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Monday, April 7, 2014

BIG FAT ASTRONOMY - THE BIG FAT SCIENCE!

ASTRONOMY - IT IS THE BIGGEST AND THE FATTEST SCIENCE THERE IS! NOTHING IS BIGGER AND FATTER THAN THE COSMOS!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ PROLOGUE ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First of all, I won't be going into a lot of math here. That will be reserved for future science articles in my web blog. So, for the time being, I will be covering mostly the basics on Astronomy.

Anyway . . . . .  

Astronomy has always been my most favorite science topic. My mother had taught me how to read before I had even started going to school and by the time I was only in the third grade, I could already read at high school and adult level. I was in the second grade when I checked out my very first Astronomy book from the school library, and it immediately sparked my interest. I wanted to know more, so I began checking out more books on astronomy until I had read almost every Astronomy book at grade school level.

I was living in a small town up in northern Minnesota back in the early 1960s and both the high school and Elementary grades were in the same building. The school library consisted of two rooms where one room was for Elementary grade level books and the other room had high school level books. So, after having read all the Astronomy books at grade school level, the teachers allowed me to check out books at the high school level. 

Well . . . . . that is . . . my teachers from the grades 1 through 4 had allowed me to check out Astronomy books, or any book I wanted that were at the high school level . . . except for my 5th grade teacher, my first male teacher when I was 11 years old. He who was a sports-obsessed tyrant, and a real prick to boot!

I had a 5th grade teacher back in the 1960s who was a real prick!
Yeah, my 5th grade teacher was a real prick! But, I'm not going to get into all that right now. I'll save that for some of my rants and raves in some future articles when I will be discussing politics and the quality of education in so many American schools.

Suffice it to say, when I was in school, I was the typical science nerd, or a geek. But, the schools I had attended were more interested in sports, preferring athletics over academics. This seems to be a common problem in so many schools in the USA, and also, in other countries overseas. This sort of thing has been going on for many many decades.

Albert Einstein on Academics vs Sports
Yeah! Many American schools are a failure. The quality of education has been swirling down the crapper for decades, after the "under God" was inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance and also, the "In God We Trust" placed on our paper currency back in the 1950s and now . . . . . many Republican Christian Funny-mentalist retards want to insert Creationism into our public school science text books. How dare they! Our nation was originally founded on the principle of the separation of church and state. America was intended to be a secular nation, and not some damn theocracy!!!

Many schools in America are an EPIC FAIL
Anyway . . . . .

When I was a student in school, I was regarded as a "sissy" and a "queer" because I didn't like sports. Yeah! Back in the 1960s I was even called a pinko or a Commie  or unpatriotic because I hated sports. But school yard bullies are actually the biggest cowards there is, especially some of the jock bullies I have known. Yeah! Now who's a sissy? OK, I know that not all school athletes are bullies, but many of them are.

In that small town where I lived, way the Hell up there in Northern Minnesota, Astronomy, and reading science books, while not liking sports, was considered "sissy stuff" especially by all the sports-obsessed jock bullies. But, they were the really sissy boys!


 Astronomy is NOT sissy stuff!!!
NO! SCIENCE IS NOT SISSY STUFF! Imagine, being an astronomer, working through the night in an unheated observatory dome high up in the mountains where it gets very cold at night, or being a paleontologist or geologist collecting fossils and rock samples, getting your hands dirty and risking your life climbing up a cliff, or camping out in some hot desert searching for fossils. I wish they had science camps, like, geology camps, when I was a kid, instead of just stupid sports camps.

My family, we went out on camping trips to the National Parks during the summer months. I really enjoyed sleeping out under the stars with only a canvas tarp overhead to keep off the rain. So, I was no sissy!

When I was a kid, despite having a crippled up left knee, the result of being in a car accident, and walking with a limp, that didn't stop me from hiking in the woods bringing back live specimens to examine under my microscope. When I was 17 years old, during one of our many family camping trips, we saw The Meteor Crater not far from Winslow, Arizona, and despite my being about a hundred pounds overweight, and walking with a limp, I hiked all the way to the center of the crater and back, while my skinny younger brother chickened out!

Barringer Meteorite Crater - 4,000 ft. diameter 600 ft. deep
The meteorite crater was the result of a meteor weighing several tons that struck the earth about 50,000 years ago! Yeah! About 50 THOUSAND years ago! The earth is much older than a mere 6,000 years! Ya got that? You right-wing Christian Fundamentalist Republican retards!!! And the earth is actually 4.5 BILLION years old! Got that?

Anyway . . . . .

It's obvious that I'm no sissy boy, if I was able to hike to the center of that crater, despite having a crippled up left knee and walking with a limp.

And also . . . I have stayed up through many cold winter nights observing lunar eclipses, and comets with my telescope. I actually prefer the winter months, because the winder constellations, like, the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades Cluster  are far more interesting than the summer constellations. Also, cold nights are much better, because the air is more steady, and telescopic images appear much sharper. So astronomy is most definitely NOT sissy stuff!


We love the stars too fondly, to be fearful of the night
 Yeah! Astronomy is the big fat science of our big fat universe!

Yeah! Uh huh! A big dipper, takin' a big dip!
 OK, I'm gonna have some fat jokes in this topic! Can't be serious all the time! Right?

 Anyway . . . . .

Again . . . I must reiterate . . . astronomy is NOT sissy stuff!
 
And so . . . as Elbert Einstein might have said . . . . .



Smoke 'em if ya got 'em!

Well . . .  I don't know if he ever actually said that. But I'm a sayin' it! Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

So . . . . . . . let's get back on topic again . . . . .

PART I

Anyway . . . . . during the summer vacation when school was out, when I was at home, I spent most of my time in the public library, reading Astronomy books, and science books in general that were at adult level, books that one of my teachers would NOT allow me to read in school. And when our family went on camping trips during the summer, I would pack some books to read. Yeah! As I had mentioned earlier, I was reading at high school and adult level when I still only in grade school, and when I was 13 years old, I scored 150 points on a standard IQ test.

I was only 9 years old when I first became interested in Astronomy. I also became interested in books on Paleontology, books on dinosaurs, and EVOLUTION!!! And also, books on Geology. I was fascinated by Geology. I had a thing for mountains and deep canyons. I also enjoyed books on EVOLUTION and was particularly fascinated by dinosaurs that existed for millions of years, and became extinct about 60 million years ago!

Yeah, ya Republican Christian Fundamentalist retards! Dinosaurs became extinct 60 MILLION years ago, and the earth is about 4.5 BILLION years old, and NOT a mere 6,000 years old! Ya got that, ya Bozos? Now . . . . . GET OVER IT!!! OK???

So, anyway . . . . . . . I am interested in the really BIG THINGS! GREAT BIG FAT THINGS!

Yeah! Big things, like Geology, the mountains, canyons, and the oceans of planet Earth, and more big things, like, amphibians and reptiles, and really big things like dinosaurs, and even bigger things as in the science of Astronomy. Yes! Astronomy is the biggest and fattest science there is!

And so, I got more and more into Astronomy, a major obsession of mine. I was overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the universe. As a kid, the world seem like a pretty big place to me. I remember how we would go from Duluth Minnesota, which is on the tip of Lake Superior, to Milwaukee Wisconsin to see Grandma, and it was a journey of about 300 miles. So, traveling at an average speed of about 70 miles per hour, it should have taken about four and a half hours to get there. But then, having to stop for gas, and having to stop to eat at a restaurant, and for restroom breaks, the trip usually took about six hours.

Well, the earth is about 7,920 miles in diameter and about 24,860 (I'm using round numbers) miles in circumference. So, if there was a tunnel through the earth, and if  we could drive through the 7,920 mile tunnel at a steady speed of  70 miles per hour without stopping for gas, or lunch, or restroom breaks, it would take about 113 hours, or 4.7 days to drive through the tunnel. And if we were to drive around the earth's equator, a journey of 24,860 miles at 70 miles per hour, it would take a little bit more than 352 and a half hours, or almost 14.7 days, just over two weeks to complete the journey.

Of course, we can't drill a tunnel through the earth, and we can't drive a car around the earth's equator. I'm just using this example to demonstrate how big the earth is, and to get a feeling for its size. This is only just an illustration of how long it would take to drive all those miles.

So, to me, when I was just a kid, the earth seemed like a pretty big ball.

I became more curious about the world, and before I got into Astronomy, I was into Geography. I had a globe of the earth, and I loved to collect maps. When our family went on trips, every time we stopped at a gas station, I just had to collect road maps. This was back in the 1960s when you could get lots of road maps free from any gas station, and so, during our family trips, the car would get cluttered with lots and lots and lots of road maps! Thanks to me!!!

Then, I wanted to know what was inside the earth, and what was at the bottoms of the oceans, so I started reading books on Geology, and books about the oceans. I learned that the highest mountain on the earth is Mount Everest,  who's summit is about 29,035 feet above sea level, or almost 5 and a half miles tall.  


