The RASNZ Email newsletter is distributed by email on or near the 20th of each month. If you would like to be on the circulation list This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy.

Affiliated Societies are welcome to reproduce any item in this email newsletter or on the RASNZ website in their own newsletters provided an acknowledgement of the source is also included.


1. Sun Viewers Awaited
2. The Solar System in June
3. RASNZ Annual General Meeting
4. BHT Lectures: Ancient Astronomies - Ancient Worlds
5. Don Glass
6. Third International Starlight Conference
7. RASNZ Conference June 15-17
8. Transit of Venus Factsheet and Book
9. New Zealand Transit of Venus images from 1874
10. Venus Transit Photographers Sought
11. Asteroid Mining?
12. Type Ia Supernovae Have Two Origins?
13. Astronomer´s Dream: Home & Astronomy Income
14. How to Join the RASNZ
15. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund
16. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund
17. Poetry Corner

1. Sun Viewers Awaited

We have now sold out our initial supply of solar viewers, however a new shipment has been ordered and we await its arrival. If you wish to purchase one (or many!) of these viewers, please keep checking the RASNZ website ( where the availability of the new shipment will be announced.

Glen Rowe President RASNZ.

2. The Solar System in June

The usual notes on the visibility of the Planets for June 2012 are on the RASNZ web site: Notes for July 2012 will be on line in a few days.

Venus transit june 6

The two notable events for June are the transit of Venus on the 6th, and a partial eclipse of the moon two nights before.

Some times for the transit (NZST) are:

             Auckland   Wellington  Christchurch   Dunedin
             hr mn sec   hr mn sec    hr mn sec    hr mn sec
1st contact   10:15:31    10:15:37     10:15:43     10:15:48 am
  Altitude      24°         20°          17°          15°
2nd contact   10:33:37    10:33:45     10:33:52     10:33:58 am
Mid transit   1:29:10     1:29:19      1:29:29      1:29:39 pm
  Altitude      28°         24°          23°          21°
3rd contact    4:25:15     4:25:23      4:25:32      4:25:41 pm
4th contact    4:43:28     4:43:48      4:43:46      4:43:56 pm
  Altitude       4°          2°           2°           2°

Times for other places in New Zealand and for main cities in Australia are on the RASNZ web site along with other details of the transit. Note the need to take precautions to protect the eyes when attempting to view the Sun. Details again are on the RASNZ web site,

Lunar eclipse june 4

All phases of the partial eclipse of the moon on June 4 are visible from New Zealand. The umbral phase starts 3 seconds before 10 pm, NZST, when the Earth´s shadow will start to move onto the right side of the moon. Maximum eclipse is just over an hour later at 11:03:14 pm. 37% of the moon will be eclipsed, the shadow being on the upper right part of the moon. The umbra leaves the moon just after midnight at 12:06:28 am, at about the 11 o'clock position.

The penumbral phase starts at 8:48:04 pm and ends at 1:18:24 am.

The planets in june

Mercury moves into the evening sky and will be visible to the west after sunset by the end of the month. Mars remains prominent early evening but is low late evening. Saturn is easily visible all evening.

Venus reappears in the dawn sky after its trip across the Sun and will move up to be alongside Jupiter by the end of June.

Planets in the evening sky

Mercury was at superior conjunction at the end of May. It will become visible in the early evening sky during the second half of June. It sets about 75 minutes after the Sun mid month and about 2 hours later on the 30th.

Mid June Mercury will be magnitude -0.5, but will fade by almost a magnitude by the 30th. By then it will set a good 2 hours after the Sun and be 8 or 9° above the horizon almost to the northwest an hour after sunset. Nearly 20° to its left Procyon will be similar in magnitude and slightly higher. Sirius will be still further left, a little south of west, 25° from Procyon and distinctly higher.

On the 21st the moon, as a very thin crescent, will be to 7° to the left of Mercury. The following night the moon, now 6.5% lit will be a similar distance above Mercury so should act as a marker for the planet, if one is needed.

MARS sets shortly before midnight by the end of June, so will be easiest
to see early in the evening once the sky darkens.  It transits close to 7
pm at the beginning of June and some 40 minutes after sunset on the 30th.

The planet will be in Leo most of the month, moving steadily to the east and away from Regulus. The two will be some 30° apart by the end of June. A few days before that, on the 26th, Mars crosses into Virgo as it moves towards Saturn.

