Thursday, July 03, 2008

News from outer space

Our solar system is not symmetrically-shaped after all. According to an AP news article today, "the edge of our solar system appears slightly dented as if a giant hand is pushing one edge of it inward."

This revelation came via reports from Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 as they each traveled to different parts of our solar system. And because of this new information, the models of our solar system will need to be changed.

When I was a kid, we got a special "prize" inside either a cereal box or a package of hot dogs; a card that featured information about the planets in our solar system. You moved a wheel with your thumb and a new planet would appear in the window of the card, along with all the pertinent information. The sun was gigantic, raging yellow; red Jupiter with its eye, somewhat smaller; and Pluto, just a blue dot. [Pluto was still considered a planet then.] Now, we have incredible photos from NASA of planets, stars, galaxies, nebulae, and more, and we can see them via the internet.

May we each have a little space each day to contemplate planets, stars, and other worlds...

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Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.
- Plato.

God could cause us considerable embarrassment by revealing all the secrets of nature to us: we should not know what to do for sheer apathy and boredom.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Astronomers say the universe is finite, which is a comforting thought for those people who can't remember where they leave things.
- Woody Allen

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