like the state (or country for those of us not from the US) that the towns and cities are in.
Superclusters are not relaxed systems - that means that they are still expanding with the universe, while groups and clusters are (in general) believed to be held together by the mutual gravity of the galaxies in them and so are no longer expanding with the universe. Superclusters form a filamentary network in space, sometimes referred to as a "cosmic web".
By studying this large scale structure in the universe astronomers can learn a lot about cosmology. The superclusters are probably the remnants of the first structure formation in our universe (which you can see above in the image of the CMB) and the way structure first formed depends a lot on the cosmology of our universe.
Cosmology in the 21st Century

As the last century came to a close and the first few years of this century passed us by, cosmologists have been beginning to feel like they are getting close to knowing what the basic parameters of the universe are. A recent talk by a cosmologist at Cornell started with the question "Is cosmology complete?" The answer, by the toss of a coin was no! The talk then went on to explain why in some sense the answer is no, and in others it is yes.
Recent observations (in particular from WMAP) have solved several long-standing problems in cosmology. Evidence strongly suggests that the Hubble Constant is around 71 km/s/Mpc (accurate to about 5 percent) and that the universe is geometrically flat, but that it is probably dominated by some weird form of energy called "dark energy." "Ordinary" matter also seems to be dominated by "dark matter," which cannot be the same as the matter (called baryonic matter) that makes up humans. Overall, it's a strange universe, but one that we are beginning to understand in greater detail than ever before!

The Lake Trail Guesthouse, Vancouver Island BC Canada

Sunday, 4 March 2012


Remote viewing (RV) is the practice of seeking impressions about a distant or unseen target using paranormal means, in particular, extra-sensory perception (ESP) or
"sensing with mind". Scientific studies have been conducted, some earlier, less sophisticated experiments produced positive results but they had invalidating flaws,[ and none
of the newer experiments had positive results when under properly controlled conditions. The scientific community rejects remote viewing due to the absence of an evidence
base, the lack of a theory which would explain remote viewing, and the lack of experimental techniques which can provide reliably positive results. It is also considered a

Typically a remote viewer is expected to give information about an object that is hidden from physical view and separated at some distance. The term was coined by
parapsychologist Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff while running the SRI team, to distinguish it from clairvoyance.

Remote viewing was popularized in the 1990s, following the declassification of documents related to the Stargate Project, a $20 million research program sponsored by the
U.S. Federal Government to determine any potential military application of psychic phenomena. The program was eventually terminated in 1995, because it had failed to
produce any useful intelligence information.

Early background
The study of psychic phenomena by major scientists started in the mid-nineteenth century; early researchers included Michael Faraday, Alfred Russel Wallace, Rufus
Osgood Mason and William Crookes. Their work predominantly involved carrying out focused experimental tests on specific individuals who were thought to be psychically
gifted. Reports of apparently successful tests were met with much skepticism from the scientific community.

Later, in the 1930s, J. B. Rhine expanded the study of paranormal performance into larger populations, by using standard experimental protocols with unselected human
subjects. But, as with the earlier studies, Rhine was reluctant to publicize this work too early, because of the fear of criticism from mainstream scientists.

This continuing skepticism, with its consequences for peer review and research funding, ensured that paranormal studies remained a fringe area of scientific exploration.
However, by the 1960s, the countercultural attitudes of the time muted some of the prior hostility. The emergence of New Age thinking and the popularity of the human
potential movement provoked a "mini-renaissance" that renewed public interest in consciousness studies and psychic phenomena, and helped to make financial support more
available for research into such topics.

In the early 1970s, Harold E. Puthoff and Russell Targ joined the Electronics and Bioengineering Laboratory at Stanford Research Institute . In addition to their mainstream
scientific research work on quantum mechanics and laser physics, they initiated several studies of the paranormal. These were supported with funding from the
Parapsychology Foundation and the newly-formed Institute of Noetic Sciences.

One of the early experiments, lauded by proponents as having improved the methodology of remote viewing testing and as raising future experimental standards, was
criticized as leaking information to the participants by inadvertently leaving clues. Some later experiments had negative results when these clues were eliminated.

US government-funded research

From World War II until the 1970s the US government occasionally funded ESP research. When the US intelligence community learned that the USSR and China were
conducting ESP research, it became receptive to the idea of having its own competing psi research program.

In 1972, Puthoff tested remote viewer Ingo Swann at SRI, and the experiment led to a visit from two employees of the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology. The
result was a $50,000 CIA-sponsored project.  As research continued, the SRI team published papers in Nature, in Proceedings of the IEEE and in the proceedings of a
symposium on consciousness for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The initial CIA-funded project was later renewed and expanded. A number of CIA officials, including John N. McMahon (then the head of the Office of Technical Service and
later the Agency's deputy director), became strong supporters of the program.

