September 14, 2014
September 10, 2014
September 3, 2014
August 27, 2014
Since most people know more about astrology than astronomy (and, no, they’re not the same thing), this nonsense has been making the rounds on Facebook recently. Needless to say (at least to anyone who paid attention in junior high school science class), Mars will not appear to be as big as the Moon.
The absolute closest distance the Earth and Mars can theoretically ever come to each other is 33.9 million miles. We’ve never observed that, due to the elliptical nature of the orbits of planets. An approach that close requires a coincidental alignment of orbits that is exceedingly rare. So rare, that it’s not been observed in human history.
For comparison, the orbits of Venus and the Earth can come within 24 million miles of each other. The diameter of Venus is 3,032 miles, while Mars is 4,212 (not much difference in the grand scheme of planets). Earth’s diameter is 7,918 miles. (give or take. It’s a bit more at the equator, less at the poles, due to the spin of the planet on it’s axis.) Venus, even at it’s closest approach, 10 million miles closer than Mars ever gets, never appears as more than a bright star in the morning or evening sky, so the idea that Mars will look like our Moon is, simply, hooey. Never going to happen.
If you ever do see something in the sky as big as the Moon (that’s not the Moon), we’re in deep shit. That’s either the Death Star, or Gallifrey.
Either one of those, and we’re screwed.
August 24, 2014
August 12, 2014
I usually don’t remember my dreams, but when I do, they tend to be really odd.
Here’s a recap of this morning’s random neuron firings.
For some reason, I’m going to Bakersfield to see a person who may have been some kind of University-level instructor or counselor. When I get to Bakersfield, I’m in a crowded downtown area, and having difficulty finding a place to park. I finally locate a vacant spot, and end up having to walk a great distance to find the place I’m supposed to be. When I locate the person I’ve supposedly made an appointment with, he says “that’s next week. I can’t see you know”. We do this in the middle of a large public space, indoors, like a large entry pavilion area. I follow him outside, still trying to figure out why he won’t see me, when some other man makes a comment about More
August 11, 2014
I am stunned. Really. I went to my local Subway Sandwich shop for lunch today. As I pulled in, there were several cars in line at the drive thru, so I elected to go inside. That new menu kiosk ordering board throws a lot of people, and I was in a bit of a hurry. There was a woman ahead of me, picking up a sandwich. I couldn’t help but overhear, and what I heard left me feeling like this image of Don Knotts.
She had to come in to pick up the order she placed on that drive thru menu board, because she couldn’t find the pick up window!
She drove right past it, but did not see it. She was even looking for it, according to what she told the woman behind the counter. “That’s happened several times”, said the Subway employee. I really hope she was just trying to make the lady feel a bit less dimwitted. I’d hate to think it was all that common to have people walking among us who can’t find the pick up window in the drive thru while they’re in the drive thru!
I think what scares me even more is the thought that this woman is very likely someone’s mother! If I wasn’t an atheist, I might very well be saying “heaven help us!”