Mount Everest is 29,035 feet or almost 5.5 miles tall
Yeah! That's one really great big fat mountain alright! Then I learned that the Grand Canyon is about 277 miles long, about 18 miles wide, and over 6,000 feet deep.

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and over 6000 feet deep
 Yeah! That's one great big fat canyon alright! I've been to the Grand Canyon on many of our family camping trips. Then  . . . . there is the Mariana Trench, deep in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, the biggest and fattest ocean on our planet. The Mariana Trench is 1,580 miles long, about 43 miles wide, and 36,000 feet or 6.8 miles deep! So the Mariana Trench is about 5.7 times as long, about 2.38 times as wide, and 6 times as deep as The Grand Canyon! If Mount Everest were placed down in the bottom of the Mariana Trench, it would take a dunking. It would be in really deep deep water, way way over it's head! Yeah! About 7,000 feet over it's head! 

The Mariana Trench deep in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean is 
1,580 miles long, 43 miles  wide, and just over 36,000 feet deep
  
Yeah! That's one really great big fat canyon down in the bottom of the sea! So, we have some really great big fat things on our planet Earth.

Oh, but wait!!! 

Mars is just a skinny little planet, only 4,220 miles in diameter, just a little bit more than half the size of the earth. But it has some even bigger and fatter things than you will ever find on the earth! The tallest mountain on Mars is Olympus Mons, a really huge volcanic mountain that is about 14 miles tall, or about 73,920 feet above the surrounding flat lands. It is about 2.5 times as tall as Mount Everest. In fact, it's the highest mountain on any planet in the entire solar system! The base of the mountain, Olympus Mons, is big enough to cover the entire state of New Mexico! 

Well . . . uh . . . some people would say that the base of the mountain would cover Arizona. But, after the 2012 re-election of President Obama, Arizona became a Republican red state, while New Mexico became a Democratic blue state. And I use to live in New Mexico. So, fuck Arizona!!! OK???

Anyway . . . . .

If Olympus Mons were on the earth, instead of on Mars, the top of the mountain would be way up there at 73,920 feet above sea level where the atmosphere is so thin that you would almost need a space suit to just climb to the top of the mountain. There would be no breathable oxygen at that height.

A typical commercial passenger jet plane flies at about 350 miles per hour and at a maximum altitude of 32,000 feet. I suppose they could fly a little higher, but then, that would be up there in military air space. So, civilian passenger jets are legally confined to altitudes of no more than 32,000 feet. A commercial jet liner would never be able to fly over the top of Olympus Mons. It would have to fly several hundred miles out of the way to get around the base of the mountain. Olympus Mons is more than twice the height that commercial jet liners are able to fly. You would need a rocket plane instead of a jet plane. 


Olympus Mons, tallest mountain on Mars, or any planet! It's 14 miles
or 73,920 feet tall. Notice how much of the planet's surface it covers.

Yeah! That's one great big fat volcanic mountain alright! Then there is the largest canyon on Mars, named Valles Marineris, often referred to as "The Grand Canyon of Mars" which is about 2,500 miles long, about 125 miles wide, and 4 miles, or 21,120 feet deep! It is the largest canyon on any planet in the entire solar system!

Valles Marineris, referred to as "The Grand Canyon of Mars" is 2,500 
miles long, about 125 miles wide, and about 4 miles or 21,120 feet 
deep.Yeah! notice the really huge scar across the face of planet Mars!

Yeah! That's one great big fat canyon alright! Actually, the highest mountain and the biggest canyon on Mars are not just great big fat things! No! Olympus Mons and Valles Marineris, compared to anything on earth, these Martian features are absolutely obese!!!

The great canyon on Mars, Valles Marineris, was formed by a flowing river of water, billions of years ago, in much the same way that the Colorado River carved out The Grand Canyon of Arizona, when Mars once had a much denser atmosphere, and a lot more water. But eventually, Mars lost it's atmosphere, and most of the water has evaporated off into space, due to the lower gravity on Mars. So now, there is very little water left on Mars.

WOW! How can such a skinny little planet like Mars, have such great big fat things that are much bigger and much fatter than anything on Earth? Yeah! Mars has bigger and fatter mountains, and bigger and fatter canyons than the mountains and canyons on Earth! I actually think that it's unfair that such a skinny little planet like Mars should have bigger and fatter surface features than anything here on the Earth! Damn! It's so unfair! But whoever said that nature was fair? Right? Right!!!

And now . . . . .

On to even bigger and fatter things out there in the solar system!

But first . . . it's time for a commercial break.

Hungry? Then, have yourself a Mars Candy Bar! A delicious chocolate and caramel treat!

And now, back to our program . . . . .

 Anyway . . . . . scientist have recently found more evidence of water on Mars.

Water on Mars!
  
And now . . . back to our discussion of even bigger and fatter things in the solar system.

But . . .first of all . . . let's start with the small terrestrial planets of the inner solar system, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, and of course, little Pluto in the outer regions of our solar system.



The five smallest planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Pluto

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and it's average orbital distance form the sun is about 36 million miles, and it is 3,030 miles in diameter, much smaller than the planet Earth. Venus orbits around the sun at a distance of 67 million miles and it's about 7,520 miles in diameter, slightly smaller than the earth. Our home planet Earth is about 93 million miles from the sun and is 7,920 miles in diameter. Mars is at 142 million miles from the sun and is 4,220 miles in diameter, a little bit more than half the size of the Earth. And finally, we have little Pluto, the smallest and skinniest planet way out there on the edge of the solar system. Pluto is about 3,647,000,000 miles, that is, about 3 billion plus 647 million miles away from the sun. BURRRRRRR! Like, it's really cold out there!!! You can really freeze your ass off! And it's just a little guy, only 1,480 miles in diameter, the smallest and skinniest plant of them all, except for the asteroids which are really skinny little worlds in a belt between Mars and Jupiter, the asteroid belt, the largest asteroid being only 500 miles in diameter. Talk about a skinny little world!

So, there are nine planets in our solar system. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The planet Pluto was discovered by Dr. Clyde Tombaugh way back in the 1930s. I personally knew Dr. Clyde Tombaugh when I use to live in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Back in the mid to late 1970s I had been taking physics and astronomy courses at NMSU, New Mexico State University. So, I did have three years of college. But, unfortunately I didn't finish my degree.

Well . . . actually . . . instead of nine planets, there are really only eight planets. Pluto has recently been demoted,  reclassified as a Kuiper Belt Object, or dwarf planet. So, beyond Neptune, there is a region of space filled with icy bodies, Known as the Kuiper Belt. This chilly expanse holds trillions of objects, remnants of the early solar system. The Dutch astronomer, Jan Oort, first proposed in 1950 that some comets might come from the solar system’s far suburbs. That reservoir later became known as the Oort cloud. Earlier, in 1943, astronomer Kenneth Edgeworth, had suggested comets and larger bodies might exist beyond Neptune. In 1951, astronomer, Gerard Kuiper, predicted the existence of a belt of icy objects that now bears his name. So now, some astronomers refer to it as, the Edgeworth-Kupier Belt.

And here's more . . . . .

In this distant region of the solar system, are these small worlds, most commonly known as Kupier Belt Objects (KBOs) and, in recent years, also classified as dwarf planets.

For more information, just go to the website at . . . . .

Anyway . . . some more dwarf planets have been found, recently named Eris, Haumea, Makemake and Ceres. Pluto is one of these dwarf planets. So, Pluto is no longer considered a regular planet anymore, but just a little dwarf planet way out there in the Kupier Belt.

The Kuiper Belt region beyond Neptune
So now . . . we have three different categories of planets. The terrestrial (small rocky planets) like, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The Jovian (huge gas giant planets) like, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and the (little icy dwarf planets) like, Pluto, Eris, Haumea, Makemake and of course, Ceres, which in in the asteroid bet between Mars and Jupiter. So, Ceres is not an icy Kuiper Belt object, but it is still a rocky dwarf planet.

Yeah! I'm so fat I have to wear The Kuiper Belt around my waist to hold up my pants! When I was much younger, I only had to wear the Asteroid Belt! Yeah! Uh huh! A fat joke! I don't mind fat jokes. Sometimes I'll even make fun of myself!

OK, now that we got all of that out of the way, we can continue on to our discussion of even bigger and fatter things in the solar system.

So, here we go!


The four largest planets, the Jovian planets, or 
gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune
Jupiter, Big J himself, he is the biggest and baddest dude in our neighborhood, the biggest and fattest planet in our solar system. He revolves around the sun at a distance of 483 million miles and he is 88,840 miles in diameter. So, he is big enough to swallow about 1,300 earths! WOW! What a glutton! Also, he only takes 9 hours and 55 minutes, a little less then 10 hours to rotate on his axes. So, his equatorial diameter bulges out greater than his polar diameter. Another words, he's a little bit wider than he is tall. WOW! Talk about midriff bulge!  As I have said, his equatorial diameter is 88,840 miles, but his polar diameter is 82,900 miles. So, his equatorial diameter divided by his polar diameter, that is, 88,840/82,900=1.07 which is the ratio of his equatorial diameter to his polar diameter. He is actually kind of "pot-bellied" due to his rapid rotation. So, as far as planets go, he's really super super obese!