During June the distance between Earth and Mars increases from 178 million km (1.19 AU) to 211 million km (1.41 AU). It will correspondingly lose brightness, its magnitude changing from 0.5 to 0.9, so becoming slightly fainter than Saturn.

The 41% lit moon will be 5° to the left of Mars on June 26, the two being closest late evening.

Saturn is in Virgo making a pair with Spica all month. The planet will be moving slowly to the west until the 26th when it is stationary. It will then start moving to the east. Its position relative to Spica will barely change during June with the two less than 5° apart.

Saturn is highest at about 9.20 on the 1st, almost 2 hours earlier by the 30th. At the time of transit the planet will be almost directly below Spica and nearly a half a magnitude brighter than the star.

The moon joins Saturn and Spica twice during June. On the 1st the 85% lit moon will be just under 3° to the right of Spica and a little over 6° to the upper right of Saturn. Almost 4 weeks later, on the 28th, the moon, now 63% lit, will be slightly closer to the two, 2° from Spica and less than 6° from Saturn.

MORNING SKY VENUS moves into the morning sky quite rapidly following its transit as it will be moving to the west in the opposite direction of the Sun. By the 14th Venus will rise an hour before the Sun, by the end of June two and a half hours earlier. So it will be easily visible to the northeast shortly before sunrise.

The planet is in fact stationary on the 27th, so by the end of the month its distance from the Sun will not be increasing so rapidly. But it will also have almost caught up with Jupiter. On the last morning of the month the two planets will be almost level with Venus just under 5° to the right of Jupiter. Venus will be in the Hyades cluster with Aldebaran under 3° to the right of Venus.

On the morning of the 18th while Venus is still some way below Jupiter, the crescent moon will be about 3° to the left of Venus which will place the planet about midway between the moon and Aldebaran.

Jupiter will be moving to the east through the stars although not as quickly as the Sun. As a result its distance from the Sun will increase but more slowly than Venus´s.

On the 1st Jupiter rises a little over an hour before the Sun. Half an hour before sunrise it will be about 5° up a little to the east of northeast. It will gradually gain altitude during the rest of June so that it, like Venus, will rise two and a half hours before the Sun by the 30th.

Jupiter is also in Taurus, early in June it will be nearly above the Pleiades, by the end of June it will be more or less level with them but 6° to their right. So Pleiades, Jupiter, Venus and Aldebaran will form a line to the northeast. The Pleiades are likely to be difficult to see in twilight without an optical aid.

The crescent moon will 6° to the upper right of Jupiter on the morning of June 17. The following morning the moon, when near Venus, will be a similar distance below Jupiter.

Uranus crosses a corner of Cetus close to Pisces during June. Its magnitude is 5.9 early in June, brightening slightly to 5.8 by the end of the month. It rises a little after 2am on the 1st and a few minutes after midnight on the 30th.

Neptune is in Aquarius at magnitude 7.9. It rises about 11.30 pm on June 1 and almost two hours earlier at the end of the month.

Both Uranus and Neptune will be easiest to observe as morning objects.

Brighter asteroids:

(1) Ceres and (4) Vesta are also both in the morning sky above Jupiter. On the morning of June 1 Vesta will be about 14° higher than Jupiter, with Ceres half that distance. They will then be in Aries. By the end of June both asteroids will have moved into Taurus, with Ceres only 4° above Jupiter, and slightly over 5 from Venus. Vesta will be about 6° to the upper left of Jupiter.

Ceres will be at magnitude 9.1, with Vesta a little brighter at 8.4.

No other asteroids are within reach of binoculars during June.

More details and charts for these minor planets can be found on the RASNZ web site. Follow the link to asteroids 2012.

3. RASNZ Annual General Meeting

The 89th Annual General Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand will be held on Saturday 16 June 2012 at the Carterton Events Centre, Carterton, beginning at the end of the conference proceedings for the day, about 4pm. Notices of motion are invited and should reach the Executive Secretary by 5 May 2012.

-- Rory O´Keeffe, Executive Secretary.

4. BHT Lectures: Ancient Astronomies - Ancient Worlds

The 2012 Beatrice Hill Tinsley Lectures are being given by Clive Ruggles, Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the University of Leicester, UK. The lectures are organised by the RASNZ Lecture Trust.

