Tuesday, December 28, 2010


One of my new year's resolutions for 2010 was to send out two submissions per week. Note that this doesn't mean two new stories -- on average I have to send out each story about ten times before it sells, and then I often try for reprint sales. But nothing's going to sell sitting on my hard drive, is it?

Well, two sales per week comes to 104 in a year. I haven't managed that, but today I sent off my 100th submission for the year, which is pretty good going and a personal record.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The solar system in my living room

Last month I made a (roughly) scale model solar system ready for a group of school kids visiting the telescopes - and then the visit got cancelled by bad weather. Ah well, sooner or later it'll get used.

Here at last is a photo of it.

The sun is far too small - it should be about 10 x larger. And then, anticlockwise from the sun, we have marbles for Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars (Mars is a small, red marble, and rather hard to spot.) At the back we have painted plastic footballs for the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn (Jupiter should be 20% bigger) followed by tennis balls for Uranus and Neptune.

The distances between the planets aren't to scale either. I was going to spread them out over 15 m inside the telescope dome, although that still leaves the planets too big. Really, it should be 4 m (13ft) from the sun to Earth, and 12 km (7.5 miles) from the sun to Neptune!