OK, once again, time for another commercial break . . . . .

Are you still hungry after reading all this complicated science stuff?
Then, stuff yourself with these delicious JUPITER CUPCAKES!

Jupiter cupcakes! Oh! So, delicious!
Energy fortified so you can dance The Jupiter Ballot, just like our favorite celebrity, the super obese male ballot dancer whom we all love and admire! The star of this show! Isn't he cute? I think so!

For much larger easier to read text, please right-click 
your mouse on the image above and open in new tab!

Here is the star of our show! A real celebrity! A super morbidly obese male ballet dancer in his frilly tutu and lavender ballot slippers! He loves to perform on the stage, his dance routine, that he calls THE JUPITER BALLOT, rapidly spinning about, pirouetting on his tip-toe! He stands 6 feet 5 inches (77 inches) tall and weighs 3,850 pounds! Due to his rapid spinning, he is somewhat  wider across his waist than he is tall, about 6 feet 10 inches or (82 inches) wide across his waist! The ratio of his width to his height in inches being 82/77=1.07 is the same as the ratio of Jupiter's equatorial diameter to it's polar diameter in miles being 88,840/82,900=1.07 both our star ballot dancer and the planet Jupiter have the same ratio of 1.07 his width/height in inches, and Jupiter's equatorial/polar diameter in miles! Of course, his rapid spinning is just his excuse for being wider than he is tall. It is most likely due to eating too damn many Milky Way Bars, Mars Bars, Moon Pies, and too many Jupiter Cupcakes! Yeah! Excuses excuses! We get it! Oh well, whatever make one happy! Way to go! Or preferably, weigh to go!!! In the meantime . . . get your energy fortified Jupiter Cupcakes today, and you too can become  just like our celebrity male ballot dancer! Now, wouldn't that be nice? I think so!

DISCLAIMER: The above cartoon image is just a silly little fantasy! OK, a great big fat silly fantasy, as I seriously doubt that a human being could ever weigh that much! But, it might be fun to try for it!


And now . . . . . we return to our program, now in progress . . . . .

Because of Jupiter's enormous gravity, he helps to deflect most comets and asteroids away from a possible collision course with the earth. If it wasn't for him, the earth would certainly have had a Hell of a lot more devastating collisions in the past than it already has had, and life would be even more difficult here on the earth, So, he's really a gentle and jovial and jolly giant, as he does offer us some protection. Yeah! It's really kind of  nice to have him around. Kudos to you, Big J!

The next planet is Saturn, about 1,429,000,000 miles, that's 1 billion plus 429 million miles from the sun, and he has a diameter of 74,890 miles, a little bit smaller than Jupiter, and he proudly displays his beautiful set of rings. Show off!!! But, why should we begrudge him? Eh?    

Saturn with his most magnificent rings!
I remember many years ago, back in 1979 when I was watching Saturday Night Live on TV.  They would always do a satire, a parody of the evening NEWS. One of the satirical NEWS commentators had said, that radio astronomers had picked up on some kind of radio noise coming from the rings of Saturn, and recorded it as sound, and he said "Here it is! The the rings of Saturn!" and when the audio recording was played back, you could hear a kind of ringing noise, like, rrrrriiiiiiinnnnnnng! rrrrriiiiiiinnnnnnng! rrrrriiiiiiinnnnnnng! Yeah! The rings of Saturn! This of course was only a spoof. But then . . . guess what!!! About a year later, one of the Voyager space crafts, as it passed by Saturn, it did in fact, pick up radio noise from the rings of Saturn, and when it was played back, for real, it sounded almost like the radio noise parodied on Saturday Night Live! So, what had originally been a spoof, a satire, a parody of an evening NEWS broadcast, had turned out, about a year later, to be prophetic! WOW! What an amazing coincidence! Eh?

The next of the Jovian gas giants is Uranus. I prefer to pronounce it You-rain-us  and some people pronounce it You-ran-us,  while some people pronounce it  Urine-us, which I think is really kind of gross! I would much rather be rained on, than urinated on, or pissed on! Yeah! Urine-us sounds too much like, Piss On Us! Anyway . . . Uranus is about 2,871,000,000 miles, that's 2 billion plus 871 million miles from the sun and it's 31,760 miles in diameter.

 The planet Piss On Us. . .Uh, excuse me. . .the planet Urine-us. . .No, I mean. . .Uranus! yeah!
OK, my apologies to the planet Uranus, which I pronounce You-rain-us. Also, the reason why I don't like the pronunciation, You-ran-us, is because, it reminds me too much of working under a tyrannical boss, or getting ran over by a bus! And Uranus sort of reminds me of a drunken bus driver because of his drunken 82.1 degree tilt in his rotational axes. The rotational axis of the earth is tilted 23.5 degrees to the plane of it's orbit, called, the plane of ecliptic. Mercury has a 0 zero degree tilt, so he's standing straight up, while Venus, she only has a 2 degree tilt, and Mars, he has a 24 degree tilt, not much different from Earth. Jupiter, he has a 3.1 degree tilt, and Saturn, he has a 29 degree tilt, and finally Neptune has a  28.8 degree tilt in his rotational axis. But, Uranus, he's the one with the drunken 82.1 degree tilt in his rotational axis. Yeah! Uranus sort of reminds me of a drunken bus driver who's been driving around out there for the past 4.5 billion years. So, I don't think he's going to lose his license anytime soon! Yeah! Keep on a truckin' there, ol' boy!

And finally, Neptune is 4,496,000,000 miles, that's 4 billion plus 496 million miles from the sun, and it's diameter is 30,770 miles, just slightly smaller than Uranus.

The planet Neptune
So, we have two set of twins in our solar system. Earth and Venus are twins in size with Earth being 7,920 miles in diameter, and Venus being  a little bit smaller at 7,520 miles in diameter. And the other set of twins, Uranus and Neptune with Uranus being 31,760 miles in diameter, and Neptune being slightly smaller at 30,770 miles in diameter. Yeah! Two set of twins, Earth and Venus in the inner solar system, and Uranus and Neptune, in the outer solar system. Two sets of twins! Two skinny little twins, Earth and Venus, and two bigger and fatter twins, Uranus and Neptune. Yeah! Uh huh! Two sets of twins. And of course, Jupiter is the biggest and fattest planet in our Solar System, by Jove!

Here are how the planets in the Solar System compare.

The Nine Planets of the Solar System
So, here are the nine planets of the Solar System. Well . . . actually . . . the sun only has eight planets because, poor little Pluto is no longer classified as the ninth planet, but rather, it is just a Kuiper Belt Object or dwarf planet. There are many other such Kuiper Belt Objects or dwarf planets, some even a little bit larger than Pluto, and many smaller. So, Pluto is now one of many such objects out there.
And now, on to the biggest and fattest member of our solar family, The Sun himself!

The Big Fat Sun and the planets compared
The sun is 865,000 miles in diameter. That bad boy is really huge and enormously obese! He could easily swallow a million Earths! Yeah! A super glutton! In fact, he could have all the planets in our solar system for lunch! Hell, it would still be only a light snack for him! It would be like me drinking some beer from a thimble, or eating just one potato chip! Remember the Lay's Potato Chips commercials from back in the 1960s? "Bet ya can't eat just one!" Yeah! The Sun can swallow all the planets and it would be like eating just one Lay's Potato Chip! Just look at how small all the planets are compared to the great big fat Sun! The sun and all the planets, well . . . we're just one great big happy family! I love it! I love it!

PART II

OK, now on to even bigger and fatter things out there in the cosmos!

If you think the Sun is so big and fat, let's just take a little gander at some stars out there in the universe. The sun is a typical yellow Class G  type of star, about average size as far as stars go. And of course there are smaller dwarf stars, but there are many stars out there that are much larger, much bigger and much fatter than the Sun. Stars that are really obese!

The Sun, compared to  Sirius, Pollux, and Arcturus. These stars which are much bigger and fatter than the sun
Here we see the sun as compared to some really big fat stars out there in this big fat universe. In the above picture, Jupiter is only one pixel in size and the earth is invisible, much too small and skinny to be seen, and you can just barely make out Jupiter. Arcturus is almost big enough to swallow a million suns! To him, eating the sun is like me drinking a beer from a thimble or having just one Lay's Potato Chip! Whoops! There I go, talking about food again! But, what can you expect? I am, after all, the Big Fat Heretic! Right?

Oh! But it gets even bigger and fatter out there!

