On New Mexico Laws

Two interesting legislative initiatives are winding their way through the New Mexico legislature. One would deal with Pluto. A law was passed declaring March 13th, 2007 “Pluto Planet Day.” An excerpt from the legislation: NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that, as Pluto passes overhead through NewContinue reading “On New Mexico Laws”

On Going to Pluto

When I was very young I remember the excitement at seeing pictures taken by Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 when they encountered Jupiter and Saturn in the late 1970s. (I don’t remember any similar excitement during the Uranus or Neptune encounters–certainly nothing mainstream.) According to this article, an encounter with Pluto was a real possibilityContinue reading “On Going to Pluto”

On a Place in the Universe

Nothing puts things into perspective like seeing an image of the Earth taken from deep space, with the planet just a disc of light. No borders, no cities, just light, such as in this recent image from the Cassini space probe in orbit of Saturn. The things we worry about every day, they seem soContinue reading “On a Place in the Universe”

On Pluto's New Moons

Pluto, that distant planet at the edge of the solar system, so far that the Sun appears as little more than an ordinary star, has been revealed to have two new moons, in addition to the previously discovered Charon. [U]sing images from the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists from Johns Hopkins University, Southwest Research Institute andContinue reading “On Pluto's New Moons”

On Photographing Area 51

Doubtless this will be of no interest to anyone but myself, but I found this article interesting. In 1974 astronauts aboard the Skylab space station, in taking photographs of Earth from orbit, photographed something they should not have photographed — the Air Force base at Groom Lake, Nevada, better known to conspiracy nuts as AreaContinue reading “On Photographing Area 51”

On Seeing Things From Mars

I came across this remarkable astronomical photograph today–a conjunction of Earth and Jupiter as seen from Mars. Jupiter, as seen from Mars, presents a disc, and quite a large one–no mere point of light, Jupiter, no. Earth, on the other hand, shows phases, much as the Moon, Venus, and Mercury show phases when seen fromContinue reading “On Seeing Things From Mars”

On a Strange Story Idea

I would like to thank everyone for their sympathies and well-wishes on yesterday’s events. Yesterday was rough, and I appreciate all your thoughts. Thank you. So, last night, a little bedtime reading. I picked up Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, read another twenty-odd pages and put it down. Quite frankly, I’m finding myself both bored andContinue reading “On a Strange Story Idea”