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Does anyone know anything about astronomy?

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  • rathin31
    Hello friends, I have a perplexing question, no doubt a product of my ignorance. It is to do with the night sky, and the stars that can be seen in it. Now, it
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 29, 2007
      Hello friends, I have a perplexing question, no doubt a product of my
      ignorance. It is to do with the night sky, and the stars that can be
      seen in it. Now, it is generally agreed that the earth orbits around
      the sun, a proposition that seems sensible enough. One lap around the
      sun takes one year. Therefore, six months from now, our location in
      the solar system will be as far from this spot as we can get (assuming
      that 'this spot' is some kind of fixed location- which it is not...
      but that's a whole separate issue). Anyway, when it is night, our bit
      of planet earth is facing away from the sun, out into the cosmos. So,
      in six months time, why aren't we looking out into a completely
      different night sky, rather than one that is just a little different?
      Here in the southern hemisphere, I can see the Southern Cross, and I'm
      pretty sure it's visible all year round. So why will I see mostly the
      same stars, six months from now? Are there any amateur (or
      professional) astronomers who can relieve my state of befuddlement?

      Cosmically yours,
      Rathin
    • johnji_nz
      Hi Rathin, Believe it or not I have a university paper in astronomy under my belt. Which doesn t actually mean that I know anything about the topic, but that
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 30, 2007
        Hi Rathin,

        Believe it or not I have a university paper in astronomy under my
        belt. Which doesn't actually mean that I know anything about the
        topic, but that would be another story—literally, included below...

        My best guess answer to your question however is that neither the
        night sky nor the sun are stationery—they are all moving or rotating
        as a part of greater gravitational masses and inter-relationships, and
        perhaps there is a orbit of the sun in relation to the greater galaxy
        of stars which it is a part of (The Milky Way) which influences the
        shape and make of our visible night sky, aside from just the rotation
        of our planet.

        But I bet there is someone out there who has a better answer—or even
        one that is correct! (Shane?)


        A pale blue dot

        I did a university paper in astronomy way back when, more because of
        an affinity for the vastness and mystery of our night-sky than a
        liking of physics—or for that matter anything else remotely
        mathematical. Of course I got far more of the latter than the former:
        the mundane practicalities of "matter", and it's arcane but definitely
        not mystical workings. And the passage of light through space, and its
        refraction and reflection, some of which "rationally unsound" people
        have the temerity to call beautiful.

        It was anything but what you might call magical. A subject which the
        artistically inclined write best forgotten, angst-ridden poems about
        during their formative years—I didn't actually, but I'm sure you know
        the stereotype—except with every single drop of the poetry, and angst,
        removed.

        The very first point of order in my first astronomy class, right after
        the professor introduced himself, was to confirm that for the next
        semester this class would be on the subject of astronomy, not
        astrology, and were anyone interested in the latter, now might be a
        good time to head for the door...

        I was almost shown the door a little later on when, after closely
        querying the rules regarding the meeting of 'terms', or the minimum
        course requirements for continued enrollment—a different matter from
        actually passing, but an essential prerequisite—noted that handing in
        lab assignments was essential, but not their completion. Following the
        academic law to it's actual letter got me a small measure of infamy,
        when my named, titled but otherwise blank lab paper was displayed, to
        the lecturer's very public scorn and derision, and announcement that
        the rules would be amended hence-forth to require completion.

        Nevertheless, I am somewhat proud of the fact that I passed the course
        without learning a single equation, taking a single practical lab or
        even doing one experiment! Like standing outside during the midwinter
        dusk, recording the setting time of the sun in a log, where knowledge
        of the fact that the sun sets at a time four minutes different every
        day enabled me to complete the assignment, and terms as well, in the
        greater comfort and warmth of inside. Budding astronomers will know
        that the accuracy of this figure is determined by the precise
        longitude of your location, the axial tilt of Earth and it's movement
        around the sun, but my heart really wasn't in the details.

        Likewise in my major subject, Theatre and Film, where I never read the
        plays, and am proof that you can have enough of an informed opinion on
        plays and their authors to pass without actually reading them!