Christchurch: Saturday June 9th, 7:30pm, C3 Lecture Room, University of Canterbury. Carterton: Sunday June 17th, likely 3pm but to be confirmed, Events Centre, Holloway St, Carterton. Napier: Monday June 18th, 7:00pm, Napier War Memorial Centre, Marine Parade, Napier. Auckland: Tuesday June 19th, 7:30pm, Auckland Museum.

Abstract We know a good deal about ancient astronomical knowledge and practices in places such as ancient China and Babylonia from the evidence contained in their recorded history, but people all over the world strived to make sense of what they saw in the sky long before the written record existed. What can we ever know of this?

Many people have suggested that Stonehenge and many other prehistoric constructions around the world provide proof of sophisticated sky knowledge that existed as far back in the Stone Age. If that is so, how did our distant ancestors acquire it and how did they use it?

In the absence of written evidence, we must find indications in the evidence available to the archaeologist: things such as man-made objects, human debris, and the layout of monuments and buildings. There are also valuable clues in beliefs and practices that have survived among indigenous peoples right through to modern times. Trying to make sense of this type of evidence is the business of the fields of study that have become known as archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy.

As Clive will show, some of the world´s most iconic ancient monuments provide tantalising glimpses of long lost beliefs and practices relating to the sky, although they often have to be interpreted with considerable caution. Taking in examples from many different parts of the world, including his own ongoing field projects in Europe, Peru and Hawaii, Clive will use these insights to build up a broad picture of the diverse ways in which ancient peoples perceived and understood the world-the cosmos-within which they dwelt.

Professor Ruggles His is apparently the first University Chair in this subject to be created in the world. Archaeoastronomy is the study of beliefs and practices related to the sky in the past, and Clive trained as an astrophysicist before switching fields and becoming an archaeologist.

Clive has worked in many parts of the world and has published books, papers and articles on subjects ranging from prehistoric Europe and pre- Columbian America to ancient Greece, Egypt, Polynesia and indigenous astronomies in Africa. He has ongoing fieldwork projects in Peru and Hawaii as well as various parts of Europe, and is a leading figure in a joint initiative by UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union to promote, preserve, and protect the world's most important astronomical heritage sites.

His work in South America hit the headlines in March 2007 with the publication in the journal Science of his work with Peruvian archaeologist Ivan Ghezzi on the Thirteen Towers of Chankillo, a 2300-year old solar observation site. His books include Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland (Yale UP, 1999), Ancient Astronomy: An Encyclopedia of Cosmologies and Myth (ABC-CLIO, 2005), Skywatching in the Ancient World: New Perspectives in Cultural Astronomy, edited with anthropologist Gary Urton (Colorado, 2007), and most recently Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy, edited with technology historian Michel Cotte (ICOMOS- IAU 2010) and Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy: Building Bridges between Cultures (Cambridge UP, 2011), the Proceedings of the first IAU Symposium to be devoted to this topic.

Clive´s website is

5. Don Glass

Don Glass, a long-standing member of the RASNZ and former President of the Hawera Astronomical Society, passed away on May 4th. He was 90. Older RASNZ members will recall Don's attendance at Conferences over many years.

Don was President of the Hawera Astronomical Society for 21 years to 2000. This time is remembered by locals as golden years for the society.

We hope to have memories of Don in a later Newsletter or Southern Stars. In the meantime there is much background on Don at aranakiStory/id/604/title/steering-by-the-stars.aspx which also appeared in Southern Stars, Volume 42, number 4. December 2003. Pp 17-19.

-- Thanks to Daniel Hovell, President of the Hawera Astronomical Society, and to Rod Austin.

6. Third International Starlight Conference

The Starlight Conference is at Lake Tekapo, 11-13 June 2012. The website is accepting registrations. Visit for full details.

It will be a multidisciplinary conference on the scientific and cultural benefits of observing dark starlit skies. The meeting will be of interest to RASNZ members and to many other interest groups in education, tourism, environmental protection and to those interested in the cultural and ethnic aspects of astronomy.

The Starlight Conference is jointly hosted by the University of Canterbury and by RASNZ, and is being sponsored by the University of Canterbury, by RASNZ, by the Royal Society of NZ, by Endeavour Capital Ltd and by the NZ National Commission to UNESCO.

-- Abridged from a note by John Hearnshaw.

7. RASNZ Conference June 15-17

The Annual RASNZ Conference is now less than four weeks away. The programme has come together, and we think there will be something there to interest everyone.

