Slingshot launched in Slingsby!

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Watch this space…

If you have something that you’d like to share with others, perhaps something you’ve been dying to get off your chest – especially if it concerns Slingsby and its residents – then you can have it published here under the Slingshot byline.

Send your contribution to us either by e-mail at admin@slingsbyvillage.co.uk or put in an envelope and leave it with Tony at the Village Shop. Please remember to include your name, address and telephone number, in case we need to contact you, though these details will NOT be published (your contribution will be anonymous). Finally, please be aware that the Slingsby Website editors will have the freedom to decide whether or not to publish your contribution.

And speaking of space…

After NASA’s shuttle Columbia disaster in February 2003, interest in matters extraterrestrial waned considerably – nothing dramatically new was happening to capture people’s imaginations and, anyway, the funding for such adventures had been drastically cut back. Only the International Space Station (ISS)* remained as something of a constant.

In the last few years, however, space has become news again, even occasionally grabbing the headlines. (And you may have noticed that our own Triangle newsletter, too, has had a stargazing column since early in 2012.) Here are just some of the highlights: the Hubble telescope, the UK’s (failed) Beagle Mars lander, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover; the Gaia telescope (successor to Hubble and given the mission of cataloguing around a billion of the Milky Way’s stars – still only about 1% of our home galaxy’s total population!), the Chinese moon rover; and this year or next we can expect to see test launches of one or more prototype replacements for NASA’s shuttles, and the first space tourists aboard Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

There has also been significant activity closer to home, with enormous solar flares licking at our Earth’s magnetic field, giving people living as far south as Norfolk and Gloucestershire an unexpected chance to witness the stunning sight of the Aurora borealis. Even TV scheduling has had to acknowledge the exciting events occurring in our own solar back yard and beyond and make way for a plethora of stargazing programmes and documentaries on all the exciting developments taking place in space.

Something else that many people have been getting increasingly obsessed about is the possibility of life beyond our own solar system. With the improved Earth- and satellite-based telescopes available nowadays (like Hubble and Gaia), the search for exoplanets (potentially habitable planets in other solar systems) has been hotting up, and something like 2000 candidates have been identified so far.

But isn’t this quest for ‘estraterrestrials’ really rather pointless? What are the chances of ever being able to have a meaningful conversation with someone on another planet – let alone exchanging visits?

Remember that pair of Voyager spacecraft launched back in 1977? Having between them visited just about every planet and moon along the way, both of them have recently finally left our solar system and are cruising in interstellar space. Consider these statistics (in very round figures): Voyager 1 is travelling at about 18,000 mph; in a year it covers 320 million miles; at that speed it will reach the nearest star to us (Proxima Centauri, over 4 light years away) in something over 104,000 years! But the closest exoplanet that might – but is by no means guaranteed to – be inhabited by animate beings similar to ourselves is Tau Ceti, almost 12 light years away. Bearing in mind that, according to Einstein, the energy required to go faster approaches infinity as you approach the speed of light, we can forget thoughts of holidays even on Proxima Centauri.

What about making a phone call to Tau Ceti? Assuming that – under ideal conditions – the electrical signals generated by your communication system were able to travel at the speed of light, you would need to wait at least 24 years before hearing a tentative reply. And that’s assuming the ‘other party’ didn’t take too long translating what you said into something they could understand. (The Rosetta Stone wasn’t exactly translated overnight, was it?)

So, does it make sense to be spending so much energy and resources on ‘dreaming the impossible dream’? And, in light of the foregoing, will we ever be able to establish for a fact that the dream really is impossible?

Slingshot

 

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*Did you know that you can watch the ISS as it passes overhead? To find out when it can be seen, in which direction to look and how long it will be visible, copy the following and paste it into your Browser’s address bar: http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/view.cfm?country=United_Kingdom&region=England&city=York#.Uym6xJ1FDb0

Local History Group meeting

Tuesday 27th May, 7.30 pm in the Village Hall Committee Room

A working meting to review the local history day and discuss our programme and activities for the coming year. It will also be a second opportunity to look at the sheets which were put together for the recent exhibition for those who did not have the time to study them all. We shall also set the date for a local history day next year. There are also various other projects which we might plan and tackle, so please come along and give your views.

