Category Archives: space

The Hot Jupiters

I was catching up on some of my favorite science vlogs and found one on SciShow Space talking about “Hot Jupiters”. These are gaseous giant planets that orbit so closely to their sun that their year would be just a few days on Earth.  Apparently Hot Jupiters are fairly easy to detect but still not fully understood. All this aside, my first thought was “that would be a good band name”.  The Hot Jupiters.

Come across any good band names of your own recently?

Among Us?

Photo credit: Miriam Espacio

Ten years after the UFO incident in Roswell, New Mexico, it was on this day in 1957 that the most impressive UFO sighting happened in Levelland, Texas; the impressiveness was due to the large number of witnesses over the short period of time. Ufologists continue to argue that the Air Force investigation was too short and that the phenomenon was NOT ball lightning.

A few days later, Jim Lee, who was the head of the Interplanetary Space Patrol (perhaps named after a popular TV show of the day “Space Patrol”) stated that the Levelland sighting was indeed a visit from outer space and predicted that UFOs would soon begin to come in large numbers, large enough that there would be no more non-believers. Lee’s group pushed the agenda that humans could work and collaborate with our visitors via radio waves.

“The days of the skeptics are numbered, and they had better find a good place to hide away for even the entire populations of our large cities will see these ships as they come in from outer space. They will soon come in large numbers for all to see and the skeptic will not have a leg left to stand on. There is no need for alarm over the situation at this time.”

While I try to keep an open mind about things I can’t prove or dis-prove, I’m pretty sure that if we are visited by extra-terrestrials, it probably won’t go well. Considering how many problems we have to solve just to get to Mars, any travelers that could get themselves here would be so far ahead of us technologically (or magically if that’s your bent) that they could squash us like bugs.  That’s just my opinion, of course.

But the bottom line is that Jim Lee was wrong… we’re still not seeing UFOs in great numbers, in all our large cities.

Have you ever had a prediction of yours come true?

Aliens Among Us?

Back to my rant on reactionary headlines. Now I’m seeing news that some videos from quite a few years ago have been leaked from Navy archives, videos that the Navy says are “real”.  They show unidentified objects that have never been explained.  So now aliens exist and are among us according to the headlines.

Personally I’m not willing to say that we are the only life in the universe. As Matthew McConaughey says in the movie, Contact

However, I’m pretty sure that if there is other life in the universe, the human race doesn’t have it within itself to RECOGNIZE that life. I think that our definition of life is too small.  Even our definition of life is based on what we currently believe to be life:  “the condition that distinguishes animals and plants form inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity and continual change preceding death.”

I’m also pretty sure that any kind of life/civilization that can get to Earth is/will be way more advanced than we can imagine. So I’m not really concerned that the Navy video is really aliens – if aliens are here, they are advanced enough to keep themselves hidden from us.  For all we know, aliens do walk among us and we’ll probably never figure it out?

What place in the universe would you like to visit?

New Phase of the Moon

NASA has been back in the news with the announcement that a return trip to the moon is in the works for 2024. And this means that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is back in the news with HIS announcement that he wants to bankroll 6-8 artists to go with him on a SpaceX flight affectionately named “Dear Moon”. He says that taking artists to space would allow them to “communicate their experiences to the masses in new ways”.

Of course, this project is just in the offing and we’ll have to see if it comes to fruition by 2024.

Would you want to travel to the moon? Or Mars?  Or beyond?

That Ole Devil Moon

The last couple of mornings, I’ve had to head to work a little early and thanks to Daylight Savings Time, in the dark. I go pretty much straight west on 494 and have been graced both mornings by a huge, supermoon.

According to Wikipedia “A supermoon is a full moon or a new moon that nearly coincides with perigee—the closest that the Moon comes to the Earth in its orbit—resulting in a slightly larger-than-usual apparent size of the lunar disk as viewed from Earth.”

And it turns out that there is an opposite phenomenon – a micromoon.  And sadly, the supermoon this week is the last one of 2019.

What do you see when you look at the moon?

Surfing Pluto

It’s amazing what happens sometimes when you’re surfing the internet. I started with my daily dose of Sci Show Space, which led me to Gustav Holst’s Suite of Planets.  I realized that Holst wrote The Planets before Pluto was discovered, so he can’t be blamed that after 1930, he was missing a planet (of course now he’s OK again if you want align yourself with the Astronomer’s Union).  Over the years composers have “added” to Holst’s work with various songs about Pluto.

There are serious attempts like Pluto, the Renewer by Colin Matthews):

and very silly (yet funny) pieces, like For the Planet Pluto by the Music Tapes:

And I particularly like this one, Plutonian Nights by Sun Ra:

Then my lunch break was up and I had to get back to work!

Any unsung heroes in your life?

Riled Up by Language

Yesterday I got all worked up (again) when “pescatarian” defined as a vegetarian who eat fish. If you eat fish you are not any kind of vegetarian.

So I was happy to read this footnote in Death From the Skies by astronomer Phil Plait:

“One of the best ways to tick off an astronomer – and it can be fun sometimes just to see how he reacts – is to mix up the terms meteor, meteoroid, and meteorite.  The very best way to tick off an astronomer is to call him an astrologer.”

Guess I’m not the only one who gets riled up by language.

What are you NOT?