January 08, 2009

International Year Of Astronomy.


2009 has been selected as the international year of Astronomy. Partly due to the fact that it is 400 years ago (1609) since Galileo gazed at the night skies through the first, primitive telescope, making significant observations.

To the scientist in me this is an intriguing prospect, appreciating the fact that a man in my distant past was driven by the knowledge for the unknown. I like the thought of the existence of such men or women, who dedicate their lives to be different, in order to move the frontiers of science, even if it is ever so slightly.
The skies, the stars and the cosmos have always intrigued me. The mystery of our past and our place in the universe is ultimately an enigma. The never-ending questions of whether we are alone or not. Where do we come from and why are we here?

Sometimes I like to look at the big picture. I have heard that many astronauts change their view of the Earth and their own lives on it, once they have been in space. Seeing it from such a distance, they claim to undergo an almost spiritual experience. They see this small, beautifully coloured object in the jet black sky, realizing suddenly their own – and all ours - insignificance, forgetting all about the drawn borders, conflicts and differences. They see Earth, the whole planet, as their home.

And we might be alone. Or at least separated from other intelligent life through such vast distances, we truly can just as well say we are alone. Not to mention that other intelligent life might look nothing like us. This notion should be significant enough for us to try to appreciate that, which connects us all, not focusing one what makes us different. I often think about this and other subjects, such as the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecrafts, which are hurdling through the space as we speak. They are the longest travelled, man-made object ever; carrying information about us, engraved in plaques and disks. One of them is just about to leave our solar system. Pioneer 10 is destined for the star Aldebaran, which it will reach in 2 million years.

I have received another gift from - you know who, right? It is filled with wonderful pictures of space and our planet, one picture for each day of the year. I will try to post the most alluring ones here, during the course of the this year, "the year of Astronomy".

11 comments:

k-marie said...

I like your blog.. insight is what I am all about right now.... take care.

Diane said...

Please feel free to send 'you know who' my address... you know... if you ever get tired of all the lovely gifts (well, except for the pink slippers, 'cause, quite frankly, they were a little scary ;).

Michelle H. said...

Such wonderful gifts from you-know-who. At least this one won't scare Batcat too much. :)

Mel said...

Oooh! I can't wait for new pictures! Did you know I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a little girl? A NASA engineer who worked on the first space shuttle came to talk to me (he was the son of a neighbor) and brought me pictures and a book about it. A few years ago I visited the Kennedy Space Center with my mom, my grandmother, and my sister. I was driving and when we entered the complex, I actually had to pull the car over because I had started crying and couldn't see the road because I was so excited. (I'm a nerd, I know) For my birthday this year, my mom got me a Pale Blue Dot poster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

Also (I know this is long, but...), this is my 20th anniversary at work. We get to chose presents for every 5 years of service. I got a telescope for my 15th year and have been so excited to trade up to a better one for my 20th anniversay! Yay!

Rosezilla said...

thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment! I look forward to seeing the photos you are going to post from this lovely book.

Hilary said...

I wonder if Mr. YKW had any idea that his gifts to you would also be his, and your gifts to us by means of your blogging about them. It's re-gifting at its best. ;)

Hazel Designs said...

I get chills every single time I contemplate the question of whether we're truly alone or not. I always think the universe is so vast that we can't possibly be the only ones, and occupying such a small space of it, too.

Gufobardo said...

...if you like to wear jewels...why you don't wear mine???? I'm thinking to create a jewels....

Protege said...

k-marie, thank you for that genuine compliment; I agree, insight is what I am about most of the time as well.;)

Diane, I will let him know you are in need of gifts; knowing him he will most likely send you something, so be careful what you wish for; big, scary pink slippers might suddenly appear at your door!;))
Seriously, your comments always crack me up; I was laughing reading yours for at least 10 minutes. I guess Barnabas Collins is to blame, right?;))

Michelle, no, this one holds no interest for the Batcat. His universe consist of my house and the scary outdoor beyond. I envy him this ignorance bliss.;))

Mel, I did not know that at all about you! I would not say this is being nerdy at all! As in that case I am a nerd. Well, perhaps I am.;)) You have so many interest, you surprise me every time.;))
I promise to post many pictures from this book. And I hope you get that telescope!

Rosezilla, you are very welcome, your blog is lovely and loved that love story! I am very romantic and that appealed to me a great deal.;))

Hilary, I showed Mr. YKW your comment and he complimented your way with words. I think he felt a bit flattered as well.;)) Well, I agree with him 100%, your words means always the world to me, dear friend.;))

Hazel, yes I was laughing too reading your post. Glad to find a kindred spirit in this dislike of the first month. Poor January, right?;)))

Gufobardo, I very well might, I will have to go back and check out your blog again.;)))

Tom said...

There's so much I could comment on your post, being an astronomer and all that, but I won't bore you and instead say that I look forward to the upcoming pictures from that book!

Great post as always.

Protege said...

Ah Tom, please comment as much as you want! I would love a real astronomer's take on things, when it comes to the universe, planets and stars. I have tons of question I would love to ask you. I think your line of work is so cool.;)
And thank you for your kind words.;)