        At this point, you might question what I was actually doing at
        university, and quite correctly, for I certainly was at the time. In
        all honesty, I really had no idea what else to do with myself, and my
        just initiated meditation practise had yet to show me the heavenly
        door I was really searching for.
        The Earth, a pale blue dot

        The real reason I did astronomy, my love for the mystery, beauty and
        sheer vastness of the infinite black that surrounds us, a form of
        aspiration that would in time become an all-engulfing quest for the
        infinite within us, is touched upon in a talk by one of the
        discipline's pre-eminent minds—the late astronomer and humanist Carl
        Sagan. Perhaps best known to the general public as the
        writer/presenter of the tv series Cosmos and author of the best
        selling novel (and later film) Contact, a fictional book with a
        conclusion so fantastic my twelve year old self fervently wished it be
        true, Sagan delivered the following lecture on the subject of a photo
        taken of the Earth from the Voyager I space probe, four billion miles
        distant in space, and at exactly the time my student self was not
        recording the setting of the evening sun...

        "We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if
        you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On
        it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived,
        lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings,
        thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines,
        every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and
        destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple
        in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor
        and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every
        superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history
        of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

        The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of
        the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that
        in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a
        fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the
        inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable
        inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their
        misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent
        their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the
        delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are
        challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck
        in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this
        vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to
        save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy
        is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my
        mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human
        conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it
        underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately
        with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the
        only home we've ever known."

        John-Paul

        --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, rathin31
        <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hello friends, I have a perplexing question, no doubt a product of my
        > ignorance. It is to do with the night sky, and the stars that can be
        > seen in it. Now, it is generally agreed that the earth orbits around
        > the sun, a proposition that seems sensible enough. One lap around the
        > sun takes one year. Therefore, six months from now, our location in
        > the solar system will be as far from this spot as we can get (assuming
        > that 'this spot' is some kind of fixed location- which it is not...
        > but that's a whole separate issue). Anyway, when it is night, our bit
        > of planet earth is facing away from the sun, out into the cosmos. So,
        > in six months time, why aren't we looking out into a completely
        > different night sky, rather than one that is just a little different?
        > Here in the southern hemisphere, I can see the Southern Cross, and I'm
        > pretty sure it's visible all year round. So why will I see mostly the
        > same stars, six months from now? Are there any amateur (or
        > professional) astronomers who can relieve my state of befuddlement?
        >
        > Cosmically yours,
        > Rathin
        >
      • candidsnap
        Rathin, I don t want to brag, but yes, I know much about nothing as a general rule. To answer your question, I believe that the orbit of your head is twice as
        Message 3 of 6 , May 2, 2007
          Rathin,

          I don't want to brag, but yes, I know much about nothing as a general
          rule.

          To answer your question, I believe that the orbit of your head is twice
          as fast as the orbit of the earth, hence you are still looking in the
          same general direction six months later. In your case, this is caused by
          your propensity to run around in circles for a very long time. Anyone so
          adroit with a GPS should know that; but if pain persists, please see
          your doctor immediately.

          I am very grateful to you for your question. Last time I posted here I
          received a large number of hits to my blog. As a result, I wrote a
          little poem as a way of saying thank you for visiting. Dear Reader, I
          hope you are inspired now to have a look at Song of The Internet
          <http://thousandeye.blogspot.com/2007/05/song-of-internet.html> -
          perhaps you will find your self there.

          Thus I do not feel like such a shameless self promoter, riding under
          your banner, so to speak.

          In joy,

          Alf.


          --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, rathin31 <no_reply@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Hello friends, I have a perplexing question, no doubt a product of my
          > ignorance. It is to do with the night sky, and the stars that can be
          > seen in it. Now, it is generally agreed that the earth orbits around
          > the sun, a proposition that seems sensible enough. One lap around the
          > sun takes one year. Therefore, six months from now, our location in
          > the solar system will be as far from this spot as we can get (assuming
          > that 'this spot' is some kind of fixed location- which it is not...
          > but that's a whole separate issue). Anyway, when it is night, our bit
          > of planet earth is facing away from the sun, out into the cosmos. So,
          > in six months time, why aren't we looking out into a completely
          > different night sky, rather than one that is just a little different?
          > Here in the southern hemisphere, I can see the Southern Cross, and I'm
          > pretty sure it's visible all year round. So why will I see mostly the
          > same stars, six months from now? Are there any amateur (or
          > professional) astronomers who can relieve my state of befuddlement?
          >
          > Cosmically yours,
          > Rathin
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • cott_doris
          Boy...I will print this one and hang up at our Centre board! It deserves to be published in all places where people are seeking for inspiration in their lives.
          Message 4 of 6 , May 3, 2007
            Boy...I will print this one and hang up at our Centre board! It
            deserves to be published in all places where people are seeking for
            inspiration in their lives.