Don't forget our Guest Speakers - Clive Ruggles and Wayne Orchiston. There is information about them and their topics on the RASNZ Webpage. And also, Ed Budding will give the Fellows Lecture on the Friday night following the opening. We look forward to what everyone delivers in their papers.

We have had one or two queries regarding costs. I guess this is something that goes through everyone's mind at some stage. All we can say is that Conference costs are kept as low as possible without compromising standards - and compared to other groupings of amateur and professional scientists who hold conferences similar to ours, the RASNZ Conference is possibly the least expensive of any of them and delivers excellent value for money, if past feedback is anything to go by. Interestingly the 2012 Conference is easily the LEAST expensive conference since at least 2008. So while people's income have been increasing, we have actually decreased costs. If we had held conference in one of the main centres, as one or two have suggested, then costs by my calculations would be in the vicinity of 30% higher - and not to mention the higher accommodation costs that one pays in larger centres.

Some of us have already seen the venue - the Carterton Events Centre. We are all very impressed with this facility.

So, all that remains now is for members (including members of Affiliated Societies) to register (if you haven't already), and turn up. All information you need is on the registration form etc - click on 'conference' on the webpage. If you have any late queries please get those to us as soon as possible - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - so we can get quick responses back to you.

Ok - let's see you all at conference, then.

-- Dennis Goodman, Chair, RASNZ Standing Conference Committee.

8. Transit of Venus Factsheet and Book

An Astronomical Society of Australia Factsheet is available, describing the Transit of Venus on 6 June. It can be found on the ASA's Australian Astronomy web site ( The specific link is: . The sheet may be freely copied for wide distribution provided the Australian Astronomy and ASA logos are retained.

This information is provided by Nick Lomb (Sydney Observatory) and Martin George (Launcestion Planetarium) as initiative of the ASA Education and Public Outreach Chapter. Nick also has a book out on the subject - see

-- John O'Byrne, Secretary of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

------------- For a really good history of the transits see "The Transits of Venus" by William Sheehan and John Westfall, published by Prometheus Books, New York, 2004. ISBN 1-59102-175-8. -- Ed.

9. New Zealand Transit of Venus images from 1874

William Tobin has managed to track down some of the dozen or so photographic plates of the transit of Venus taken by the British expedition at Burnham in 1874. They are free to use, and can be downloaded from

10. Venus Transit Photographers Sought

Jeff Baldwin of California seeks the cooperation of a NZ observer in obtaining the parallax of Venus from transit photography. Jeff writes: I am looking for somebody who will participate in photographing the transit at ten minute intervals as I will, after which we would exchange photographs. I teach an astronomy class, and this is an opportunity to measure the distance between the Earth and the Sun using the parallax shift observed in Venus´s position in front of the Sun by two observers on opposite sides of the Earth. I'm in California and there is a period of time in which the transit is visible to both of us, and we are nearly as stretched out on opposites as you can get.

For more information contact Jeff Baldwin This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

-- Rolf Carstens forwarded this request to the nzastronomers group.

11. Asteroid Mining?

Can reality trump art? That was the question hovering over the launch on April 24th, at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, of a plan by a firm called Planetary Resources to mine metals from asteroids and bring them back to Earth.

It sounds like the plot of a film by James Cameron - and, appropriately,
Mr Cameron is indeed one of the company´s backers. The team behind the
firm, however, claim they are not joking. The company´s founders are Peter
Diamandis, instigator of the X Prize, awarded in 2004 to Paul Allen and
Burt Rutan for the first private space flight, and Eric Anderson, another
of whose companies, Space Adventures, has already shot seven tourists into
orbit. Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, respectively the chief executive and
the chairman of Google, are also involved. So, too, is Charles Symonyi,
the engineer who oversaw the creation of Microsoft´s Office software (and
who has been into space twice courtesy of Mr Anderson´s firm). With a
cast-list like that, it is at least polite to take them seriously.

