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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Solstice and Eclipse





For this post, I have returned to another December 21st. Four years ago, I had the thrill of making a scientific discovery during an eclipse of the moon. I am still trying to determine which of Earth's moons it was, but no matter. It is time to post the thing again and try to get the recognition due its researchers by the scientific community:
 

The internet was originally designed to facilitate free exchange of scientific information. This was never more graphically demonstrated than on the night of December 21st, 2010, when three men combined their intellects via email to discover an astronomical reality that had theretofore eluded human knowledge. With two observers in California and one in New York, there was adequate separation for geocentric parallax view of complete lunar eclipse. In the form of a snapshot taken that night and transcript of attendant scientific discussion, I will lay the evidence before you:


Geo.: 11:40 p.m. Perfect night for viewing here. Hope Sonoma is clear too. When I was little my big brother, Frank, tried to convince me a lunar eclipse was caused by the sun passing between earth and the moon. Would be warmer watching tonight if he was correct.

Will: Sorry we were overcast here. Got any photos of the blood red moon eclipsing? Aren't big brothers great teases? I tried to convince Paul that his name should properly be pronounced to rhyme with Raul.

Geo.: That's hilarious! How long did Paul pronounce his name pah-ool?

Will: Probably as long as you believed Frank about lunar eclipses...

Jeff: Hey Will, from the right coast you could see a crazy red tint on the lower half of the surface and green along the top edge at about 3 a.m. Through astronomical binox it looked like a combination angry Mars and Christmas ornament. These celestial anomalies always stir awe, fascination and dread, yes?. I was quite prepared for this one and still something in me cried out for a human sacrifice to stop the dragon from eating the moon.

Geo: Nice amber earth-shadow now. Tried taking a picture but couldn't turn camera-flash off, so moon just looked bright as usual.

Jeff: Will, please tell Geo. he can get great photos with the camera flash turned on, but he was probably standing too close. You want to get back at least 1,261,164,966 feet, with the sun behind you.

Geo.: I'm attaching pic from around midnight [see above] to show I wasn't standing too close. Moon looked maybe a mile or two away. It'd have to be impossibly big to show up at the distance Jeff says. However, his earlier report that he saw the eclipse at 3 a.m. surprised me. Moon goes west and Jeff saw it 3 hours later. Only possible with a second moon! I will share credit for this discovery with you both.

---end of transcript.

I am reminded of the quote,"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto (I am human and nothing human is alien to me)," which, unless I misremember, came from Cicero or two centuries later from a tedious Roman playwright whose name escapes me. It is upon this sort of certainty I now believe our planet has two moons and don't know what can convince me I haven't seen the truth. When I boasted to my wife that this discovery was made without the help of women, she opined I might also find steady detective work sniffing out truffles. High praise indeed.

Merry Christmas!

26 comments:

  1. I'm still trying to work out why, four years ago, a bunch of extra-terrestrials would pick on you and your friends as an experimental target. Or perhaps I'm wrong. Was it perhaps a strange, new virus running rampant in three unfortunates that year? Whatever the cause, there have been benign after effects, as witnessed by subsequent posts. Perhaps the universe is on our side after all.

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    1. Universe can't help being on our side, Tom. We're part of it.

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  2. Sounds to me like three old stoners having a mushroom party in their backyards.

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  3. If your took your lovely wife's career advice, you may be able to keep her in a state of considerable luxury...

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    1. I have always hoped my ability to trot on all fours while snorting would bring us riches someday.

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  4. I have often wondered why I see the moon during the day. Now I understand. It is the second (or is it really the first and the other is the second?) moon. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

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    1. Was unable to discern which moon was second or first. Would give worlds to know.

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  5. As usual, you've made me ponder in places where I've never pondered before. Fascinating post, Geo.
    Have a great Christmas!

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    1. Jon, my researches proceed where reason is too ponderous to venture. Christmas looks promising, as I hope does yours --you did, after all, get yourself one heckova present.

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  6. A second moon? Maybe that's where all the socks in the dryer go.

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    1. Ah, you've done your research. Socks go there, but lost tools are embedded in Saturn's rings.

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    2. Would that mean that the dark side of the second moon is almost always facing us? Has Pink Floyd been consulted about all of this?

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    3. Depends on whether #2 is an outdoor moon or an indoor one. Pink Floyd did not specify and astronomers are hesitant to make a house to house search.

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    4. Everything under the sun is in tune. But the sun is eclipsed by the mooooooooooooon.

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  7. All I have to say is: I see the moon, the moon sees me, shining through the leaves of the old oak tree. I am a simple person who seldom has looked beyond.

    Merry Christmas dear Geo, and I hope you and your beloved Norma have a good and healthy new year.

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    1. I love the moon even more with such earthlings as you looking at it. All our best wishes to you, dear Arleen.

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  8. I hope it was warmer. I appears to have been fun.
    The very best of the post equinox season to you and your dear ones. The light grows.

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    1. Thanks, Tom. Fun indeed so far and, yes, the light grows.

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  9. There are further celestial bodies but whether they may be named as moons or not is a matter of public debate here- I don't know how to do a link but here are some jumbled letters and numbers to cut and paste:
    http://old.qi.com/qi_quibble_blog/2009/02/new-moon.html
    I love the word 'parallax,' it does make me smile, I'm not even sure why.
    Also- Happy Yuletides to you and yours, with or without truffles xx

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I am glad to learn of Cruithne and other co-orbital bodies. Haven't thought of a name for my 2nd moon yet but have determined it circles our planet at an altitude of 2 feet and must occasionally be helped out of tennis nets. Happy Christmas!

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  10. My post must have been lost or eaten by an alien... it had something to do with three wisemen or was it wise guys... Regardless, have a wonderful Christmas, Geo.

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    1. It would've been a boring trek across desert if it was just three wise men trying to rationalize their pursuit of a star; it was three wise guys teasing each other, believe me. Merry Christmas, dear Sage.

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  11. I loved this post George. You add the time space continuum and I am sure scientists would sit up and take notice.

    Merry Christmas to your and yours.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. Indeed, adherence to relativity theory would enhance my research, and I have heard from lots of relatives today so we'll see. Best wishes for the holiday!

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  12. I should try and read you more often - should that be a New Year's resolution? This particular eclipse, however many moons ago, remains strong in my memory. It was accompanied by a terrific gale here (nothing lunar induced as far as I know, we've had more of the same this December). I watched the eclipse through the lashing willow tree and a particularly gaping hole, which showed in the morning as a huge broken branch. Everything in the garden is more or less wonderful here and hope it continues that way for you too. Carry on making every moment count :-)

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