            Thank you very much

            Doris



            --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, johnji_nz
            <no_reply@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Rathin,
            >
            > Believe it or not I have a university paper in astronomy under my
            > belt. Which doesn't actually mean that I know anything about the
            > topic, but that would be another story�literally, included below...
            >
            > My best guess answer to your question however is that neither the
            > night sky nor the sun are stationery�they are all moving or
            rotating
            > as a part of greater gravitational masses and inter-relationships,
            and
            > perhaps there is a orbit of the sun in relation to the greater
            galaxy
            > of stars which it is a part of (The Milky Way) which influences the
            > shape and make of our visible night sky, aside from just the
            rotation
            > of our planet.
            >
            > But I bet there is someone out there who has a better answer�or
            even
            > one that is correct! (Shane?)
            >
            >
            > A pale blue dot
            >
            > I did a university paper in astronomy way back when, more because of
            > an affinity for the vastness and mystery of our night-sky than a
            > liking of physics�or for that matter anything else remotely
            > mathematical. Of course I got far more of the latter than the
            former:
            > the mundane practicalities of "matter", and it's arcane but
            definitely
            > not mystical workings. And the passage of light through space, and
            its
            > refraction and reflection, some of which "rationally unsound" people
            > have the temerity to call beautiful.
            >
            > It was anything but what you might call magical. A subject which the
            > artistically inclined write best forgotten, angst-ridden poems about
            > during their formative years�I didn't actually, but I'm sure you
            know
            > the stereotype�except with every single drop of the poetry, and
            angst,
            > removed.
            >
            > The very first point of order in my first astronomy class, right
            after
            > the professor introduced himself, was to confirm that for the next
            > semester this class would be on the subject of astronomy, not
            > astrology, and were anyone interested in the latter, now might be a
            > good time to head for the door...
            >
            > I was almost shown the door a little later on when, after closely
            > querying the rules regarding the meeting of 'terms', or the minimum
            > course requirements for continued enrollment�a different matter
            from
            > actually passing, but an essential prerequisite�noted that handing
            in
            > lab assignments was essential, but not their completion. Following
            the
            > academic law to it's actual letter got me a small measure of infamy,
            > when my named, titled but otherwise blank lab paper was displayed,
            to
            > the lecturer's very public scorn and derision, and announcement that
            > the rules would be amended hence-forth to require completion.
            >
            > Nevertheless, I am somewhat proud of the fact that I passed the
            course
            > without learning a single equation, taking a single practical lab or
            > even doing one experiment! Like standing outside during the
            midwinter
            > dusk, recording the setting time of the sun in a log, where
            knowledge
            > of the fact that the sun sets at a time four minutes different every
            > day enabled me to complete the assignment, and terms as well, in the
            > greater comfort and warmth of inside. Budding astronomers will know
            > that the accuracy of this figure is determined by the precise
            > longitude of your location, the axial tilt of Earth and it's
            movement
            > around the sun, but my heart really wasn't in the details.
            >
            > Likewise in my major subject, Theatre and Film, where I never read
            the
            > plays, and am proof that you can have enough of an informed opinion
            on
            > plays and their authors to pass without actually reading them!
            >
            > At this point, you might question what I was actually doing at
            > university, and quite correctly, for I certainly was at the time. In
            > all honesty, I really had no idea what else to do with myself, and
            my
            > just initiated meditation practise had yet to show me the heavenly
            > door I was really searching for.
            > The Earth, a pale blue dot
            >
            > The real reason I did astronomy, my love for the mystery, beauty and
            > sheer vastness of the infinite black that surrounds us, a form of
            > aspiration that would in time become an all-engulfing quest for the
            > infinite within us, is touched upon in a talk by one of the
            > discipline's pre-eminent minds�the late astronomer and humanist
            Carl
            > Sagan. Perhaps best known to the general public as the
            > writer/presenter of the tv series Cosmos and author of the best
            > selling novel (and later film) Contact, a fictional book with a
            > conclusion so fantastic my twelve year old self fervently wished it
            be
            > true, Sagan delivered the following lecture on the subject of a
            photo
            > taken of the Earth from the Voyager I space probe, four billion
            miles
            > distant in space, and at exactly the time my student self was not
            > recording the setting of the evening sun...
            >
            > "We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if
            > you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us.
            On
            > it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived,
            > lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings,
            > thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines,
            > every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and
            > destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young
            couple
            > in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every
            inventor
            > and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician,
            every
            > superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the
            history
            > of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a
            sunbeam.
            >
            > The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of
            > the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so
            that
            > in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a
            > fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the
            > inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable
            > inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their
            > misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how
            fervent
            > their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the
            > delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are
            > challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck
            > in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this
            > vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to
            > save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that
            astronomy
            > is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To
            my
            > mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human
            > conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it
            > underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and
            compassionately
            > with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the
            > only home we've ever known."
            >
            > John-Paul
            >
            > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, rathin31
            > <no_reply@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Hello friends, I have a perplexing question, no doubt a product
            of my
            > > ignorance. It is to do with the night sky, and the stars that can
            be
            > > seen in it. Now, it is generally agreed that the earth orbits
            around
            > > the sun, a proposition that seems sensible enough. One lap around
            the
            > > sun takes one year. Therefore, six months from now, our location
            in
            > > the solar system will be as far from this spot as we can get
            (assuming
            > > that 'this spot' is some kind of fixed location- which it is
            not...
            > > but that's a whole separate issue). Anyway, when it is night, our
            bit
            > > of planet earth is facing away from the sun, out into the cosmos.
            So,
            > > in six months time, why aren't we looking out into a completely
            > > different night sky, rather than one that is just a little
            different?
            > > Here in the southern hemisphere, I can see the Southern Cross,
            and I'm
            > > pretty sure it's visible all year round. So why will I see mostly
            the
            > > same stars, six months from now? Are there any amateur (or
            > > professional) astronomers who can relieve my state of
            befuddlement?
            > >
            > > Cosmically yours,
            > > Rathin
            > >
            >
          • rathin31
            Hi John-Paul, thank you for answering (or not answering) my question in such an entertaining, informative, and autobiographical way. Perhaps some cosmic
            Message 5 of 6 , May 3, 2007
              Hi John-Paul, thank you for answering (or not answering) my question
              in such an entertaining, informative, and autobiographical way.
              Perhaps some cosmic phenomena are destined to remain ever unknowable.

