I once tried to see everything there is to see in Paris in nine days, with mixed results. A co-worker and I had strayed from our official duties at a trade convention in order to see the sights there. I say “strayed” which may be a tad imprecise. The convention was in…
|Rachel Dolezal, the white-black woman, is rather interesting. When I was young, people had to be gay to be that interesting. Now when someone comes out as…|
Added by Brad Snowder on March 28, 2015 at 2:21pm — No Comments
Cassiopeia the Queen
Added by Brad Snowder on March 21, 2015 at 12:59am — No Comments
Have you ever discovered a telescope eyepiece in the pocket of your pajamas? Have you ever measured your roof for a dome? Do you know how to pronounce Cassiopeia? If so, you may have wondered, "is there hope for…
"There is something in Stonehenge almost reassuring; and if you are disposed to feel that life is rather a superficial matter, and that we soon get to the bottom of things, the immemorial gray pillars may serve to remind you of the enormous background of time." ~ Henry James 1875 CE…
The old school definition of the planets was "Any of these seven celestial bodies, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, that shineth and wandereth about the starry heavens" or something like that. The specific language has been…
And who shall separate the dust
The high, the low, the rich, the poor,
|What is the nature of interstellar dust? How does it affect the starlight that passes through it? What can be done to locate and catalog the numerous, small, tenuous dust clouds that populate our galaxy at the higher latitudes? Is it possible to somehow vacuum under my refrigerator without moving the damn…|
Today I learned something. It's about something that happened to me about 40 years ago. I was 18 and went to see my dad. He was in his barn, tending to his favorite cow. I said I was planning to go to college. He said if I went to Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville,…
The significance of the "Copernican Revolution" is that as soon you embrace the Sun as a star, you are immediately faced with the possibility that when you look out into space, someone or something is looking back. Before Copernicus most people thought the Earth was pretty much the whole Universe so the idea of aliens on other planets really creeped them out. The Jesuits had enough trouble deciding whether or not Native Americans had souls, let alone ET. Did each planet…Continue
Added by Brad Snowder on April 5, 2014 at 11:53pm — No Comments
There have been thousands of science geeks contributing to astronomy over the centuries and millennia. Here are a mere handful that have been selected from some of the most significant figures. Some of these people are real icons of human history, big thinkers. As Isaac Newton once said "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."…Continue
Added by Brad Snowder on March 22, 2014 at 10:52pm — No Comments
"The infinitude of creation is great enough to make a world, or a Milky Way of worlds, look in comparison with it what a flower or an insect does in comparison with the Earth." ~ Immanuel Kant
Galaxies are monstrous collections of stars, plus dust, gas, light matter, dark matter, and gray matter. In a fundamental way galaxies are…
Added by Brad Snowder on March 15, 2014 at 10:30pm — No Comments
"The drum in a dream pounds loud to the dreamer." ~ Carl Sandburg
Anisotropy: This term is frequently used to describe the temperature fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background. The word means not uniform, or not the same. Like if you dressed a calico cat with a plaid kilt then filled it with dark energy and exploded it for 13.76 billion years.
I must go down to the seas again,
To the lonely sea and the sky.
And all I want is a tall ship,
And a star to steer her by.
~ John Masefield
Suppose you lived in olden times and you joined a fleet of wooden ships and iron men. Or maybe it's wooden teeth and dirty old men. Whichever. But if you didn't know the basics of using a star to steer a…
Comets are essentially big dirty snowballs, the kind you throw at someone you really don't like. They are mostly made of muddy stinky ice, and bits of dust and little rocks.
Comets are about the size of cities and towns, sort of like frozen lakes in space. We've had a few that were the size of big cities like L.A. and one that was even bigger. But the majority are…