Regular readers will remember our favourite Icelandic astronomer, geologist and glaciologist, Snaevarr Gudmundsson.
Many are the fabulous astrophotos he has shown here.
Now comes news of his latest scientific adventure.
After moving to Hofn in Hornafjordur, accepting position as a research specialist in glaciology at the South East Iceland Nature Center, I truly needed to reset my astronomy observing facility.
Now, with great support from the town’s council, a new observatory is being established under the very mirky night sky of the Southeastern Iceland. It will house my 12” and 4” telescopes.
I recently presented its aim to the locals.
Most of the time the observatory should run for astronomical research projects, such as variable stars, eclipsing binaries and of transiting exoplanets along with astrophotography but repaying the deed for the support I’ll offer time and telescope use to the communical schools and inhabitants of the small town of Hofn.
This hopefully raises the scientific threshold for teaching but being able to continue my research projects under much darker sky, free of light pollution, is certainly a benefit too.
The community hasn’t before been attended with such facility and the rumour tells of some expectations.
I expect it to start running early January, even soon after New Year’s Eve.
A LOOK AT ULURU FROM SPACE
Uluru/Ayers Rock in the Australian outback is featured in this image from the Kompsat-2 satellite.
Under Australia’s dual naming policy, the formation is officially called by both the traditional Aboriginal name and the English name.
Uluru stands over 340 metres above the surrounding desert and measures about 9 kilometres around.
In addition to being a geological wonder, it is an historical one as well: ancient rock art can be seen at points along the base of the formation.
Many of these paintings were created by the elders of Aboriginal tribes to teach younger generations how to track and hunt animals – much how a teacher uses a school blackboard.
The rock formation is an Inselberg – German for island mountain – a prominent geological structure that rises from the surrounding plain.
Hundreds of millions of years ago, this part of Australia was a shallow sea.
Layers of sandstone settled on the ocean floor and were compressed.
These hardened, horizontal layers were uplifted and tilted almost 90 degrees upwards to their present position.
The rock eroded slower than the surrounding softer deposits until the monolith stood high above an otherwise flat surface.
From this perpendicular angle of the satellite acquisition, we can see those layers that were once horizontal and now appear to cut across the top of the formation.