M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

When planets align! Eh. Again.

April 24, 2022
MThomas

https://www.nj.com/news/2022/04/parade-of-planets-4-planets-to-line-up-in-sky-this-weekend-joined-by-moon-next-week.html

(Note: You won’t be able to see the planets actually looking like these photoshopped images…unless you happen to have a really powerful telescope in your backyard.)

Not sure why I first got this info from a site based in New Jersey. The info about what time of day and in what part of the sky is only relevant to people living in the NJ_NYC area.

Still, it’s an interesting phenomenon that occurs once every few years…

2005. 2016. 2020. And 2022. Not exactly a regular pattern, it seems.

And, no, there is no “spiritual significance” to a planetary alignment. It’s an illusion, an imaginary lining up of the solar system that doesn’t affect you personally. Sorry.

But it’s still fun to watch. Er, if you enjoy getting up before dawn (I don’t).

According to nj.com, “The planetary parade of sorts will occur when Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn all appear to be lined up in a row above the horizon during the pre-dawn hours — starting Saturday morning, April 23. The alignment will also be visible during the next few mornings, and April’s crescent moon will soon join the parade, according to experts from LiveScience and AccuWeather.”

Yeah, lots of web sites are covering this. At least the one I linked above doesn’t have automated videos, flashing ad gifs, and other random pop-ups that drain your smartphone battery.

Click here for more info about the next great alignment (not as impressive as the so-called “Great Conjunction” a couple years ago, but we’ll see more planets in June and July): https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/04/17/planets-align-april-venus-mars-jupiter-saturn/7351117001/

Sorry, Venus is just a lot of gas

February 4, 2021
MThomas

There’s a reason I didn’t post a while ago about the supposed “there’s life in the clouds of Venus” finding.

It was just a big load of gas.

Sorry, folks. Venus is a big rotten egg. 🥚

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/signs-life-venus-might-just-be-ordinary-sulfur-gas-n1256739

On to Triton. With Trident. Finally.

March 29, 2019
MThomas

IMG_1856We’ve learned a lot about Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, since it was first discovered in 1846. Some scientists believe it could be an “ocean world” with liquid water — and maybe even harbor life.

And now, pending approval, we might soon get our best glimpse yet. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory proposed on Tuesday [19 March 2019] at a conference in Texas to send a spacecraft called “Trident” to Triton — with the goal of sussing out whether it’s a habitable world.

A low-cost mission that would give us decent photos and even video of Triton, Io, and even Venus. Let’s do this.

futurism.com/nasa-mission-neptune-moon-triton/

Earthrise: Fifty years and counting (Don’t count on it)

December 28, 2018
MThomas

“To really think about ourselves as citizens of Earth is something that I think we’re still working toward,” Jacob Haqq-Misra, a research scientist at Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, told Space.com. “[Seeing this image] may be enjoyable and fun and awe-inspiring, and you might think about it later that day, but I don’t think most people have a perception of ‘I’m a citizen of Earth’ when they’re driving to work.”

He’s curious how potential future space developments — establishing a human presence on Mars, or discovering extraterrestrial intelligence, for example — might make that Earthling perspective easier to grasp by creating a group to contrast it against.

That’s us: the forever simian, defining ourselves in contrast to what we aren’t as opposed to what we could be.

So what would happen if some of us became Martians, Venusians, or Jovians? Hmmm…

www.space.com/42842-earthrise-apollo-8-photograph-50-years-later.html

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