There is, however, an upper limit to just how big and fat a star can get. The greater its mass, the faster in uses up its nuclear fuel at the core, fusing lighter elements into heavier elements, for example: as in hydrogen being fused into helium, which occurs at the sun's core, and in larger more massive stars, helium is fused into even heavier elements. So, again, the more massive a star is, the faster it uses up it's nuclear fuel, the shorter it's life expectancy. Smaller stars last much longer than great big super fat giant stars!   

Here is some even bigger and fatter stars, Rigel, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, and Antares
In the picture above, Jupiter is now invisible, and the sun is only one pixel in size. Antares is the biggest and fattest star known to astronomers at the present time, and he can eat Arcturus as if it were an  hors d'oeuvres (pronounced orderb) sort of like, eating an olive! There may be some bigger and fatter stars yet undiscovered, but there is a physical limit to how big stars can get before they become much too unstable. 
Anyway . . . . . as you can see, Antares is so big and fat, that swallowing  the sun would be like an elephant, no, a whale swallowing an ant! Yeah! Where's the sun in all of this? Where the Hell is the earth and the other planets in all of this? We are as nothing compared to what is out there in the universe.

As we know, the sun has eight planets (Pluto no longer classified at the ninth planet, but just a Kuiper Belt Object or dwarf planet) and thanks to the Hubble and Kepler space telescopes, it's been discovered that many other stars, distant suns, have their own planetary system, just like the sun with it's solar system.

Jupiter is the biggest and fattest planet in our solar system. But many other planetary systems have gas giant, or Jovian type planets that are much bigger and much fatter than Jupiter. Back when astronomers first  began discovering that there are planets orbiting other stars, or other distant suns, it was only the very large Jupiter-type, or Jovian-type planets being detected. Then, with more and more improvements being made in the Hubble space telescope, and further refinements in their observations, astronomers began detecting smaller planets that are Jupiter-sized and smaller than Jupiter. And then, more recently, astronomers been able to detect even smaller plants that are even more Earth-sized. So, astronomer are getting much better at detecting exo-planets in other star systems way out yonder. 

Now, as we all know, within our own solar system, our Earth is about 93 million miles away from the sun. If the Earth were too much closer, then temperatures would be too hot for liquid water to exist. Conversely, if the Earth were too much further away away from the sun, then temperatures would be too cold for liquid water, and the earth would be a frozen world covered with ice. But, since our planet is not too close, and not too far from the sun, then we are in a zone around the sun where temperatures are not too hot and not too cold, but just right for liquid water and life to exists. This is been dubbed, "The Goldilocks Zone" not too hot, and not too cold, but just right!

So, every star has it's own "Goldilocks Zone" which a region where temperatures would be just right for planets having liquid water, and possibly even were other life could exist. For stars that are bigger or hotter than the sun, the Goldilocks zone would be further away, while for stars that are smaller, and not as hot as the sun, the Goldilocks Zone would be closer to the star.

Also, as mentioned much earlier, stars about the same size and temperature as the sun have a life expectancy of about 8 to 10 billion years. Giant stars that are bigger and hotter than the sun have a much shorter life expectancy, while stars that are smaller and not as hot as the sun will have a much longer life expectancy.

For quite some time, professional astronomers would say, that if you're searching for other Earth-like planets, then it is best to look for yellow Class G stars, like the sun. But recently, planets that are earth-like have been detected around smaller red stars that are not as hot as the sun. And since smaller red stars have a much longer life expectancy than the sun would have, then . . . a planet at the right distance, within the star's Goldilocks Zone would have a lot more time for life to evolve, and perhaps even sentient intelligent life to exist, whereas, for a star that is bigger and hotter than the sun, with a much shorter life expectancy, then of course, there would be far less time for life to evolve, and a much lower chance of any intelligent sentient life-forms. So, to search for other intelligent life or any kind of life, it would be best, at the very least, to search for planets orbiting around a yellow Class G star like the sun, but even better, much better, to search for planets orbiting around orange or red stars smaller than the sun. Of course, for smaller orange or red stars, the Goldilocks Zone would be closer to the star.

Also, for any kind of intelligent life, or any life to exists, a planet not only has to be just the right temperature for liquid water to exist, it preferably would have to have a breathable nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere, and the planet would have to be the right size with the right amount of surface gravity, thus placing a lower limit on how small the plant can be, or an upper limit on how big and massive the planet can be. It has to be a small rocky planet, a terrestrial-type planet, sort of like the earth, but not a gas giant or Jovian-type planet like Jupiter, having no actual solid surface. If a planet is way too small, it would have a lower surface gravity too weak to hold onto an atmosphere, and liquid water would evaporate off into space. And if the planet is too big and too massive, it would be very hard for life-forms to move about, even if the planet had a breathable nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere and liquid water. Life forms would be mostly bacteria or small creatures crawling about, and zero chance for any intelligent life to evolve. So, there is a lower limit to how skinny, or an upper limit to how fat an Earth-like planet can be.  

And finally, the bigger, and the more massive a stare is, the shorter it's life expectancy. A star like the sun, a typical yellow Class G star will last on average about 8 to 10 billion years before it becomes a big fat red giant and more unstable. The sun is already about 4.5 billion years old, so it's a middle aged star, not quite ready for the old folks home yet.

YEAH! That's right! About 4.5 BILLION years old! Ya got that, Ya Christian Funny-mentalist Republican retards? Yes, 4.5 BILLION years old and NOT 6,000 years old! Get that into your thick skulls ya Bozos!!!

Large white hot stars, like Sirius and Rigel are Class O stars, while cooler red giant stars are Class M. Stars are categorize according to their surface temperature and spectral classification or color index. From the hottest to the coolest, the following star classifications are O, B, A, F, G, K, M. 

To help you to remember the letters used, just remember the classical reference, Oh! Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me, which is the old standard, or you can say, Old Beer And Fat Girls Kill Men, or you can use Obese Buddies Are Fat Guys Killing Monkeys, or perhaps, Old, Bald And Fat Generals Keep Mistresses. Uh . . .  yes . . . even astronomy has it's fat jokes! Then, maybe you might like, if you're hungry, Our Best Acronym Finalist Gets Kraft Macaroni, or if you like, if you're still hungry, Oven Bake And Fire Grill Kepler Meat. Yes, sometime even astronomy thinks of food. Then, if ya wanna get political,  there is, Only Boys Accepting Feminism Get Kissed, or if you're a student, you might prefer, Oh Boy, An F Grade Kills Me, and finally, there is, Only Bad Astronomers Find Gratitude Knowing Mnemonics. Yeah! That's enough already! OK, I think I'll shut up now! 

The Hertzsprung–Russell - HR Diagram - named after Ejnar Hertzsprung and Henry Norris Russell
The above Hertzsprung–Russell diagram is a scatter graph of stars showing the relationship between the stars' absolute magnitude or luminosity versus their spectral types or classifications and effective temperatures. The Hertzsprung–Russell diagrams are NOT maps of the locations of the stars, but rather, they plot each star on a graph measuring the star's absolute magnitude (brightness) against its temperature (color) also called, the color index. Hertzsprung–Russell diagrams are also referred to by the abbreviation H–R diagram or HRD. The diagram was created circa 1910 by Ejnar Hertzsprung and Henry Norris Russell and represents a major step towards an understanding of stellar evolution or "the lives of stars".

Oh! Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me!

The image above depicts the surface temperature of the stars in degrees Kelvin according to their spectral type and color index.

Anyway . . . . . . .

The really super massive and morbidly obese super giant stars can expect to live for less than a few hundred-million years before they are a finally a headin' fo the last round up!  Yeah! I gotta toss in a little bit of cowboy lingo here because, I am, after all, a Texan. Of course, our Texas Republican Governor, Rick Perry, he's all hat and no cattle! Yeah! A 10 gallon hat on a half-pint head!

Ah! But I digress . . . 

How long a star "lives" depends on it's initial mass after it's "born" gravitationally condensed from a nebulous cloud of hydrogen interstellar gas and dust. 

Life cycle of stars depend on the initial mass of a newly formed star
Stars are born in gaseous nebulae. These are huge clouds of interstellar gas and dust that collapse under gravitational forces, forming proto-stars. These young stars undergo further collapse, forming main sequence stars.

Stars expand as they grow old. As the core runs out of hydrogen and then helium, the core contacts and the outer layers expand, cool, and become less bright. This is a red giant or a red super giant (depending on the initial mass of the star). It will eventually collapse and explode. Its fate is determined by the original mass of the star; so that it will become either a black dwarf, neutron star, or even a black hole.


So . . . not all stars will become a neutron star or a black hole. That all depends on how massive a star is at it's birth. A typical yellow Class G star, like the sun will last from 8 to 10 billion years. Through nuclear fusion at the core, the sun is converting billions of tons of hydrogen into helium every second. The sun has been doing this for the past 4.5 BILLION years (NOT just 6, 000 years, you Christian Fundamentalist retards!) and will continue to do so for the next 4 billion years or so. 