In the mid 1970s sponsorship by the CIA was terminated and picked up by the Air Force. In 1979, the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, which had been providing
some taskings to the SRI investigators, was ordered to develop its own program by the Army's chief intelligence officer, General Ed Thompson. CIA operations officers,
working from McMahon's office and other offices, also continued to provide taskings to SRI's subjects.

In 1984 viewer McMoneagle was awarded a legion of merit for determining "150 essential elements of information...producing crucial and vital intelligence unavailable from
any other source".

Unfortunately, the viewers' advice in the "Stargate project" was always so unclear and non-detailed that it was never been used in any intelligence operation. Despite this,
SRI scientists and remote viewers have claimed that a number of "natural" psychics were crucial in a number of intelligence operations. The most famous claimed results
from these years were the description of "a big crane" at a Soviet nuclear research facility by Pat Price and Joseph McMoneagle, a description of a new class of Soviet
strategic submarine by a team of three viewers including McMoneagle, and Rosemary Smith's location of a downed Soviet bomber in Africa. By the early 1980s numerous
offices throughout the intelligence community were providing taskings to SRI's psychics, but the collaboration never resulted in useful intelligence information.
Decline and termination

In the early 1990s the Military Intelligence Board, chaired by DIA chief Soyster, appointed an Army Colonel, William Johnson, to manage the remote viewing unit and
evaluate its objective usefulness. Funding dissipated in late 1994 and the program went into decline. The project was transferred out of DIA to the CIA in 1995.

In 1995, the CIA hired the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to perform a retrospective evaluation of the results generated by the Stargate project. Reviewers included
Ray Hyman and Jessica Utts. Utts maintained that there had been a statistically significant positive effect, with some subjects scoring 5%-15% above chance. Hyman argued
that Utts' conclusion that ESP had been proven to exist, "is premature, to say the least. Hyman said the findings had yet to be replicated independently, and that more
investigation would be necessary to "legitimately claim the existence of paranormal functioning." Based upon both of their studies, which recommended a higher level of
critical research and tighter controls, the CIA terminated the 20 million dollar project in 1995. Time magazine stated in 1995 three full-time psychics were still working on a
$500,000-a-year budget out of Fort Meade, Maryland, which would soon be shut down.

The AIR report concluded that no usable intelligence data was produced in the program. David Goslin, of the American Institute for Research said, "There's no documented
evidence it had any value to the intelligence community."

UK government research
In 2001–2002 the UK Government performed a study on 18 untrained subjects. The experimenters recorded the E field and H field around each viewer to see if the cerebral
activity of successful viewings caused higher-than-usual fields to be emitted from the brain. However, the experimenters did not find any evidence that the viewers had
accessed the targets in the data collection phase, the project was abandoned, and the data was never analyzed since no RV activity had happened. Some "narrow-band" E-
fields were detected during the viewings, but they were attributed to external causes. The experiment was disclosed in 2007 after a Freedom of Information request.

PEAR's Remote Perception program
Following Utts' emphasis on replication and Hyman's challenge on interlaboratory consistency in the AIR report, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab
conducted several hundred trials to see if they could replicate the SAIC and SRI experiments. They created an analytical judgment methodology to replace the human
judging process that was criticized in past experiments, and they released a report in 1996. They felt the results of the experiments were consistent with the SRI experiments.

In 2007 the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab laboratory was closed.

Scientific studies and claims

According to psychologist David Marks in experiments conducted in the 1970s at the Stanford Research Institute, the notes given to the judges contained clues as to which
order they were carried out, such as referring to yesterday's two targets, or they had the date of the session written at the top of the page. Dr. Marks concluded that these
clues were the reason for the experiment's high hit rates.

Marks has also suggested that the participants of remote viewing experiments are influenced by subjective validation, a process through which correspondences are
perceived between stimuli that are in fact associated purely randomly. Details and transcripts of the SRI remote viewing experiments themselves were found to be edited and
even unattainable.

The information from the Stargate Project remote viewing sessions was vague and included a lot of irrelevant and erroneous data, it was never useful in any intelligence
operation, and project managers changed the reports so they would fit background cues.

According to James Randi, controlled tests by several other researchers, eliminating several sources of cuing and extraneous evidence present in the original tests, produced
negative results. Students were also able to solve Puthoff and Targ's locations from the clues that had inadvertently been included in the transcripts.[

Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire and a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) has said that he agrees remote
viewing has been proven using the normal standards of science, but that the bar of evidence needs to be much higher for outlandish claims that will revolutionize the world,
and thus he remains unconvinced:
"I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven, but begs the question: do we need higher standards of evidence when we study the
paranormal? I think we do. (...) if I said that a UFO had just landed, you'd probably want a lot more evidence. Because remote viewing is such an outlandish claim that will
revolutionize [sic] the world, we need overwhelming evidence before we draw any conclusions. Right now we don't have that evidence." Richard Wiseman Daily Mail,
January 28, 2008,

Wiseman also pointed at several problems with one of the early experiments at SAIC, like information leakage. However, he indicated the importance of its process-oriented
approach and of its refining of remote viewing methodology, which meant that researchers replicating their work could avoid these problems. Wiseman later insisted there
were multiple opportunities for participants on that experiment to be influenced by inadvertent cues and that these cues can influence the results when they appear.

