Saturday, November 5, 2011

Things That Go Splat In The Night

For years, people have looked to the stars and dreamed. Gazing heavenward into the vast void of space they wonder what lies beyond the furthest point and the myriad of possibilities that may defy their imagination. Some wish upon a star or the silvery wisp of a shooting star streaking against the blackness of the sky. Some ogle at the moon and delight in seeing its countenance shine down upon them. Others dream to fly, releasing themselves from the gravity of their Earthly existence.

The whining shrill of a mosquito is heard as it gingerly touches down on a forehead. It perches precariously on the precipice of its mortality ... as an ominous hand quickly bears down on it. The resulting 'splat' is lost in the thud of a karmic disturbance, sending shockwaves through flesh and bone.

On November 8th of this year, the Near-Earth asteroid 2005 YU55 will pass within 0.85 lunar distances from the Earth. It threatens to do the same... What a tease!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hold A Candle To This

One of my favorite books as a child was the original "Harold and the Purple Crayon". In it, baby Harold goes on a series of adventures at the behest of his own creativity. One of the things I most related to in this tale was the concept that the Moon would follow wandering infant wherever he went. Personally, I remember as much myself. My family would pile into our Mercury Comet and zoom off across Miami to visit the homes of my grandparents, and other less exotic locations. On the way home in the evenings, I would turn around, look out the rear window and watch the moon follow us home.

In many respects it's comforting to know this celestial companion has been our host in the heavens for as long as life on Earth can remember. It waxes and wanes, always watchful, but saying nothing ... even less than 'Silent Bob'. It sits in the heavens, does not judge us and doesn't not preach.

This year, on August 12 the 13th, the Perseid meteor shower will peak. This annual light show features, at times and with optimal viewing conditions, up to 60 meteors an hour. Nevertheless, our penchant for 'shedding light' on our problems, has created so much light pollution, that in many areas hopeful starry eyes sky-watchers may be denied. Moreover, on August 13th, the Moon will shine its 'Full' countenance down on us, exacerbating the attempts of many night-owls who will be craning their necks in search of opportunities to wish upon a falling star. Invariably, there will be those who will curse the Moon for doing nothing more than it naturally does on a monthly basis, and to our benefit. What a loony thing to do, and certainly something to hold a candle to.

Reference: Harold and the Purple Crayon 50th Anniversary Edition (Purple Crayon Books)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Have A McMoon Sandwich

There are those that believe that the moon is made of cheese - green cheese to be specific. I beg to differ. With these words, I launch this blog. 

Today, the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down for the last time, bringing to a close the 30-year voyage of the Space Shuttle program. Of course, I like many others wonder what's next for NASA and the space program? Money is the obvious issue, and as it was said long ago, no bucks, no Buck Rogers. 

Of course, there is the hope that private industry might pick up the space flight slack, and continue to push humans further in to space. I can't help but feel this won't come to pass, however. Instead, what I fear is that commercial interests will aspire to develop the greatest advertising platform mankind has ever known. What I fear is that ... when future generations look up to gaze at the our heavenly lunar host, they will see the following: "McDonald's - I'm Loving It!" emblazoned across the moonscape.