Engineer & Entertain

Ideas I grapple with

Archive for the tag “astronomy”

An open letter to Neil Armstrong

Dear Neil Armstrong,

While this is an open letter to you, you likely won’t respond because you are dead. None the less I wanted to express how mind-blowingly awesome you are. When your Gemini craft docked with the Agena target and spun out of control, did you panic? No, you performed calmly as trained. When your lunar trainer went out of control and almost killed you, did you panic? No, you bit your tongue a little and calmly ejected. When the lunar module had 40 seconds of fuel left and 1202 alarms are going off, did you panic? No, you landed the LM calm as a cucumber. There are Zen monks whose brains fluster in comparison. You are an inspiration to thinking things through and practicing until you cannot get it wrong.

Per aspera ad astra,

P.S. It is because of you and the Apollo flight controllers that I learned how to use a slide rule.

Jupiter removes its red spot by taking a meteor shower

The comet Swift-Tuttle orbits every 133 years. Despite its lengthy orbital period we can see an interesting spin off from this astronomical body.  It is the parent of the Perseid meteor shower.  Though the Perseid meteor shower has been observable since the end of July, your best chance of observing it is on Saturday night & Sunday morning.  You can learn more from or by watching the video below.

Big Bang – Stop making that noise!

A scientist, let’s call him Smalbert Smeinstein, put forth the hypothesis that the universe is not expanding from the Big Bang, but rather space and time convert back and forth in an endless cycle.  Also proposed is that mass and length can be converted back and forth.  The conversion factors, in case you are wondering, are the speed of light and the gravitational constant.

As dictated by the scientific method, there is more to test and there are a variety of issues with hypothesis (e.g. the speed of light not being constant), none the less, it is an interesting notion.  On an unrelated note, $20 says Creationists will use this to suggest there is no Big Bang which created the universe.  On a semi-related note, the Big Bang theme song by the Bare Naked Ladies.

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