Right now, the sun is a middle aged star. Eventually, most of the hydrogen will have been converted into helium. As the helium "ash" accumulates in the core, the sun's core won't be hot enough to convert the helium into heavier elements . . . yet. So, as the core temperature cools down, the sun will collapse gravitationally in on itself causing the core temperature to rise, thus, converting helium into heavier elements. As a result of rising core temperatures, the sun will expand outward, becoming a red giant, getting bigger and fatter in it's old age, and then, that bad boy is going to consume the inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and maybe even Mars! Oh WOW! What a great big fat glutton the sun will eventualy become! 

At this time in its life, the sun will become a variable star, collapsing a little bit, and expanding, shrinking, and expanding, over and over again, and throwing material off into space. The sun will have become a variable star, sort of like a Cepheid variable star, as named after such stars discovered by astronomers  in the constellation, Cepheus. Yeah! Cepheus-self! OK! Bad joke! Sorry! My bad!  

Eventually the helium in the suns core, through nuclear fusion, will be converted into still heavier elements. In stars the size and mass of the sun, there is an upper limit. When iron finally accumulates in the core, all nuclear fission will stop, and the sun will shrink down to the size of a little white dwarf, smaller than the planet Mercury was, down to less than 100 miles in diameter. Then after billions and billions of year, the sun will cool down to being a red dwarf, and then, just a dark little cinder of iron, a dead black dwarf. The sun will NOT go out with a bang, but only a whimper! Aw! Poor baby! What a wuss!   

Now, a larger more massive star, will not live as long as the sun. It will go through pretty much the same thing, but not in many billions of years, but rather, in less than a billion years. Its life cycle will be much faster. But the differences is . . . when iron accumulates in it's core, and all nuclear fusion has stopped, a more massive star will collapse more violently, causing a violent explosion, a NOVA, and most of it's material will get thrown back off into space, and temperatures will get hot enough for nuclear fusion again, so that heavier elements beyond iron will be the result. What is left behind will be a rapidly spinning neutron star, about 10 miles in diameter, and most of the original mass of the star gets thrown off into space to become a nebulous cloud of interstellar gasses, seasoned with heavier elements, up to uranium. A neutron stars is just a ball of neutrons, material packed so tightly together, it's density so high, that a teaspoon of neutron star material weighs billions of tons!  

And finally, an even larger and more massive star, goes through the same thing, but even faster, and will live only about 100 million years, or even less, depending on it's mass. When a much more massive star collapses and explodes outward, it becomes a SUPER NOVA!  But instead of becoming a neutron star, it will collapse even more, to become a black hole that is so dense, and gravity so strong, that not even light can escape from it! So, stars that are bigger and fatter than the sun all go out with a BANG!!! But, stars that are the size of the sun, or smaller, they only go out with a whimper! The little wussies!!! 


The life and death of stars according to size and mass
Anyway . . . . . a long long time ago, about 13 billion years ago, when the universe was much younger, there was only huge nebulous clouds of mostly hydrogen and a little helium. There were no heavier elements yet. So, when galaxies and stars were first forming there were only stars and still no planets yet. Just stars. 

But eventually, over hundreds of millions of years, the really large massive stars went NOVA or SUPER NOVA, spewing most of their materials back into space again, and seeding the huge nebulous clods of hydrogen with heavier elements. After this hydrogen soup was delicately seasoned with heavier elements, then as newer stars were formed, planets also began to form, So, the first generation of stars had no planets yet, while the next generation of stars began to have planets orbiting around them. Our sun is a second, or perhaps, even a third generation star.

Periodic Table of The Elements. The heavier elements beyond helium is needed for planets to exist.
Yeah! Nothing like a little seasoning in the cosmic hydrogen soup to bring out more flavor! The universe is still mostly hydrogen and helium gasses, but now, after billions of years, a little dash of the heavier elements makes it possible for solid planets to exist. 

As Carl Sagan once said, in his 13 episode series of COSMOS . . . . .

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, one must first invent the universe."
Carl Sagan.
 
From Carl Sagan's COSMOS -Episode IX The Lives of The Stars
The ninth episode of COSMOS was basically about how stars formed, condensing gravitationally from great nebulous clouds of hydrogen gasses and how the stars convert hydrogen into helium, and helium into heavier elements, and so on, until toward the end of a star's life, stars that are larger and more massive than the sun go nova, or super nova, exploding, spewing those heavier elements back out into space again, to eventually, condense gravitationally, to again, form new stars with their own planetary systems. And, as I had mentioned earlier, when the universe was still young, the first stars had no planets of their own, but then, thanks to the fusion of hydrogen and helium into heavier elements, the next generation of stars began to have their own planetary systems. As I have said before, our sun is either a second or perhaps even a third  generation star. The Bible says, we are made from the dust of the earth, but Carl Sagan took it another step further back when he said . . . . .


We are star stuff!

First, heavier elements had to be formed, through nuclear fusion, in the cores of the stars, beyond hydrogen and helium, before any solid planetary objects could exists, which then, eventually lead to the development and evolution of life here on the earth, and perhaps other planets somewhere out there in the universe. We don't know yet, but someday, we may discover the we are not alone.

Recipe for Carl Sagan's apple pie 
And so, every year, on the 9th day of November, I like to celebrate Carl Sagan Day by watching all 13 episodes of COSMOS with a cup of Dark Roast coffee and a nice big apple pie.

On the 9th of November, every year, Carl Sagan Day and apple pie go good together!
Yeah! You can't do Carl Sagan Day with out apple pie! It absolutely essential to have that apple pie!

Just think! About 13 billion years ago when the universe was still very young, there were only galaxies and stars, but no heavier elements to form planets. Yeah! No planets yet, and no apple pies! 

But then, eventually, after many stars having gone nova or super-nova, the vast clouds of interstellar nebulae were seeded with heavier elements, so that planets could form, and we can have apple pies!

PART III    

And now, we go to even bigger and fatter things out there in the COSMOS!

Yeah! Bigger and fatter things like galaxies, spiral galaxies and barred-spiral galaxies. The Milky Way Galaxy is a typical spiral galaxy. Actually astronomers have uncovered some evidence that it's a barred-spiral galaxy.

Our home galaxy, known as The Milky Way, is an average sized galaxy about 100,000 light-years across. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year. So, if the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, then,  that is 11,160,000 miles per minute, or 669,600,000 miles per hour, or 16,070,400,000 miles per day, or 5,865,696,000,000 miles per year. So, a light year is about 5.86 trillion miles. Our own Milky way Galaxy is about 100,000 light years across, and our next door neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy is a little bit larger and it is 2.3 million light years away from us. We live on the edge of one of the spiral arms and we are about 2/3 of the way from the center. So, if you think of the Milky Way Galaxy as a city, we live out in the suburbs. Our galaxy has over 100 billion stars in it.


A typical spiral galaxy
The photo above is of a typical spiral galaxy. These are the most common, averaging about 80,000 to 120,000 light years across, each containing over 100 billion stars. Our own Milky Way Galaxy, as I have mentioned earlier, is about 100,000 light years across. Individual stars are born, shine for a few million to many billions of  years or so, and then, eventually die, but galaxies can last for many many many billions of years. Our solar system, with it's sun and planets is about 4.5 billion years old, while our Milky Way Galaxy is about 10 billion years old.

And now, time for another commercial break . . . . . 

Ah yes! You all must be getting really hungry right now after reading so much of all this science stuff!
So, take a break, kick back and relax, and have yourself a Milky Way Candy Bar.


Milky Way Candy Bars
 My favorite is the black, Midnight Dark chocolate.

Galaxy Ripple
Someday I ought to try one of these. I like any food item named after astronomical objects.

Galaxy Full Cream Milk Chocolate
And I also like putting a couple of heaping tablespoons of chocolate mix into a cup of Dark Roast Coffee! Maybe the next tome I go into a coffee house, I take some of this with me.

Yeah! I love food! That's why I'm such a Big Fat Heretic!

And now . . . back to our program, still in progress.

The Andromeda Galaxy is another typical spiral galaxy which is about 2.3 million light years away from us. So, it is our next door neighbor as far as galaxies go. The Andromeda galaxy is a little bit larger  than our own Milk Way galaxy. 

M31 The Andromeda Galaxy is our next-door  neighbor at 2.3 million light years distant from us.
As I have mentioned earlier, we live on the edge of one of the spiral arms in our own galaxy and we are about 2/3 of the way from the center. So, as I have said before, if you think of the our Milky Way Galaxy as a city, we live out in the suburbs. And again, our galaxy has over 100 billion stars in it.

 A typical spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way. The image 
above depicts where we would be located within our own galaxy.

OK, as I had mentioned previously, our Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. But, recently, astronomers have come to suspect, that our Milky Way might even be a barred-spiral galaxy. Naturally of course, both spiral galaxies and barred-spiral galaxies are typical of the majority of galaxies being fairly common as far as galaxies go.
  
A typical barred-spiral galaxy
The photo above is of a typical barred-spiral galaxy, and now, astronomers have reason to suspect the our very own Milky Way Galaxy is a typical barred-spiral galaxy, and barred spiral galaxies are just as common-place as spiral galaxies in general.