As pies in the sky go, some asteroids do look pretty tasty. A lot are unconsolidated piles of rubble left over from the beginning of the solar system. Many, though, are pieces of small planets that bashed into each other over the past few billion years. These, in particular, will be high on Planetary Resources´ shopping list because the planet-forming processes of mineral-melting and subsequent stratification into core, mantle and crust will have sorted their contents in ways that can concentrate valuable materials into exploitable ores. On Earth, for example, platinum and its allied elements, though rare at the surface, are reckoned more common in the planet´s metal-rich core. The same was probably true of the planets shattered to make asteroids. Indeed, the discovery of a layer of iridium-rich rock (iridium being one of platinum´s relatives) was the first sign geologists found of the asteroid impact that is believed to have killed the dinosaurs. Most asteroids dwell between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But enough of them, known as near-Earth asteroids, or NEAs, come within interplanetary spitting distance of humanity for it to be worth investigating them as sources of minerals - if, of course, that can be done economically.

The first thing is to locate a likely prospect. At the moment, about 9,000 NEAs are known, most of them courtesy of ground-based programmes looking for bodies that might one day hit Earth. That catalogue is a good start, but Planetary Resources plans to go further. In 2014 it intends to launch, at a cost of a few million dollars, a set of small space telescopes whose purpose will be to seek out asteroids which are easy to get to and whose orbits return them to the vicinity of Earth often enough for the accumulated spoils of a mining operation to be downloaded at frequent intervals.

That bit should not be too difficult. But the next phase will be tougher. In just over a decade, when a set of suitable targets has been identified, the firm plans to send a second wave of spacecraft out to take a closer look at what has been found. This is a significantly bigger challenge than getting a few telescopes into orbit. It is still, though, conceivable using existing technology. It is after this that the handwaving really starts.

Broadly, there are two ways to get the goodies back to Earth. The first is to attempt to mine a large NEA in its existing orbit, dropping off a payload every time it passes by. That is the reason for the search for asteroids with appropriate orbits. This approach will, however, require intelligent robots which can work by themselves for years, digging and processing the desirable material. The other way of doing things is for the company to retrieve smaller asteroids, put them into orbit around Earth or the moon, and then dissect them at its leisure. But that limits the value of the haul and risks a catastrophic impact if something goes wrong while the asteroid is being manoeuvred.

Either way, the expense involved promises to be out of this world. A recent feasibility study for the Keck Institute for Space Studies reckoned that the retrieval of a single 500-tonne asteroid to the moon would cost more than $2.5 billion. Earlier research suggested that, to have any chance of success, an asteroid-mining venture would need to be capitalised to the tune of $100 billion. Moreover, a host of new technologies will be required, including more-powerful solar panels, electric-ion engines, extraterrestrial mining equipment and robotic refineries.

All of which can, no doubt, be done if enough money and ingenuity are applied to the project. But the real doubt over this sort of enterprise is not the supply, but the demand. Platinum, iridium and the rest are expensive precisely because they are rare. Make them common, by digging them out of the heart of a shattered planet, and they will become cheap. The most important members of the team, then, may not be the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who put up the drive and the money, nor the engineers who build the hardware that makes it all possible, but the economists who try to work out the effect on the price of platinum when a mountain of the stuff arrives from outer space.

-- From The Economist April 28th 2012, p. 72. For the original article see

12. Type Ia Supernovae Have Two Origins?

The exploding stars known as Type Ia supernovae serve an important role in measuring the universe, and were used to discover the existence of dark energy. They are bright enough to see across large distances, and similar enough to act as a 'standard candle' -- an object of known luminosity. The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of the accelerating universe using Type Ia supernovae. However, an embarrassing fact is that astronomers still don't know what star systems make Type Ia supernovae.

Two very different models explain the possible origin of Type Ia supernovae, and different studies support each model. New evidence shows that both models are correct -- some of these supernovae are created one way and some the other.

Type Ia supernovae are known to originate from white dwarfs -- the dense cores of dead stars. White dwarfs are also called degenerate stars because they are supported by quantum degeneracy pressure.

In the single-degenerate model for a supernova, a white dwarf gathers material from a companion star until it reaches a tipping point where a runaway nuclear reaction begins and the star explodes. In the double-degenerate model, two white dwarfs merge and explode. Single-degenerate systems should have gas from the companion star around the supernova, while the double-degenerate systems will lack that gas.

A group of U.S. astronomers studied 23 Type Ia supernovae to look for signatures of gas around the supernovae. Gas should be present only in single-degenerate systems. They found that the more powerful explosions tended to come from 'gassy' systems, or systems with outflows of gas. However, only a fraction of supernovae show evidence for outflows. The remainder seem to come from double-degenerate systems, two white dwarfs merging. The conclusion is that there are definitely two kinds of environments -- with and without outflows of gas. Both are found around Type Ia supernovae.

