Circus of Heaven
What is this all about? Well, it is starting with only a matter of small headline from obscure newspaper somewhere in Jakarta, i guess not much people notice about this newspaper; but hey, newspaper is a newspaper, its function is to bring informations to the public, so, what if the informations is vague in every direction? It could be perilous for the reader, which not so familiar with the particular subjects, so the thing is getting on my nerve & hardly for me to resisting the intuition to write down something for my own pleasure.
So here’s the catch, first, let me tell you, even the title is so subduing me & cannot stop me to start grunting … ‘Boscha to Acquire Telescope for Observing Sun in the Near Future‘, oh well .. please??? Boscha , with single s???? It just a name, yes, it is , but, is this the right thing to do for a newspaper to release a headline news with mistyped name? Are they professional? Besides, there is an ethical rules in professional journalism about telling a name? Am i correct?
Okay, this is the news from this newspaper, (The Point, May, 18th 2007), written as it is (except for the name).
Boscha to Acquire Telescope for Observing Sun in the Near Future
Jakarta, The Point
The Boscha Space Observatory in Lembang, Bandung, West Java, will soon have a new attraction for its visitors in the form of a real-time solar telescope for observing the sun.
“The plan is that the telescope will be available by the end of 2007 at the latest, so that the facility for observing the sun can be made available to visitors at that time,” X, head of Boscha Space Observatory, told Antara in Bandung on Thursday.
He said that the digital telescope would capture the images and the spectrum of the sun in real-time, no delay, adding that it would be the first of its kind in Indonesia. Priced at Rp 200 Million (US$22,727), some parts of the telescope are being made domestically.
“We made some auxiliary parts ourselves in cooperation with ITB faculties of physics and engineering technology,” X said, adding that the telescope would use a lens made by Telescope Coronado, an American producer of lenses and telescopes. “Coronado specializes in solar telescopes.”
The solar telescope, according to X, would be placed in special room next to Boscha Space Observatory’s main hall. “The addition of this telescope in aimed at attracting more visitors as now we can provide more objects in space to be observed.”
He added that the number of visitors averaged 60,000 annually. “The visitors are not only students or researchers, but also the general public as well. Unfortunately, we have to limit the number of visitors to only 500 per day so that research being carried out at the observatory is not affected.”
The numbers of visitors wishing to visit Boscha was on the increase, H. said, but the observatory could not raise the limit. “The visitors mostly come from West Java, Jakarta, Centra Java, East Java, with a few also from other provinces in Indonesia.” (ING)
Oh boy, here they are, another comment & comment & comment, but i think i should mumbling & chattering, no matter what.
Now about the notions
First, yeah, you’ve heard me, how this mistype irritated me so much, they should consider the right name if they want to have good appreciation from readers.
Second, “… new attraction for its visitors” (????) .. heh? attraction? Is not it an observatory? Okay, this as a good thing if we stick to this jargon: “la science pour le public” .. but then again, what about the ‘researcher’, what about the jargon: “to attract researcher from here & there?” .. that would be intriguing.
Third, “Priced at Rp 200 Million … ” , boys & girls .. that quiet pricey .. rrr .. i would not care where were the Bosscha Observatory have the fund, but, for 200 million?? Well, i will drive myself onto this intertwining scenery, about fund, research, public outreach. Wow .. that would be amazing things to see, that would require notion number two and three.
What is the purpose of an observatory? Of course to retrieve scientific informations from heaven, by observation, right? But, for whom it may concern? Scientific community? Public? Or funder? Or? Yeah , that is the complication, i will not dwell much in it. Let me going thru, so, back to this jargon? “la science pour le public” or “la science pour la science”? So, it has to be clear distinction about the role of the observatory, bear with me .. there is a distinct polarity between public interest and scientific purpose.
So, with this instrumentation with quiet that cost, so, who will have the advantage? Scientific community? Public? If for community? Is not that too pricey? Well, i agree to attract more visitors .. that is fine, but, what about the scientific purpose? scientific goal? Or? Is not that great to encourage youngsters to get involved in astronomy? That is great if the youngsters see the aim of scientific interpretations, but if they just mesmerized by the beau of the heaven? They will go home and keep on dreaming about the science fiction mumbo-jumbo of hyper-space jumping thru wormhole, etc. So, basically, this is the basic & most important role of observatory to build knowledge & understanding of science, & encourage youngsters to DO the science, instead of show off the extraordinary beauty of heavens & merely dreaming about it.
Fourth, ” … X said, adding that the telescope would use a lens made by Telescope Coronado, an American producer of lenses and telescopes.” That is true, Coronado is well known & well respected for solar telescope, but .. for amateur astronomer! The rule of thumb for professional astronomer is, “build your own equipment”. I guess Bosscha Observatory is making a good move in this way, but then, the question arise? What is the purpose of this equipment? To attract more and more public attention? What about the scientific objectives?
Now this part is so obscure. Furthermore, it could let some people left in disdain, “Well .. that is the fate of Bosscha observatory, just to provide public attraction only.”
Is not that an ironic? Once there the great Bosscha observatory, which well known as an observatory in southern hemisphere, contributed many many data for International community, but now? Only an old man telling tale for children of his past glorious moment, without realizing that, even that his knowledge should be, wisely passed through the generation. Should one generation of bright astronomer lost? Sounds too pessimistic, that is correct. My opinion is too lousy to think the opposite, not because of i wanted to, but merely because of what i have read. That is only poor judgement. So forgive my manner. But, i will keep on writing.
Fifth, “The solar telescope, according to X, would be placed in special room next to Boscha Space Observatory’s main hall. “The addition of this telescope in aimed at attracting more visitors as now we can provide more objects in space to be observed.”” .. well .. my hunch is correct eventually.
Sixth, “The visitors are not only students or researchers, but also the general public as well. Unfortunately, we have to limit the number of visitors to only 500 per day so that research being carried out at the observatory is not affected.” .. well , how can be one research can be carried out while crowd gather around, eager to watch the object through the instrument? With such 500 visitors per day on average? Who are the visitors? The researcher? Public? So confusing, so this instrument is belong to whom? Of course this is in proper manner, if the priority for research, let’s limit the visitation of public, otherwise, do the opposite.
So, with this staggering & quiet expensive equipment, what will become Bosscha observatory? I am not try to convey opinion about anything, nor pointing my finger for the newspaper nor whoever related to Bosscha observatory, what i am try to point out is, we always face interesting news about the thing here & there, but the news is so elusive, in a sense that we cannot define in a distinct manner, what is the direction of this news. And this news of Bosscha observatory is a simple example: What is the current situation about Bosscha observatory? That is a good thing to provide many new toys for everyone, everyone is happy … hip hip hurrayyy .. but, will this equipment will bring Bosscha observatory to new level of discovery? That is another question, and the answer is lies within youngsters who gather around that new equipment.
I remember part of lyric of this song “Circus of Heaven” from Yes:
“Was that something beautiful, amazing, wonderful, extraordinary beautiful?”
“Oh! it was OK!! But there were no clowns, no tigers, lions or bears,
candy-floss, toffee apples, no clowns.”