And before I go on to some even bigger and fatter things out there in the universe, it is my great pleasure to show the following beautiful color photo of another really neat galaxy, that is known as THE CIGAR GALAXY!!!

Here is it!

Yeah! M82 - The Cigar Galaxy! Smoke 'em if ya got 'em!
Yes, it almost looks like a big fat cigar. I like this one, because I'm a cigar smoker myself. I'm now 62 years old (as of this publication in 2014) and I have been smoking pipes and cigars since I was only about 19 years old.

And now . . .  for our final commercial message in this program.

I, the Big Fat Heretic, likes to smoke FREE CUBA Churchill cigars, hand made and imported from the Dominican Republic. I prefer the 7 inch Churchill cigars to the 6 inch Toro cigars.

Your choice of either, the 7 inch Churchill or the 6 inch Toro
Free Cuba
Cigars so cheap, you’ll feel guilty.

Today the Free Cuba brand is better than ever. Handmade in the Dominican Republic, Free Cuba cigars are quite simply a winner. The proof is in the pudding. Superior wrappers and fillers, quality tobaccos and excellent construction, traits clearly evident puff after puff. Indeed, a Connecticut shade wrapper leaf is married with a combination of patiently aged Cuban-seed Dominican tobaccos. Not overly mild, but certainly not powerful, either. This medium-bodied concoction yields a mellow and pleasant yet eventful cigar that teems with flavor. Come see why Free Cuba cigars have once again become a top seller – I guarantee these CI prices will make it hard to resist.


Order yours today from CI - Cigars International at . . . . .
http://www.cigarsinternational.com 

Oh! By the way . . . here's a little song I made up about cigar smoking.

========================================
I WONDER WHAT YOU'RE SMOKIN' TONIGHT


1st. verse

For many years I've been a smoker
I've started young way back then
At the tender age of nineteen
When a pipe became my friend
Then, I fell in love with a cigar
And then I had more friends
So now, I wonder whatcha smoknin' tonight

Refrain

Oh oh - oh oh oh! I wonder
Wathcha ya'all smokin' tonight
Oh, I wonder whatcha smoking tonight

2ed. verse

My pipes and cigars, we all got closer
And it made me feel so glad
So, I knew I was a winner
'Cause a smoke makes you happy when you're sad (come on now)
'Cause your pipe or cigars will never leave ya
And never go away just for spite
So now, I wonder whacha smoking tonight

Refrain

Oh oh - oh oh oh! I wonder
Wathcha ya'all smokin' tonight
Oh, I wonder whatcha smoking tonight

3rd. verse

All right ya smokin' fools!
Cause, your smokes will always be there
If you'er wrong or if you're right
And now, I wonder, whatcha smokin' tonight

Final Refrain

Oh oh - oh oh oh! I wonder
Wathcha ya'all smokin' tonight
Oh, I wonder whatcha smoking tonight
Sha la, la la la la, la __________

Sha la, la la la la, la __________
Sha la, la la la la, la __________
Sha la, la la la la, la __________

(Repeat, and fade)

We now return . . . . . back to our programming, still in progress . . . . .

PART IV

And now, on to even bigger and fatter, super morbidly obese, giant elliptical galaxies!

These giant elliptical galaxies can be up to 3 million light years across and instead of having only a few hundred billion stars, giant elliptical galaxies may have up to a few trillion stars! Elliptical galaxies don't have spiral arms, and have an almost featureless smooth appearance. 

The Sombrero Galaxy, a typical giant elliptical galaxy
These are galaxies that may have been formed by collisions with other galaxies coming together to form one great big fat galaxy, for example: the Sombrero (Mexican hat) Galaxy. Yeah! I'm so fat I could wear the Sombrero Galaxy! (OK, another fat joke!) Giant elliptical galaxies are really very old galaxies, having used up most of their interstellar gasses and dust in star and planet formation, and so, there is very little left to form any more new stars and planets. These galaxies are the old timers, the  senior citizens of the cosmos, now too old and too fat to reproduce new stars anymore. Yeah! These obese old coots just can't get it up anymore! These are the biggest and the fattest galaxies in the universe.  These big fat giant galaxies are the results of smaller galaxies merging together to become one giant elliptical galaxy. Yeah! Uh huh! These big fat gluttons eat smaller galaxies for breakfast!

And now, for the biggest and fattest thing of all, the universe itself!

The universe is about 13 billion years old. That is, the most distant quasars we can observe are at least 12 billion light years distant. And the universe is rapidly expanding, and astronomers have recently discovered that the rate of expansion is also increasing. So, even as we speak, the universe itself is growing bigger and fatter at an ever increasing rate! Of course, the galaxies, or rather, the clusters of galaxies are getting further and further apart as the space between them continues to expand.

When astronomers say that  the universe is expanding, it does NOT mean that the planets, or the stars, or the galaxies themselves are getting any bigger, but rather, that space itself is expanding and the galaxy clusters are getting further apart. 

How do we know the universe is expanding, getting bigger and fatter?

Astronomers can tell if distant stars or galaxies are moving either toward or away from us by observing the spectra of the stars with a spectroscope. Light from the a distant object is is focused by a lens onto a narrow slit. The light passing through the slit is passed through a prism or diffraction grating where the light is broken up into rainbow colors, the spectrum. Then the spectrum is focused onto a screen or camera film, or some kind of detector.

A simple diagram of how a spectroscope works
In the picture above, a common light bulb is shown. But a spectroscope is usually attached to a telescope, and light from the sun, or from a distant star or galaxy is focused onto a narrow slit. After the light passes through the slit, it then passes through a prism where it is broken up into a broad spectrum of colors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet, where it's focused by a lens onto a screen, or a camera, or some kind of detector.

A typical spectroscope used in a physics lab

The picture above is of a typical spectroscope used in a physic lab to observe the spectra of various chemical elements. If an element is heated up until it glows, then the spectrum appears as a dark band interrupted with bright colored lines. That's called the emission spectrum, with bright colored emission lines. On the other hand, if white light is passed through a vaporous mist of the element being examined, then you'll see a continuous spectrum interrupted by dark absorption lines.

Spectrum of the sun interrupted by dark absorption lines.
These vertical lines in the spectrum are called Fraunhofer lines. These are a set of spectral lines that were named after the German physicist, Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787–1826) The lines were originally observed as dark features (absorption lines) in the optical spectrum of the Sun. These lines indicate what elements are present. For example: the double line in the yellow region is caused by the presence of Sodium. So, the lines in the solar spectrum depicted above tells us what the sun is made of. These dark Fraunhofer lines are due to certain elements absorbing light at certain frequencies. The element Helium was actually discovered in the sun's spectrum before it was discovered in labs here on the earth! So, the element was named Helium, after the Greek Sun God Helios. The spectrograph reveals what elements are present in the sun, stars, or galaxies. That's how we know what the sun, or distant stars, and galaxies are made of.

Stars and distant galaxies have similar spectra. If the lines are shifted toward the blue end of the spectrum, that means that a distant star or galaxy is moving toward us, and the more the lines are shifted, the faster that star or galaxy is moving toward us. This is called the blue-shift. The Andromeda galaxy is moving toward us and it will collide with our Milky Way galaxy sometime in the distant future, about 3 billion years from now. Most galaxies, due to the expansion of the universe, are moving away from us, so their spectral lines are shifted toward the red end of the spectrum, known as the red-shift. And the faster a galaxy is receding from us, the further toward the red end of the spectrum the lines are shifted. This is called, the "Doppler Effect" named after the Austrian physicist, Christian Doppler, who proposed it in 1842 in Prague, that it is the change in frequency of a wave for an observer moving relative to its source.

It was the astronomer, Edwin Hubble, who first discovered that all the galaxies (Except Andromeda) are receding away from us, and the further away a galaxy is, the faster it is moving away, another words, the greater its red-shift velocity. This indicates that the universe is forever expanding, growing bigger and fatter, even as we speak!

The Doppler Effect also occurs with sound waves just as it does with light waves. If you have ever stood on the platform at a railroad depot, and heard the sound of the train horn as the train approaches, and then, noticed the drop in pitch to a lower note as the train moves away, this is due to the Doppler Effect which applies to sound waves as it does to light waves. Aw! Look at the cute little choo choo! Damn! I love trains!

Train horn sounds higher pitched when approaching and a lower pitched when moving away
Of course, the apparent change in the horn's pitch is only noticed by a stationary observer standing on the railroad platform. To the passengers aboard the train, the horn sounds the same all the tine. It's only when the train horn moves relative to a stationary observer, that observer will hear the apparent change in pitch as the train approaches and then moves away.
 
The Doppler Effect on sound waves
So, in the case of the moving train horn, the sound wave are bunched together in front of the train so that the sound has a shorter wave-length and a higher frequency or pitch, while the sound waves are stretched out behind the train, thus, having a longer wave-length and lower frequency.

