Scientists at Glastonbury Observatory are warning that Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, will pass unusually close to the earth later this year – the closest it has been in the last 500 years. And this is particularly important for Glastonbury Tor as it is the highest geographical feature in South West England.
This news comes hot on the tails of the recent supermoon and supersun in 2011, both of which posed their own set of risks to visitors at Glastonbury Tor, while delighting those visitors who are keen on extreme sports.
Kirsten Denier from Glastonbury Observatory is keen to make visitors to the tor aware of the special risks posed by Super Jupiter; “All of the planets go around the sun in a different elliptical orbit and there are times when some get unusually close to each other. Obviously this is all completely normal and has been going on for thousands of years without a hitch. But according to our calculations, later this year when Jupiter flies very close to Somerset a number of things will happen that people need to consider. Anyone with binoculars will have a great time because you will be able to make out details on the surface of Jupiter and its moons that would normally be invisible to all but the most powerful telescope.”
But Denier continued; “However, we anticipate that because Jupiter is so big it will exert a gravitational pull that will make everything in Somerset about 5% lighter. This might not sound like much, but for visitors to Glastonbury Tor who are that much closer the effect is even stronger. If you are planning on pitching a tent on Glastonbury Tor you should consider using twice as many tent pegs, and if you bring a child you should hold its hand firmly while standing on the peak.”
Visitors to Glastonbury Tor might consider weighing themselves down with Kendal Mint Cake, which is available in 10kg bars at the gift shop.
Cosmologist Kirsten Denier from Glastonbury Observatory explained; “St. Michael’s Tower has always been a hive of activity, and even before the prison closure in January everyone has managed to coexist in this beautiful mystical space. However, since the Breville toast-making display went live last week it’s been nothing but trouble for us. Smoke from burnt toast has poured into the observatory, and the smoke alarms have been going off and disrupting our astral observations at the most inconvenient times.”
Uther Henge, the top mystical consultant at the National Trust, who leaves his duties at the gift shop twice a day to lead visitors through a presentation Toast, the Tor, Past Present and Future, was keen to placate the observatory; “Nobody predicted how much toast the visitors to the tor would burn. You know the settings on some of the old toasters were frightfully hard to get right, especially if you’re using the double-insertion method for even browning. We have installed a new extractor fan in the demonstration area, so we hope the smoke from burnt toast will vent away from the observatory in future.”
As a gesture of goodwill Henge delivered a tray of hot lentil tea and toast with lashings of Hobgoblin Marmalade to the cosmologists in the observatory.
Many visitors to Glastonbury Tor are unaware that the huge telescope is mounted on the top floor of St. Michael’s Tower, gazing skyward.
Glastonbury Chakra Boatworks Limited (GCB), the company responsible for the construction of Glastonbury Marina declined to make a formal comment, but we did catch their Chief Executive Jane Mellor today who confirmed that they are well ahead of schedule, and that subject to final planning approval, the marina should be fully excavated next month.
But when he talked to us today, cosmologist Kirsten Denier from Glastonbury Observatory looked dejected; “We have spent the last 23 years mapping the skies above Glastonbury engaged in important research into the effect of distant astral bodies on horoscopes. We have made major scientific breakthroughs. For example, in 2009 we proved conclusively that Sagittarians really do come into some luck when Neptune is in the harmonic ascendant third quadrant. But since they started night-dredging at Glastonbury Marina our discoveries have become few and far between, and the predictions we make in our horoscopes have become terribly inaccurate.”