February

 2021

The Newsletter of the U3A in Oliva

Issue 58

From our President.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you ‘Kung Hei Fat Choi’ and hope you have a wonderful Year of the Ox filled with health and prosperity – which brings me to … vaccines! It will be a weight off all our shoulders, I’m sure, when we have had the vaccine and can begin to take control of and plan our lives again.
As we head towards this last round in the fight against the pandemic I look back on the past months and think how trying they have been. Although living in Spain is good, not being able to see our families has been difficult.
Your Committee and I have been meeting via Zoom every month – sometimes just to have a get-together and chin wag and I would like to extend the
opportunity to meet up with me via Zoom on Tuesday 2nd March at 10.30 am. If you would like to join me, please reply by email and I will let you have the information you will need to access the Zoom chat. If you would like to participate but do not know how to go about accessing Zoom, then please let me know and I will try to help.

So, take the Bull by the horns and email me and we can have a virtual meet up in March.

Best wishes from myself and your Committee: Anja, Kelvin, Nancy, Diana, Steven, Anthony, Gail, Julie, Francoise, Kathleen and John

Barry

 

Many happy return to Iris Vaughan – 93 this month. Stanley Kubrick and Andy Warhol were both born in this year. Heard the expression ‘The best thing since sliced bread’? That was first patented in 1928, and in the same year Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin. Some year, huh?

Since then, of course, we’ve had the invention of Scotch Tape, the folding wheelchair, ‘cats’ eyes’, nylon, and countless other devices, some for the better, some not so…

And Iris has lived through them all!

Some years ago, Iris thought up this lovely poem. Due to failing eyesight she couldn’t write it down, so she memorised it and can still recall it today.

Enjoy:

Now that I am Ninety
by Iris Rose Vaughan

I’m so glad that I’ve reached ninety

Well passed my sell by date

I never thought I’d get there

When I was eighty eight

Growing old is not easy,

When your eyes are getting dim,

I cannot see to pluck the hairs,

That grow upon my chin.

Being hard of hearing

Has its moment too,

When someone whisper in my ear,

“Do you want the loo?”

I look at them in puzzlement,

And think, ‘what did they say’?

I reply “I’ll take a raincheck

And go next Saturday.”

Growing old is not easy

You’ve often heard it said.

I have got two daughters

Who say ‘Mum, it’s time you went bed.

So like a little good girl,

I toddle off to bed,

I say my prayers, and snuggle down,

Glad that I’m not dead.

I have a lovely family,

They really are the best,

And I know in my heart of hearts,

That I am truly blessed.

They all in turn look after me,

And give me lots of pleasure,

Their thoughtfulness and kindness,

I will always treasure.

Growing old’s not easy.

Life is not so bad,

If you’ve got all your marbles,

There’s no time to be sad

For life is what you make of it,

It does decree your fate,

I’m glad I’ve got to ninety.

Well past my sell by date.

 

The Night Sky

Arc to Arcturus
The late Winter evenings still have the bright constellations Orion, Taurus, Canis Major and Gemini shining brightly. There is just 1 solitary planet visible and that is Mars which has now become much less brilliant and its image size has shrunk so making any observations of its surface almost impossible. Mars is located in the dim constellation Aries, the Ram.
The brightest star Sirius can still be seen high in the sky after dark sparkling and flashing many colours in our unsteady atmosphere. Take a little time and gaze at it and you will notice many hues are seen particularly as it is rising.

The constellations of Spring are now appearing in the night sky and although quite small and rather dim Cancer is an original Greek constellation. Cancer is located between the stars Castor and Pollux, the bright stars which mark the “Heads of the Twins”, and the “Backward Question Mark” shape which marks “The Head of Leo”. As you can guess astronomers have a vivid imagination. Cancer is a Zodiacal Constellation, the Sun, the Moon and the planets pass through it during their motions. Cancer contains no bright stars; it represents the Crab which crept out of the swamp and nipped Heracles as he fought the monster Hydra, one of his twelve labours. Heracles stamped on the crab and crushed it, but its valiant effort was rewarded by the Goddess Hera, a bitter enemy of Heracles, who placed it in the heavens. There is one object of interest in Cancer which is easily visible using binoculars, Praesepe, also known as the “Beehive Cluster”. is composed of many dim stars arranged in the shape of an old-fashioned conical beehive, complete with a few bees buzzing around it. The famous French astronomer Charles Messier recorded as M44 in his famous catalogue.
Later in the night take a look at the “Plough” asterism, it will be seen standing upright and the “Handle” stars are high above the horizon. If the arc of stars forming the “Plough’s handle” are extended they point to the 4th brightest star in the sky Arcturus. Arcturus is the bright orange coloured lead star of Boötes, The Herdsman. Arcturus is a huge star approximately 25 times the diameter of our Sun and lies approximately 37 light years distant. The orange colour allows astronomers to determine the stars surface temperature a relatively cool 4200 K compared to our Sun’s 5800 K. Arcturus is the brightest star in North of the Celestial Equator. The brightest stars of Boötes form the outline of child’s kite. In Ancient Greece the Heliacal Rising of Arcturus, that is rising just before the Sun, marked the time to begin the harvest of grapes.
Although Boötes is a large constellation there is little of interest within it for users of binoculars and small telescopes except the double star ε (Epsilon) Boötis, “Pulcherrima” given its name by the famous observer 19th century astronomer F G W Struve. Struve noted the contrasting colours of the stars as yellowish orange and bluish green. The description of colours of double stars is always difficult and many observers describe it as orange and green.
Take great care and keep safe. If you would like more information about astronomy please e-mail james.ince1@tiscali.co.uk

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