Archive for the ‘ Stuart Atkinson ’ Category

Sagan Day Celebrations – Day IV

A Beacon In The Cosmic Ocean – By Nick Previsich

It took a moment for my eyes to adjust. Slowly, though, the sky above began to appear granular. After a few more minutes I saw brighter lights and many, many lesser ones…and they kept coming. The longer I looked, the more became apparent. Gradually, I realized that the stripe of cloud running north to south was in fact the Milky Way…and I was jarred by a sense of three-dimensionality about what I was seeing.

There it was: the Galaxy. Read Full Essay

Looking Out to Sea – By Stuart Atkinson

My companion smiled knowingly. “You had an epiphany, my friend,” he said, “all astronomers have one, either as a child or later in life, a moment when the wonders of the cosmos are revealed to them for the first time, and they sense our place in the universe. Weren’t you frightened?”

I shook my head vigorously. “Frightened? No! I was – liberated! I felt… free…” I turned to him. “Does that make sense?” Read Full Essay


When the concept of the Homo Viator Manifest emerged in my mind, it was of something like a tree, with a trunk from where diverse branches would radiate but being part of the same structure.
The first part of it was the fruit of the collaboration between myself and two dear friends, Stuart Atkinson and Nicholas Previsic…h. Since then it served also as inspiration for an audiovisual performance and other artworks. (which you can see here:
Now I would like to invite you, challenge you, to also become part of it. I want the Manifest to grow in as many different directions as possible. Go have a read and, if you feel inclined to write your own part of it, to share your own roadmap, send me an e-mail (rui dot alexandre dot borges at gmail dot com), the doors are open. Let us see in which direction the branches will grow.


If you’ve any interest in astronomy and space at all then you’re probably aware that there’s been something of a “situation” this past week, involving one of the Kepler mission’s scientists and the Kepler data. To cut a very long story short, one of the Co-Investigators of the Kepler mission, Dimitar Sasselov, gave a public lecture last week – which has been available to watch online – in which he appeared to claim, both on an illustrative slide, and in his commentary itself, that Kepler had found “hundreds of Earth-like planets”…

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On June 16th, Scientific American posted a quite amazing, quite historic story on its web site that went largely unnoticed by the Outside World. Outside the astronomy community that is; more specifically, outside the residents of the Wisteria Lane of the astronomy community that is interested in the hunt for and study of exo-planets – planets that circle other stars Out There in the Great Black.

The SciAm story was announcing that KEPLER, the planet-hunting telescope, has identified more than 700 candidate planets in orbit around faraway, alien suns. That on its own made the story exciting. But tucked away in the report was one line, one quote, that when I read it literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end…

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As 2009 prepares to slip gloomily and morosely into 2010, with the world still hunched under the weight of recession, and truly godawful weather battering the UK, sitting here at my computer, listening to the rain skrish against the window, over and over and over, like handfuls of thrown shingle, I’m starting to wonder, and worry, if I’m having a bit of a mid-life crisis.

No, I haven’t grown a ridiculous ponytail, or bought myself a pair of cowboy boots and a Harley and taken to the road, or started hanging around bars trying to look 20 years younger than I really am in the hope of impressing long-legged blondes young enough to be my daughter; no, this lifelong, space-nut, who has always looked forwards and not backwards, who has always lived for the future and not looked back at the past, has started to get very, very interested in history. Specifically, deep, deep history – i.e. the origins of Mankind.

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Homo Viator Manifest – Part I

What do we whitdraw from this fabled lands, from this enticing unknown islands at large?

We aim at a near return of Man, in full strength, to the Spirit of Adventure, towards a new quest, which was first dreamed, then imagined and finally sedimented in our species’ core, offering consistence, permitting no retreat, towards the next step, that must and will be, the embarking of members of the Human family, fellow creatures with the Beyond as flag, onboard a New Era of Discoveries.


Full document here (PDF file):

Homo Viator Manifest – Part I

Kepler opens a window on Mankind’s future…

Ah, but if even just a handful of them are orbited by planets as small as Earth, and if only a few of that handful of worlds are the right distance from their star to have liquid water… rivers, streams and seas… then when we look at that image we are looking at the destinations of the first interstellar probes – and beyond them, the first manned starships, whichever century they are built in.

Read more at Cumbrian Sky, BtC’s collaborator Stuart Atkinson’s blog.

Kepler Mission – Exoplanets – what’s all the fuss about? – By Stuart Atkinson

btc_stuHmmm. It’s a good question actually. Why DOES it matter that we now know some of those twinkling points of light in the night sky are circled by strange, exotic worlds? Why are astronomers spending hours and hours gazing at these distant suns, hoping to glimpse signs of planets spinning around them? And with countless problems to solve down here on Earth, why should money be spent on scanning the heavens for far-flung alien solar systems with multi-million $ telescopes, satellites and computers?

Simple. Because we have to leave Earth and find another home.

Read the full article by Stuart Atkinson, BtC collaborator, at Cumbrian Sky.

And now for something completely different…Kepler!


Looking in the far distance, Stuart Atkinson let his thoughts wander between the Swan and the Lyre, the result?




Find us worlds, little one, real worlds!

Not more bloated bags of garish gas racing

crazily ‘round their stars, barely far enough away

from their seething surfaces to escape

being dragged down into their heart-of-Mordor cores,

but worlds where we could talk and walk

on springy, surf-soaked, sandy shores

and climb great mountains carved from stone…


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Still with Kepler: The Birth of the Universe 2.0 – By Stuart Atkinson

The launch of Kepler, due to the nature of its mission, has generated a flow of thoughts that some, fortunately for us readers, have the gift to put into words…:

Yet the vast majority of people I meet day to day are blissfully unaware that they now live in a universe populated by many solar systems, not just ours. On my way back from work at night I pass people heading to the off-licence or take-away, or walking their dog, or sneaking a cigarette in a shop doorway and I want to grab their shoulders, turn them to look at the sky and tell them “Look! Up there! Lots of those stars have planets! We can’t just say ‘the solar system’ anymore, we should be saying ‘OUR solar system!’… it really is that big a deal to me.

This is a teaser from a full article by Stuart Atkinson, who collaborates with BEYOND THE CRADLE but also spreads the word in his own blog, Cumbrian Sky, go and read it ALL!


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