Absorption lines from a stationary light source (top) approaching (middle) and receding (bottom) 
And so again, as depicted in the image above, we can see how the absorption lines are blue-shifted in an approaching light source, and red-shifted in a receding light source. Blue light has a much shorter wave-length, therefore, a higher frequency, while red light has a much longer wave-length, thus, a lower frequency.

In a moving light source, the light-waves are bunched together in front and stretched out behind

And so, the principle of the Doppler Effect applies to BOTH light waves AND sound waves. Again, it was the American astronomer, Edwin Powell Hubble (1889 - 1953) who played a crucial role in establishing the field of extra-galactic astronomy and is generally regarded as one of the most important observational cosmologists of the 20th century. Edwin Hubble was the first to confirm that the galaxies were all moving away from us, that the universe is expanding.


Emission lines in the spectra of galaxy approaching (top) stationary (middle) receding (bottom)
OK, please note: that although it appears that all the galaxies through out the universe are moving away from us, that all the universe appears to be ever expanding away from us, WE ARE NOT at the center of the expansion of the universe. If you were to pack your Gucci bags, and high-tail it out of own own Milky Way galaxy, and migrate to another far distant galaxy many millions or even billions of light-years away, then you would see the same exact thing going on. Our Milky Way galaxy, and all the other galaxies will appear to be moving away from you. So, every galaxy would see the same thing, all the other galaxies appearing to be moving away from it. NOT one single individual galaxy can call itself the center of the general expansion of the universe. NOT one single galaxy occupies any unique position in the universe. ALL galaxies, and galactic clusters are equal. The big fat universe is a big fat Democracy out there! We're all "created" equal! 

And so . . . space itself, the universe, is growing bigger and fatter.

Oh yes indeed! It's a really great big fat universe out there!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ EPILOGUE ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As you can see, while reading through out this blog article, that I do like to throw in a few political rants and raves. OK, I live in the state of Texas (I'm ashamed to admit) where we have some of the most retarded Republican anti-science morons who have openly come out against teaching critical thinking, or Higher Order Thinking Skills, what they call, HOTS!  

A perfect prime example of Republican retardation here in Texas, is our very own Governor Good Hair, Rick The Prick Perry, who is all hat and no cattle! Yeah! A ten gallon hat on a half-pint head! Governor Rick Perry is probably the most anti-science Republican that I can think of at the moment.

OK, the following is from an article at . . .
 http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_09/galileo_got_outvoted_for_a_spe032063.php

POLITICAL ANIMAL
September 08, 2011 11:20
  
'Galileo got outvoted for a spell’ 
By Steve Benen

Perhaps the most quoted line from last night’s Republican debate referenced, of all people, Galileo Galilei.

QUESTION: Gov. Perry, Gov. Huntsman was not specific about names, but the two of you do have a difference of opinion about climate change. Just recently in New Hampshire, you said that weekly and even daily scientists are coming forward to question the idea that human activity is behind climate change. Which scientists have you found most credible on this subject?

PERRY: Well, I do agree that there is — the science is — is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at — at — at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just — is nonsense. I mean, it — I mean — and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.

Putting aside Rick Perry’s confusion about the consensus on climate science, I’m still not sure what the Galileo reference is even supposed to mean.

He “got outvoted”? If by “outvoted,” Perry means “deemed a heretic by the Inquisition for proving heliocentrism,” then sure, Galileo “got outvoted.”

But in context, what is it, exactly, that Perry is trying to say? Galileo was, after all, correct. His ideas were controversial and inconvenient for society’s most powerful leaders of the day, but the facts were on his side.

Does Perry think Galileo’s experience bolsters the case against climate science? Maybe someone can translate this one for me; I can’t find my far-right decoder ring this morning.

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OK, back in the year 1633, Galileo was charged with the "crime" of heresy. Back then, the doctrine of the Catholic Church was that the earth was the center of the universe, and the sun, and all the planets revolved around the earth. But Galileo taught that it was the earth and all the planets that revolved around the sun. 

Galileo was told to leave his home in Florance Italy, to pack his Gucci bags, and come up to Rome, where he was put on trial by the Roman Catholic Church's Holy Office of The Inquisition. He had been interrogated for many long hours, and threatened with torture. Of course, he wasn't actually tortured, but he was shown the instruments of torture, and what might be done to him, unless he confessed to his "crime" of heresy.

So . . . actually . . . they didn't "vote" on anything. 

No, they didn't just have a discussion saying something, like . . . OK gentlemen, let's put this to a vote. Does the sun and planets revolve around the earth? Or, does the earth and planets revolve around the sun? Let's put this to a vote.

NO! They didn't vote on shit! 

After having been interrogated and threatened, poor Galileo was a broken man, too old and tired to fight anymore, whereupon, he finally broke down, and recanted. He was found guilty of heresy, and he had been warned, never again, to publicly speak about his theory of the sun-centered solar system. Another words, he was issued his official Shut The Fuck Up papers! And he was put under house arrest for the remainder of his life when he finally returned to his home in Florence, Italy. 

I think Galileo's biggest mistake was, that when he was summoned from his home in Florence, Italy to appear before the Holy Office in Rome, that instead of going up to Rome to face the Inquisition, he should have done the 180 and voted with his feet, and hot-footed his way to Holland where the IQ was higher, and where there was far more intellectual and academic freedom.

Oh! Here is a really cool song about Galileo!


Here are the lyrics to this song.

Galileo Galilei

He was a man of science
A giant of his day
He unraveled mysteries
Galileo, Galileo, Galilei

He looked thru the looking glass
And saw a new display
He saw the moons of Jupiter
Galileo, Galileo, Galilei

Oh Oh Galileo
Oh Oh Galilei
Oh Oh Galileo
Galileo, Galileo, Galilei

He studied spots on the Sun
His knowledge, he'd convey
He told us how and why things moved
Galileo, Galileo, Galilei

He said the Earth was not the center
That was not the way
It was the Sun and not the Earth
Galileo, Galileo, Galilei

Oh Oh Galileo
Oh Oh Galilei
Oh Oh Galileo
Galileo, Galileo, Galilei

Some did not approve
Of all he had to say
They said he must be silent
Galileo, Galileo, Galilei

He was a man of science
A giant of his day
He unraveled mysteries
Galileo, Galileo, Galilei


Yeah! And Governor, Rick Perry, that moronic anti-science Republican retard had the nerve to say that "Galileo was out voted" and he denies the science concerning climate change. Sorry, Rick The Prick Perry! But, climate change, and global warming is a scientific fact! Also, the earth being 4.5 billions years old, and NOT 6,600 years, is a scientific fact! And EVOLUTION is a scientific fact!

This retard makes one ashamed to be a Texan!
  Yeah! Texas Governor Rick Perry is a real prick!



Texas Governor Rick Perry is a real prick!
 Anyway . . . . . . .

It is because of these right-wing Christard Funny-mentalists in our American Republican party, that the quality of education in our public schools has been swirling down the crapper for decades!


How the USA ranks in education compared to countries

Countries, like Finland and Japan rank the highest in education, while the USA ranks 25th in math, 12th in reading skills, and 20th in science education. How pathetic! In the future, the USA will probably lose its competitive edge to the world's economic market overseas. And we have these treasonous bastards in our anti-science, Christian Fundamentalist, Republican Party to blame for that!

I hope, that in this upcoming 2014 midterm election year, that we vote all of these Republican Tea Party retards in CONgress out of office.  
 
 


Oh! Yes indeed! We really seriously need to vote all of there Republican Tea Party retards out of CONgress in this upcoming 2014 midterm election year. 

And also . . . while we're at it . . .we seriously need to focus our attention on improving the quality of education in our public schools, so that when our children graduate from our public high schools, they'll be able to go on to college and on to a brighter future, instead of a dismal future stuck in some less-than minimum wage job for the rest of their lives. OK, there's nothing wrong at working a minimum job, for example: a full time summer job if you're a kid going to high school, or as a part time job after school, or even when in college, but not as a permanent job for the rest of your life. And President Obama also wants to raise the minimum wage out of poverty level.

Yeah! Thanks to our Republican retards, America is in danger of becoming just another third world nation, failing to educate our own children, while we just keep importing well educated science nerds and techno-geeks from overseas to keep or lights on, the water flowing, and our wheels turning, and also, we've been outsourcing what was once good paying American jobs overseas. America has become the laughing stock of the rest of the world. We are in danger of losing our prosperity.   

Star Trek, Generation XL
Yes! Again . . . I must reiterate . . . . . we Americans are in danger of losing our prosperity.

And now . . . . . we come to the conclusion of our program.

We're too big for our britches! We go about, mooning the world! Yeah! Moon over Miami!


 ~ ~ ~ THE END ~ ~ ~

( But not quite yet )



Addendum

Before we come to the final conclusion of my topic, I wish to leave you all with some final thoughts about my concerns for the future of our nation. Yes, I'm given to political ranting and raving at times. I am, after all, a dyed in the wool, left-wing Democrat, and I've been a registered Democrat ever since I was old enough to vote. Being 62 years old (as of this publication in 2014) I have seen how the political climate has changed over the years.

