Friday, June 15, 2007

telephone support (Toronto)

William phoned me tonight. Malcolm and I were just finishing work on the car and packing up tools. Will, said, "Hey, Astronomy Man! Got a question for you."

Will sounded a little tipsy, celebrating belatedly his birthday it seemed. "What's that bright thing in the sky?" I could hear his wife in the background. Others were nearby. They were obviously enjoying themselves on a patio.

"Where? To the north-west?" I asked as I surveyed the indigo sky from Malcolm's front patio.

"Yeah." There was a pause. "I guess."

"Well, it you're talking about the very bright white point about 20° up, that's Venus."

"I knew you would know that!" Will said. I explained how to measure the 20°, with fingers splayed, hand outstretched. Now Will sounded sceptical. Then I pointed him 10° up and to the left. "That's Saturn."

"And," I continued, "if you can see to the south-east, you'll see a very bright, pale white or tan point, and that will be Jupiter."

"There are trees in the way."

"Oh well. It will improve during the evening. Look for it in an hour or so." I said encouragingly. "And with your excellent eye sight, you might even see a moon or two..."

He thanked me for the information and we closed the conversation.

I said to Malcolm, "Perhaps, I should just start answering the phone now, 'Astronomy Man, how can I be of service?!'"

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