This finding has important implications for measurements of dark energy and the expanding universe. If two different mechanisms are at work in Type Ia supernovae, then the two types must be considered separately when calculating cosmic distances and expansion rates. "It's like measuring the universe with a mix of yardsticks and meter sticks -- you'll get about the same answer, but not quite. To get an accurate answer, you need to separate the yardsticks from the meter sticks," explained Ryan Foley, one of the team of astronomers.

This study raises an interesting question -- if two different mechanisms create Type Ia supernovae, why are they homogeneous enough to serve as standard candles? "How can supernovae coming from different systems look so similar? I don't have the answer for that," said Foley.

The paper describing this research will appear in the Astrophysical Journal and is available online at

For text & Images see

-- From a Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

13. Astronomer´s Dream: Home & Astronomy Income

New large 4 bedroom house (150 square meters - plus double garage) with separate self-contained studio accommodation business. Private spa pool. Observatory: 4 meter (school sized) observatory on front lawn housing 15- inch Newtonian telescope. Parking for 3+ vehicles. Established gardens including a banana grove at the rear of the property. 5 minutes walk to beautiful Baylys beach in affordable sunny Northland. 2 km to golf course. 15 minutes to all the local amenities. Reluctantly selling due to a change in family circumstances and the need to relocate due to current family needs but would prefer not to have to dismantle the observatory and shut down the business. I would love to find someone else who could carry on the 'Astronomy Adventures' business. Please contact Deborah on 09 439 1856 or by e-mail for more details This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

For a video made in 2010 where Astronomy Adventures featured on Marcus Lush North check out: - episode 3 first ten minutes.

14. How to Join the RASNZ

A membership application form and details can be found on the RASNZ website Please note that the weblink to membership forms is case sensitive. Alternatively please send an email to the membership secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

The annual subscription rate is $75. For overseas rates please check with the membership secretary, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

15. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund

The RASNZ administers the Gifford-Eiby Memorial Lectureship Fund to assist Affiliated Societies with travel costs of getting a lecturer or instructor to their meetings. Details are in RASNZ By-Laws Section H.

For an application form contact the Executive Secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., R O'Keeffe, 662 Onewhero-Tuakau Bridge Rd, RD 2, TUAKAU 2697

16. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund

The RASNZ is responsible for recommending to the trustees of the Kingdon Tomlinson Fund that grants be made for astronomical projects. The grants may be to any person or persons, or organisations, requiring funding for any projects or ventures that promote the progress of astronomy in New Zealand. Full details are set down in the RASNZ By-Laws, Section J.

For an application form contact the RASNZ Executive Secretary, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. R O'Keeffe, 662 Onewhero-Tuakau Bridge Rd, RD 2, TUAKAU 2697

17. Poetry Corner (Verse or Worse)

Twinkle,twinkle, little star, I don't wonder what you are; I surmise your spot in space When you left your missile base. Any wondering I do Centers on the price of you, And I shudder when I think What you're costing us per twink. (William W. Pratt)

Passed along by Graeme Kershaw who saw it in the Readers' Digest 50 years ago. The sentiment could now be applied to the International Space Station. While we're on the subject, the following bears repeating in this age of management-speak. The original:

Twinkle, twinkle little star; How I wonder what you are, Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone, When he nothing shines upon, Then you show your little light; Twinkle, twinkle all the night.

When the traveller in the dark Thanks you for your tiny spark. He could not see which way to go If you did not twinkle so. (Jane Taylor)

The same three stanzas as paraphrased by some anonymous genius:

Scintillate scintillate, globule vivific; Fain would I fathom your nature specific, Loftily poised in the ether capacious, Strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous.

When torrid Phoebus removeth his presence, Ceasing to lamp us with fierce incandescence, Then you illumine the regions supernal; Scintillate, scintillate, sempi-nocturnal.

The victim of lustreless peregrination Gracefully hails your minute coruscation. He could not determine his journey's direction But for your scintillative protection.

Alan Gilmore Phone: 03 680 6000 P.O. Box 57 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Lake Tekapo 7945 New Zealand

Newsletter editor:

Alan Gilmore   Phone: 03 680 6000
P.O. Box 57   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lake Tekapo 7945
New Zealand