| Jul 10, 2019

For this year’s annual Pie in the Sky Maberly Fair fundraiser. Fred Barrett wanted to give visitors a unique view of our Sun, with a Hydrogen Alpha B2200 telescope.

“It let’s you see fine details in black spots and flares,” he said.

The only problem was, the clouds weren’t in a mood to cooperate, thwarting his best attempts to zero in on the big fireball in the sky.

So, he decided to concede defeat.

However, as the Frontenac News columnist has demonstrated over the past two months, he’s quite prepared to talk about nothing, as it pertains to stellar concerns.

In particular, black holes and the origins of the universe.

“Maybe there wasn’t a Big Bang,” he said. “I’ve not yet shifted to the ‘no big bang’ school of thought but my mind is open.

“Perhaps there is just budding off of new universes.”

Or how about black holes, the ultimate nothings, and how they relate to the Big Bang.

“Science doesn’t have the math to describe an infinite singularity,” he said. “And math hates inifinity.”

When originally proposed, the Big Bang Theory was thought to be ridiculous, he said.

“Maybe it is. And then there is the theory of alternate universes, but I’m not sure how that would negate the Big Bang, or the gig expansion.”

Getting back to what was supposed to be the topic of the day, the Sun, Barrett said it’s probably his favourite cosmic object, because “it’s so dynamic, with so much going on.

“Except that there’s next to nothing going on right now. We’re still at a stellar minimum which should last about another five or six years when activity should increase.”

Barrett said he got hooked on astronomy in 1997 (“or was it 1996”) when he picked up an astronomy book for something to read while on a trip to visit his mom in Montreal.

“I’ve always been fascinated by astronomy,” he said. “The next thing you know, I had my first 4 ½“ reflector.”

He gradually evolved to solar watching but while the sun my be his favourite object out there, it’s “only barely.

“There are so, many beautiful deep space objects. Take the constellation Orion, for example.

“It has many nebulae and there are stars being born there right now.”

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