              In my search for astronomical knowledge I came across an article that
              discussed the apparent difference in the size of the moon when seen
              close to the horizon, and when it is high above us. I had been led to
              believe that this was a result of being able to compare the moon to
              familiar earthly objects when it is close to the horizon, and not
              being able to compare it with anything terrestrial when it is high
              above us (save the odd flock of snow white geese gliding majestically
              through the ether.) But, this article suggested the moon may actually
              look bigger (as opposed to appearing to look bigger, if you can accept
              that distinction) when it is near the horizon! Or.. it may not! No-one
              seems to know for sure (this article, by the way, was rated as
              'excellent' on an astronomy website.)

              Anyhow, Sri Chinmoy relates the following riddle in his book
              'Relaxation-Secrets For The Pressured Mind', which seems highly
              appropriate to include at this point:

              Tell me, Australia or the moon, which one is further away?

              Australia, because I can see the moon.

              (quote from http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/)

              Rathin


              --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, johnji_nz
              <no_reply@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Rathin,
              >
              > Believe it or not I have a university paper in astronomy under my
              > belt. Which doesn't actually mean that I know anything about the
              > topic, but that would be another story—literally, included below...
              >
              > My best guess answer to your question however is that neither the
              > night sky nor the sun are stationery—they are all moving or rotating
              > as a part of greater gravitational masses and inter-relationships, and
              > perhaps there is a orbit of the sun in relation to the greater galaxy
              > of stars which it is a part of (The Milky Way) which influences the
              > shape and make of our visible night sky, aside from just the rotation
              > of our planet.
              >
              > But I bet there is someone out there who has a better answer—or even
              > one that is correct! (Shane?)
              >
              >
              > A pale blue dot
              >
              > I did a university paper in astronomy way back when, more because of
              > an affinity for the vastness and mystery of our night-sky than a
              > liking of physics—or for that matter anything else remotely
              > mathematical. Of course I got far more of the latter than the former:
              > the mundane practicalities of "matter", and it's arcane but definitely
              > not mystical workings. And the passage of light through space, and its
              > refraction and reflection, some of which "rationally unsound" people
              > have the temerity to call beautiful.
              >
              > It was anything but what you might call magical. A subject which the
              > artistically inclined write best forgotten, angst-ridden poems about
              > during their formative years—I didn't actually, but I'm sure you know
              > the stereotype—except with every single drop of the poetry, and angst,
              > removed.
              >
              > The very first point of order in my first astronomy class, right after
              > the professor introduced himself, was to confirm that for the next
              > semester this class would be on the subject of astronomy, not
              > astrology, and were anyone interested in the latter, now might be a
              > good time to head for the door...
              >
              > I was almost shown the door a little later on when, after closely
              > querying the rules regarding the meeting of 'terms', or the minimum
              > course requirements for continued enrollment—a different matter from
              > actually passing, but an essential prerequisite—noted that handing in
              > lab assignments was essential, but not their completion. Following the
              > academic law to it's actual letter got me a small measure of infamy,
              > when my named, titled but otherwise blank lab paper was displayed, to
              > the lecturer's very public scorn and derision, and announcement that
              > the rules would be amended hence-forth to require completion.
              >
              > Nevertheless, I am somewhat proud of the fact that I passed the course
              > without learning a single equation, taking a single practical lab or
              > even doing one experiment! Like standing outside during the midwinter
              > dusk, recording the setting time of the sun in a log, where knowledge
              > of the fact that the sun sets at a time four minutes different every
              > day enabled me to complete the assignment, and terms as well, in the
              > greater comfort and warmth of inside. Budding astronomers will know
              > that the accuracy of this figure is determined by the precise
              > longitude of your location, the axial tilt of Earth and it's movement
              > around the sun, but my heart really wasn't in the details.
              >
              > Likewise in my major subject, Theatre and Film, where I never read the
              > plays, and am proof that you can have enough of an informed opinion on
              > plays and their authors to pass without actually reading them!
              >
              > At this point, you might question what I was actually doing at
              > university, and quite correctly, for I certainly was at the time. In
              > all honesty, I really had no idea what else to do with myself, and my
