Monday, March 02, 2009

Astronomy Moment | New Horizons, Cosmic Times And Distances

..And he comes crawling back to the Blog.
You know I might could actually start enjoying this "unemployed" situation if not for money worries and fear of ending up living in a cave. Went out today and put in 3 job applications. My first job applications since, let's see, about 1986? Sounds about right.
Anyway, astronomy. Here's my astronomy pic of the day. Excellent proof that I'm still alive to Blog. I think the BIG reason I love astronomy is it's ability to put me, my problems, even all humanity in a different perspective.
Here's Omega Centauri the largest of nearby globular clusters. What are globular clusters? Follow the link and learn my friends:

"..Long before humankind evolved, before dinosaurs roamed, and even before our Earth existed, ancient globs of stars condensed and orbited a young Milky Way Galaxy. Of the 200 or so globular clusters that survive today, Omega Centauri is the largest, containing over ten million stars.."

And one of humankind's creations that will probably out live humanity, our earth, even our sun; NASA's space ship New Horizons will travel to Pluto and it's moon, Charon and then follow the Voyager ships out of our solar system toward the stars.
Thanks to Darksyde, here's the father of New Horizons(you might say), Dr. Alan Stern with a nearly poetic description of the fate of his baby:

"..It won’t be moving quite as fast as the Voyagers after Pluto; New Horizons only had the one gravity assist, from Jupiter, but the Voyagers each had two or more gas giant flyby's, so they are moving faster now and we will never catch up with them. But yeah, our spacecraft is moving plenty fast enough to leave the solar system -- it’s headed to the stars!

You know, that's one of the most amazing things I thought about, when I would look at it in final assembly in the clean room, I thought about how long this bird will be flying through the galaxy. It’s not just that it will outlive corporations or nations, or even human civilization as we know it. New Horizons will outlive mountain ranges, it will outlive the earth and the sun. It may very well go on, until the stars burn out; until the protons making it up decay or until the end of time, if there is one. Amazing, isn’t it. What human beings can build?.."


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