James Comey, the FBI Director, was very much in the new on October 28, 2016, when 11-days ahead of the General Election he announced that the FBI was reopening the Hillary Clinton e-mail server investigation. Is he a Republican or Democrat? Did that cross your mind?
Think first, then research, then THINK again. Think for the pleasure of thinking.
Yesterday’s ‘Think’: Humans have known that the Earth year was pretty close to 365-days since around 4,000 B.C. The ancient Egyptians determined this 365-day year after carefully observing and noting where ‘Sirius‘, the Dog Star, rose every morning over a very long period of years. They saw a repetition happening most often after 365 days — sometimes 366 days.
.by Anura Guruge
Today was the first day in a week that we have had clear skies. Nonetheless I have been out each night scanning the western skies over central NH. Nada. I am bummed. C/1973 E1 (Kohoutek) redux. Yes, in 1973 I went trudging up hills looking for Kohoutek. Did finally see it, faintly. Very anticlimactic.
Since this was our first clear night, at 8pm we went out (though we had just got back from skiing at Loon). We went up Prospect Mountain road — since we live right off it. The light pollution really annoys me. One farm was lit up like a sports stadium — and they complain about how tight their finances are. Turn off the lights.
We had three pairs of binoculars and a good compass. Stopped multiple times. Nothing.
But a beautiful array of celestial objects. Jupiter in perfect conjunction with the Moon. Pleiades. Not as bright as it is in November. Yes, it is also called the ‘Seven Sisters‘. Did you know that it is the Subaru logo? Check it out. Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades. Sirius, the Dog Star, was also clearly visible.
…by Anura Guruge
Jupiter, given that it is invariably higher in the sky, will most likely be the bright object that first arouses your curiosity and awe.
If it is later in the night you might see a very bright, burning WHITE star, close to the tree line, maybe even glimpsed through the trees in the East. That would be Sirius, the Dog Star — the brightest star in the night sky. It is actually brighter than Jupiter. This serious brightness of Sirius is due to two factors: it is relatively nearby and it is big — twice as big as the Sun. It is 8.6 light years away. So what we are seeing now, in December 2012, is what Sirius was doing 8 years 7 months ago.
Many never think about this. Light thought it travels fast, still has a speed limit. So if an object is far away, it does take time before light from that object gets to us. Even Sun light takes 8.3 minutes to reach us. The light from Jupiter (i.e., sunlight reflected off Jupiter’s gaseous, yellowish atmosphere) takes nearly 35 minutes to reach us. So in reality when we look up and see Jupiter, we are not actually seeing Jupiter in ‘real time’. We are seeing Jupiter as it was 34.9 minutes ago. Think about that. You can have fun pondering this. ‘Rigel‘, the bright white star that makes up the leg of Orion, is ~860 light years away. So what we are seeing is light that left Rigel 860 years ago. For all we know Rigel could have exploded — supernovaed. It would be 860 years before we would see it.
So the next time you look up at the night sky remember that much of what you are seeing is in time lapse. Light that was there sometime before.