Psychologist Ray Hyman says that, even if the results were reproduced under specified conditions, they would still not be a conclusive demonstration of the existence of
psychic functioning. He blames this on the reliance on a negative outcome—the claims on ESP are based on the results of experiments not being explained by normal means.
He says that the experiments lack a positive theory that guides as to what to control on them and what to ignore, and that "Parapsychologists have not come close to (having
a positive theory) as yet".[30] Ray Hyman also says that the amount and quality of the experiments on RV are way too low to convince the scientific community to "abandon
its fundamental ideas about causality, time, and other principles", due to its findings still not having been replicated successfully under careful scrutiny.[31]

Science writer Martin Gardner, and others, describe the topic of remote viewing as pseudoscience. Gardner says that founding researcher Harold Puthoff was an active
Scientologist prior to his work at Stanford University, and that this influenced his research at SRI. In 1970, the Church of Scientology published a notarized letter that had
been written by Puthoff while he was conducting research on remote viewing at Stanford. The letter read, in part: "Although critics viewing the system Scientology from the
outside may form the impression that Scientology is just another of many quasi-educational quasi-religious 'schemes,' it is in fact a highly sophistical and highly technological
system more characteristic of modern corporate planning and applied technology." Among some of the ideas that Puthoff supported regarding remote viewing was the claim
in the book Occult Chemistry that two followers of Madame Blavatsky, founder of theosophy, were able to remote-view the inner structure of atoms.

Various skeptic organizations have conducted experiments for remote viewing and other alleged paranormal abilities, with no positive results under properly controlled
conditions. Some of the organizations would provide large monetary rewards to anyone who could demonstrate a supernatural power under fraud-proof and fool-proof
conditions. For the largest paranormal research institution, the James Randi Educational Foundation, out of all of the applicants who applied for the One Million Dollar
Paranormal Challenge, nobody has even passed the preliminary tests.

Recent research
Recent studies into Remote Viewing suggest positive results. Michael Persinger, Cognitive Neuroscientist and professor at Laurentian University has published increases in
remote viewing accuracy of remote viewer Ingo Swann, as measured by a group of ratings of congruence (between Swann's drawings and the locale being 'viewed') by 40
experimentally blind participants  during stimulation with complex magnetic fields using a circumcerebral (around the head) eight-channel system. In 2010, Persinger
published a report of his work with the psychic Sean Harribance, reporting that blind-rated accuracies in his psychic insights correlated with specific Quantitative
Electroencephalography profiles; specifically, congruence between activity over the left temporal lobe of those being 'read' by Mr. Harribance and his right temporal lobe.
"The results indicate even exceptional skills previously attributed to aberrant sources are variations of normal cerebral dynamics associated with intuition and may involve
small but discrete changes in proximal energy.



The Milky Way
The Milky Way is our home in the Universe on a grander scale than just our planet or solar system. Practically everything we see with the unaided eye in the night sky is a part of the Milky Way, except for a few visible extragalactic objects such as M31, the Andromeda galaxy. The Milky Way is an island of hundreds of billions of stars, gas, and dust held together by gravity to form a gigantic disk that is surrounded by a halo of globular clusters, which are smaller spherical groups of stars.
On a clear night we can see the band of the Milky Way in the sky, the fuzzy light that stretches from one horizon to the other. This band of light is made up of a vast number of stars that telescopes can pick out as individuals but our eyes cannot. This is our view of the billions of stars that make up the disk of our galaxy, from a viewpoint inside the disk, about two- thirds of the way out from the center of the galaxy to the edge of the disk. There are dark patches in the band of light, due to dark clouds of interstellar matter. Radio telescopes can see through these clouds of dust and have shown that the material in our Galaxy is distributed in a disk with spiral arms of material trailing through. Our Galaxy has a bulge of stars at the center, wherein there may lie a giant black hole at the center. The galactic center lies in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius.
The stars in the disk of the galaxy orbit around the center in a way similar to the way in which planets orbit around the Sun. The speed of each star depends on its distance from the center. The Sun moves at about 250 km/s in its orbit, and it takes 225 million years to complete one revolution around the center. Studying the way in which the stars orbit gives details of the gravitational field of the Galaxy and ultimately reveals its mass. This total mass is about 1 trillion times the mass of our Sun, which is about 10 times the mass of all the visible stars in the Milky Way put together. This mass that is unaccounted for is strong evidence that there is dark matter in our galaxy, matter that is affecting the gravitational field of the Galaxy but is not visible to us.

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