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pale blue dot was: Re: Does anyone know anything about astronomy?

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  • 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 1 of 6 , May 3 3:51 AM
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      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 2 of 6 , May 3 4:51 AM
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        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 3 of 6 , May 5 3:12 AM
        • 0 Attachment
          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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