Автор Тема: Робертс о журналюгах и праздношатающихся :)  (Прочитано 7217 раз)


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Цитата: Greg Roberts
SPACE.com contacted a number of astronomical observatories but none reported attempting to observe the satellite last night, nor did they have plans for future observations of the debris.

"We didn't observe the satellite destruction last night," said a spokesperson from the W. M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, who declined to be named. "Our telescope cannot track something moving that fast. To track an object moving that fast you need a much more nimble telescope."
...I am always amused at the view the public and the press have of  astronomical observatories and what astronomers do. As a retired professional astronomer of something like 35 years 95% of astronomers do not have the slightest interest in observing artificial satellites and especially not when engaged in scientific observational programs. Normally telescope observing time is expensive and the observers have a limited amount of time to do the observations planned, especially if bad weather is likely to cause loss of time.

The last thing astronomers do is sit on their ends idly looking up at the sky . In most cases nowadays the astronomer sees very little of the sky as he sits inside an enclosed "warm" room and watches a monitor on which his/her astronomical target of interest is shown.   Certainly at the observatories where I worked the "outside" telephone lines were ignored during the night to discourage causal members of the public phoning with questions etc and the telpehone exchange in  the nearby town had strict instructions to put calls through to the observers hostel and not to the various telescope domes on the hill.

Professional astronomers generally do not know much about artificial satellites yet are often quoted by the popular press and some of the garbage that comes out makes me cringe . Of course the intelligence of some members of the press also leaves something to be desired - I once casually mentioned the space shuttle in an interview and the reporter asked what was a space shuttle!
« Последнее редактирование: Февраль 23, 2008, 10:53:44 от addmin »


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Grandpa a 'threat to US security'

Cape Town pensioner awaits 'Men in Black' after finding secret craft

Jun 6, 2010 12:00 AM | By NASHIRA DAVIDS


Greg Roberts seems like an ordinary grandfather from a quiet suburb - but the amateur satellite tracker has been labelled a threat to US national security.

The 70-year-old's modest Cape Town home is teeming with computers, telescopes, lenses, radio transmitters, cables, video monitors and cameras.

Last month, using a home-made telescope, Roberts found and recorded footage of a secret space craft - the X-37B - developed by the US Air Force.

The jovial cat lover has been dubbed a satellite sleuth by the international media for his uncanny ability to find and then reveal, on the Internet, the movements of classified satellites.

He was a professional astronomer for over 30 years, has a degree in physics and chemistry and is an amateur radio ham.

With the help of a group of amateur astronomers from around the world, including a petrol attendant in Canada, he calculated that the top-secret spacecraft took about 92 minutes to orbit earth and flies over hot spots such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Korea.

He said that his group had been labelled a threat to national security by the US Congress. "My wife and I joke that the Men in Black will walk up our driveway some day," said Roberts.

His discovery of the craft, which is 8.9m long and travels at 8km a second, earned him mentions in the New York Times, the BBC and science publications.

The X-37B was launched on April 22 from Cape Canaveral.

In an interview with news channel Russia Today, Robert M Bowman, a former director of the Advanced Space Programme in the US, hinted that the craft could be used to destroy military satellites and targets on earth.

Dr Ed Elson, a researcher at the University of Cape Town's department of astronomy, said spy satellites and the weaponising of space were not new. "The real question is what the next level of space militarisation might be. We're still quite a long way off from Star Wars or Independence Day types of scenarios, yet the idea of military satellites capable of destroying one another, or that are capable of striking targets on the ground, is certainly perceivable."

Elson lauded Roberts and the group of amateur astronomers. "That they managed to find it and are now tracking the craft is certainly quite an admirable feat, especially from an observational astronomer's perspective.

"Mr Roberts and his team certainly have a very respectable track record, claiming to be tracking almost every classified object that has been launched in the past five years. I see no real reason to refute their claim of having found the X37-B," he said.

Roberts, an industrial chemist, realised his dream when he joined the Republic Observatory in Observatory, Johannesburg, in 1968 to photograph the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter.

He also worked on projects linked to Apollo 11 and was involved in site testing for the Southern African Large Telescope before retiring in 1999.

Despite looking into outer space every day, he has never set foot out of South Africa - and has a fear of heights that prevents him climbing ladders.

His work, which often involves complicated mathematics, keeps him going, but he still has to paste a note on his front door to remind him to wear his false teeth.

"We feel that we are doing a service to the public by providing to them what they really need to know," Roberts said. "We don't consider ourselves a threat to security. Anyone else can do exactly the same ..."

HI-TECH HQ: Greg Roberts with one of his space-spying instruments - and he has plenty more equipment inside the house, with which he and other amateur astronomers track secret satellites Picture: SHELLEY CHRISTIANS