200 Million Year Long Workshop!
On Saturday, 16 March 2002, an IAAA ‘mini-workshop’, organized by Richard Bizley, was held in Lyme Regis, Dorset, England. The aim was to search for fossils, which are quite common on this coast, aided by Steve Davies of the Dinosaurland Fossil Museum (www.dinosaurland.co.uk). Despite an atrocious forecast, the weather was kind; attendees even had blue sky and sunshine for a while. The walk went very well, and everyone enjoyed themselves, including, of course, the evening meal with the obligatory Orange Food. Richard and Ruth are to be congratulated on their hospitality, and Richard’s work was much admired too. A few fossils, mainly ammonites, were found, but the fun was in the looking. Thanks, too, to Steve Davies, the fossil expert, who led the Walk and gave us much useful information on dinosaurs and such. That evening, Dave Hardy was presented with his framed Rudaux Award by Jackie Burns.
The best time, apparently, to find fossils at Lyme Regis is in the early spring spring high tides and storms churn up the deposited fossils, and after a recent rain-fall, the water running off the cliffs around the local beaches wash down fossils and open up new sections of the cliffs after land slides. You may ask what has paleontology to do with astronomical art? Aside from the fun of having a get-together, both are looking back in time. A *long* time. Much of astronomy is really paleo-physics. It’s hard to imagine timescales of hundreds of millions of years. The light we see now from the Coma Cluster of galaxies departed when these primitive creatures swam in a shallow tropical sea. What we see on the ground and in the sky are the same age. So you can look up or look down for inspiration!