              > just initiated meditation practise had yet to show me the heavenly
              > door I was really searching for.
              > The Earth, a pale blue dot
              >
              > The real reason I did astronomy, my love for the mystery, beauty and
              > sheer vastness of the infinite black that surrounds us, a form of
              > aspiration that would in time become an all-engulfing quest for the
              > infinite within us, is touched upon in a talk by one of the
              > discipline's pre-eminent minds—the late astronomer and humanist Carl
              > Sagan. Perhaps best known to the general public as the
              > writer/presenter of the tv series Cosmos and author of the best
              > selling novel (and later film) Contact, a fictional book with a
              > conclusion so fantastic my twelve year old self fervently wished it be
              > true, Sagan delivered the following lecture on the subject of a photo
              > taken of the Earth from the Voyager I space probe, four billion miles
              > distant in space, and at exactly the time my student self was not
              > recording the setting of the evening sun...
              >
              > "We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if
              > you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On
              > it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived,
              > lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings,
              > thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines,
              > every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and
              > destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple
              > in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor
              > and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every
              > superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history
              > of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
              >
              > The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of
              > the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that
              > in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a
              > fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the
              > inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable
              > inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their
              > misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent
              > their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the
              > delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are
              > challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck
              > in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this
              > vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to
              > save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy
              > is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my
              > mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human
              > conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it
              > underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately
              > with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the
              > only home we've ever known."
              >
              > John-Paul
              >
              > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, rathin31
              > <no_reply@> wrote:
              > >
              > > Hello friends, I have a perplexing question, no doubt a product of my
              > > ignorance. It is to do with the night sky, and the stars that can be
              > > seen in it. Now, it is generally agreed that the earth orbits around
              > > the sun, a proposition that seems sensible enough. One lap around the
              > > sun takes one year. Therefore, six months from now, our location in
              > > the solar system will be as far from this spot as we can get (assuming
              > > that 'this spot' is some kind of fixed location- which it is not...
              > > but that's a whole separate issue). Anyway, when it is night, our bit
              > > of planet earth is facing away from the sun, out into the cosmos. So,
              > > in six months time, why aren't we looking out into a completely
              > > different night sky, rather than one that is just a little different?
              > > Here in the southern hemisphere, I can see the Southern Cross, and I'm
              > > pretty sure it's visible all year round. So why will I see mostly the
              > > same stars, six months from now? Are there any amateur (or
              > > professional) astronomers who can relieve my state of befuddlement?
              > >
              > > Cosmically yours,
              > > Rathin
              > >
              >
            • rathin31
              Thank you so much for the enlightening banter Alf, but I believe I am on the way to solving my astronomical conundrum. Why do we see some of the same stars in
              Message 6 of 6 , May 5, 2007
                Thank you so much for the enlightening banter Alf, but I believe I am
                on the way to solving my astronomical conundrum. Why do we see some of
                the same stars in the sky six months from now, despite being as far
                away from this point of our planetary orbit as we can get, whilst
                looking out into the cosmos in the other direction to the one we can
                look out into tonight? Because our world is a sphere, and most of us
                do not live on the equator. Being "down under" here in Australia, we
                are always to an extent looking "down" into the great star-studded
                vault of the cosmos, just as those who are in the Northern Hemisphere
                are looking up.