If you are unable to make the meeting, please can you let Kate and or Margaret have any ideas and feedback you may have, along with your views about the timing of next years event; when it should be, and ideas for themes. This year we made the event a bit later. Was this better in your view?

Coming on 7 June: Reflectance Imaging Workshop – more info here soon.

 

Car Boot Sale: Monday May 26th

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The Slingsby car boot sales for 2014 continue with the next one taking place on the Spring bank holiday Monday of May 26th, and as usual the location is Slingsby’s sports field, running from 7 am to 2 pm (weather and ground conditions permitting, of course).

N.B. For general car boot queries, please ring the Sports Club on 01653 627124 (Friday 8.30 pm – 10.30 pm, Saturday 8.30 pm – 11.30 pm and Sunday 8.30 pm – 10.30 pm).

For information about the car boot sale dates for this year, go to the sportsfield page.

Scarecrows, Car Boot and a Maypole

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It’s the busiest weekend of the year for Slingsby with a triple bill of events including the scarecrow trail, a car boot sale and the May Day celebrations taking place.

The Scarecrow trail launches today and continues over the bank holiday weekend, with the other events taking place on Monday 5th.

Commencing at 12 noon on Saturday, 3rd May Scarecrows will be on display around the village raising funds for the Friends of Slingsby School. Chairperson Rebecca Palmer-Bunting says “The designs are becoming more creative year after year. Families put such a lot of hard work into their scarecrows and having had a sneaky peak at a couple of them it is safe to say this year’s will not disappoint”  In recent years over 25 scarecrows have been entered into the annual competition.

Trails are available for £1 from Robin Hood Caravan Park, Tony’s Village Shop and Slingsby School Reading Rooms from 12noon on Saturday 3th May until 4pm on Monday, 5th May. Refreshments will be available 12noon – 4pm in the Reading Rooms on Saturday and Sunday.

This year, there will also be a prize draw for all those that vote for the winner of the scarecrow competition so you could win a £10 voucher just for voting for your favourite scarecrow.

Slingsby’s May Day Celebrations for 2014 will be taking place on Monday, May 5th. 2014 on the Green in Slingsby. 

  • 12.00 noon White Star Band playing
  • 12.45 pm. Acorn Morris Dancers from York.
  • 1.15 pm  Slingsby school children dancing round the Maypole.
  • 1.40 pm  Garland Dancers from Scarborough.
  • 2.00 pm White Star Band.
  • 2.15 pm  Acorn Morris Dancers.
  • 2.35 pm Maypole Dancing with the school children from Slingsby.
  • 3.00 pm Garland Dancers.
  • 3.20 pm Raffle Drawn.
  • 3.20 – 4.-00 pm White Star Band.
There are also various craft stalls, a cake stall, plants, games and refreshments available on the Green.
Donations to cover the cost of holding this event are very welcome – collecting buckets will be doing the rounds.

Last, but not least, there is the first car boot sale of 2014 will be taking place this bank holiday Monday (May 5th) on Slingsby’s sports field, from 7 am to 2 pm (weather and ground conditions permitting, of course).

Slingsby’s Feathery Friends: April

Spring has well and truly arrived and  David Thornley has sent in some more fantastic images of the feathery friends visiting his garden over April.

All of the images were taken using a clever little camera that automatically photographs any wildlife that turns up. I think you’ll agree that these bird portraits are pretty impressive.

Robin Two-robins-Apr14 Lunch-is-here-kids Chaffinch-Apr14 Blackbird-Apr14

Photo of the Month: April 2014

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The Drone Camera flying over Castle Howard – Photo by David Thornley

No photo of the month last month, but it returns with something slightly different for this month’s photo slot. David Thornley has sent this fascinating photo that he took earlier in the month on a visit to Castle Howard. As David explains:-

“A chance visit to Castle Howard today revealed Julia Bradbury doing a shoot for a forthcoming (next year) ITV series called ‘Wonders of Britain’. She was interviewing on the roof, out of shot.
I took two interesting shots, one of a fantastic piece of kit – the drone-cam, and the other of it hovering over the castle roofline. The drone-cam is about 36 inches diameter and no doubt VERY expensive!”

Drone-camera

The Drone Camera – Photo by David Thornley

Do you have a great photograph you’d like to share with us?

If you’d like to submit an image for the photo of the month slot, you can send it to slingsbyphoto@gmail.com

More details about how to submit photographs can be found HERE