                Now for a trick question! How many constellations are there in the
                Zodiac? 12, you might reply? Well, what about Ophiuchus, the Serpent
                Wrestler? His constellation, the 13th, was booted out of the company
                of star signs by the Greeks, who wanted a nice neat 12 signs, each one
                ruling an even 30 degrees of the sky. If your birthday falls between
                November 30 and December 17, which is when the sun passes through
                Ophiuchus, you could claim him as your star sign (unofficially). You
                can see where to find him at
                http://www.startistics.com/ophiuchus/ophiuchus3.htm#Find%20Ophiuchus

                Rathin

                --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, candidsnap
                <no_reply@...> wrote:
                >
                > Rathin,
                >
                > I don't want to brag, but yes, I know much about nothing as a general
                > rule.
                >
                > To answer your question, I believe that the orbit of your head is twice
                > as fast as the orbit of the earth, hence you are still looking in the
                > same general direction six months later. In your case, this is caused by
                > your propensity to run around in circles for a very long time. Anyone so
                > adroit with a GPS should know that; but if pain persists, please see
                > your doctor immediately.
                >
                > I am very grateful to you for your question. Last time I posted here I
                > received a large number of hits to my blog. As a result, I wrote a
                > little poem as a way of saying thank you for visiting. Dear Reader, I
                > hope you are inspired now to have a look at Song of The Internet
                > <http://thousandeye.blogspot.com/2007/05/song-of-internet.html> -
                > perhaps you will find your self there.
                >
                > Thus I do not feel like such a shameless self promoter, riding under
                > your banner, so to speak.
                >
                > In joy,
                >
                > Alf.
                >
                >
                > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, rathin31 <no_reply@>
                > wrote:
                > >
                > > Hello friends, I have a perplexing question, no doubt a product of my
                > > ignorance. It is to do with the night sky, and the stars that can be
                > > seen in it. Now, it is generally agreed that the earth orbits around
                > > the sun, a proposition that seems sensible enough. One lap around the
                > > sun takes one year. Therefore, six months from now, our location in
                > > the solar system will be as far from this spot as we can get (assuming
                > > that 'this spot' is some kind of fixed location- which it is not...
                > > but that's a whole separate issue). Anyway, when it is night, our bit
                > > of planet earth is facing away from the sun, out into the cosmos. So,
                > > in six months time, why aren't we looking out into a completely
                > > different night sky, rather than one that is just a little different?
                > > Here in the southern hemisphere, I can see the Southern Cross, and I'm
                > > pretty sure it's visible all year round. So why will I see mostly the
                > > same stars, six months from now? Are there any amateur (or
                > > professional) astronomers who can relieve my state of befuddlement?
                > >
                > > Cosmically yours,
                > > Rathin
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
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