Back in 1976, I voted for Jimmy Carter. He really wasn't a very good politician. But, I liked him, and I thought he was honest and sincere, because he was not a lying scum-bag as Tricky Dicky Nixon was. Yeah! I'll never forget Nixon's Watergate scandal from back in 1972. 

Anyway  . . . . . I remember, how President Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of The Whitehouse. He was the first President to show some real concern for the environment, and for developing new sources of energy, like wind and solar power, so that we might become less dependent on importing foreign oil. Yes, he did have some very good ideas.

Then, back in 1980, good ol' Ronald (Bed Time For Bonzo) Reagan got elected President. That was when the political pendulum swung far to the right. But, I also remember one really cool thing about that year. It was in 1980 when the PBS Network broadcasted their 13 episode series of COSMOS by Carl Sagan.

Here are the titles of those 13 episodes of COSMOS by Carl Sagan.

COSMOS by Carl Sagan

I - The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean
II - One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue
III - The Harmony of Worlds
IV - Heaven and Hell
V - Blues for a Red Planet
VI - Travelers' Tales
VII - The Backbone of Night
VIII - Travels in Space and Time
IX - The Lives of the Stars
X - The Edge of Forever
XI - The Persistence of Memory
XII - Encyclopedia Galactica
XIII - Who Speaks for Earth?

And so, Carl Sagan's 13 episodes of COSMOS was the very best thing about the 1980s while almost every thing else about the 1980s just absolutely sucked rubber donkey lungs! It was the decade of when Ronald Reagan was president, from 1980 to 1988.

I remember watching so many  NEWS broadcasts on TV, and how after Ronald Reagan got elected President, the Reverend Jerry Falwell and his so-called Moral Majority (Moron Minority) were on the political rampage, and I remember seeing public book burnings in the streets by all these right-wing religious fanatics, and these Christian Fundamentalists singing their retarded church hymns as piles of books were consigned to the bonfires. It reminded me of TV documentaries of book burnings in Nazi Germany, under Adolph Hitler.

 
The only difference was, the old documentary films of the Nazi Germany book burnings back in the 1930s were in Black and White, while the USA book burnings in the 1980s were in glorious living technicolor!  Oh! How very nice! Eh? We got to see religious right-wing Fascism in color!

Well . . . there was another difference between the two. The book burnings in Nazi Germany eventually lead to millions of innocent people getting burned in the Nazi concentration camps, whereas, in the USA it didn't go quite that far. But I remember being afraid that it might happen. Perhaps I was being a little bit paranoid, but history has often shown, that it doesn't take very long to go from burning books to burning the people who write them. So, the 1980s was a nightmare decade for me.

Back then, my mother and I were living up in Hillsborough, New Mexico, for the summer, not far from the Gila National Forest. It was nice spending the summers there. Anyway . . . . . during the book burnings of the 1980s some of  books that they were burning was Slaughter House Five, The Catcher in The Rye, and Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature at which book paper ignites and burns) which ironically enough, was about a futuristic society in which all books were banned.

Anyway . . . . . while my mother and I were vacationing in Hillsborough, in that little town, once each week, the bookmobile would come to town, and I started checking out books, the titles of which was on the right-wing Christian Fundamentalist's "hit list" of book they wanted to ban. And if the bookmobile didn't have a book that I wanted, they would get it for me the following week. 

OK, Hillsborough was kind of a conservative little town, but we were all against book censorship, and we all looked forward to the arrival of the bookmobile. There wasn't much to do in that little town, not much entertainment, except for the Autumn Apple Festival. So, the coming of the bookmobile was the high point of each and every week. And I read almost every book that was on the "hit list" of books to be banned by the ultra-conservative Christian right.

After my mother passed on in June of 1985, I moved back to Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was from 1988 to 1992 when George Bush Sr. was President. I did not vote for him. No way! Then in 1992, I voted for Bill Clinton, and again in 1996. Yeah, I was a little bit peeved off about the whole Monica Lewinsky affair. I don't approve of cheating on one's spouse. But, many Republicans have done far worse, like having sex with under-aged teens and even children, whereas, Monica Lewinsky was an adult. Also, Bill's wife, Hillery, was willing to forgive him. So, I say, let them move on with their lives. I intend to vote for Hillery Clinton in the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election year. I hope she wins, and becomes Americas very first woman President. I'm happy to have seen America elect my very first Black President, Barack Hussein Obama II. 

But, getting back on topic again . . .

The year 2000 was a real bummer, because of the attack on the World Trade Centers, and the election of George Bush Jr. as president. I did not vote for him either. Papa Bush was bad enough, but Baby Bush was even worse than his ol' man! President Bush ruined this country! The only thing President Clinton ruined was a dress and a perfectly good cigar!

Yeah! The first time somebody ever listened to a bush, a million people wandered about in a desert 40 years! Uh . . . that is, if you actually believe in the Bible story of Moses, which of course, I don't.

Then came the Presidential Election year 2008 when John McCain and Sarah Palin were running on the Republican ticket, while Barack Hussein Obama II and Joe Biden were running on the Democratic ticket. I was looking forward to voting for my very first black President. 

I'm glad that Obama won, because, unlike the Republican retards who are against science education, Obama is really big on supporting science education in our public schools.

Scientists and engineers ought to stand side by side with athletes and entertainers as role models.
“I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect, and I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody's religious beliefs, including my own, on nonbelievers.”

Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
 


I think Obama is probably one of the smartest Presidents we have had in a very long time, certainly much smarter than both Papa Bush and Baby Bush!

Oh! And by the way . . . . . Getting back to the subject book censorship again . . . . .

When Sarah Palin was once the Mayor of  Wasilla, Alaska, there was a rumor going around that Sarah Palin wanted to have some books banned from the public library.  

OK, here is a list of books that Sarah Palin had allegedly tried to have banned. As many of you will notice this the great big hit parade for book burners.
 
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It’s Okay if You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

The above information was taken from the official minutes of the Wasilla Library Board. When the librarian refused to ban the books, Sarah Palin tried to have her fired!

Well, actually . . . Sarah Palin didn't really try get all those books banned, but that, she merely inquired if those books could be banned. But, that's bad enough! Any duly elected official who merely advocates book censorship, or anything that violates the First Amendment of The Constitution of The United State, that official ought to be impeached and be removed from office. To me, it's bordering on treason!!!

I'm so glad that John McCain and Sarah Palin did not get elected President and Vice-president on the Republican ticket, and I'm very very happy that Obama DID get elected back in 2008, my very first black President. And, although I'm straight, I think Obama is the cutest President that we have ever elected. Yeah! I'm straight! But, I can think that other guys are cute! OK?       

Yeah! I think Obama is cute! I love him!
If I were to meet Obama in person, instead of just shaking his hand, I'd want to give him a big fat hug, and maybe a little kiss on the cheek! Yes, I'm straight, but I'm very passionate, and emotional at times. OK?

And so . . . it was back in 2008 when I got to vote for my very first black President, and I voted for him again back in 2012 and I hope to vote for Hillery Clinton, my very first woman President in 2016.

Anyway . . . . . . .
 
The year 2009 was a very special year for me, because, February 12,2009 was there 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, and it was also the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope. So, that was really cool.
 
Yes, 2009 was a very very special year for me. I celebrated both the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 400th Anniversary of Galileo's telescope. I celebrated Charles Darwin with a Dark Ale and a cigar, then months later, I celebrated Galileo with a red wine, a pizza and a cigar! Yeah! I'm always thinking of food! And my cigars! Gotta have 'em!

But then . . . . . for me . . . . . the year 2011 really sucked on all four cylinders! It was the 400th anniversary of The King James Bible. That really sucks on wheels! The year 2011 sucked, like nothing has ever sucked before! Oh how 2011 sucked! Let me count the ways!

Anyway . . . as of this publication on 2014, I now have something really special to look forward to.

As I have said, earlier in this topic, the best thing about the 1980s was COSMOS by Carl Sagan. I remember when he died back in 1996. I actually broke down and cried! Yes! Real men do cry!

Now . . . this year, I'm looking forward to the new COSMOS II by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who I like to call The Black Carl Sagan!!!

And so, it is now my great big fat pleasure, to proudly introduce you all to the great  . . . . . . .

Neil DeGrasse Tyson!

 
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, an author, and a really great science communicator. He is currently the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space.

Born: October 5, 1958 Manhattan, New York City, NY
Height: 6' 2" (1.88 m)
Spouse: Alice Young (m. 1988)
 
Books: 
Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier 
Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries
The Pluto Files
Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution 
Universe down to Earth 
Just Visiting This Planet 
Merlin's Tour of the Universe

Education: 
Columbia University (1991) 
Columbia University (1989) 
University of Texas at Austin (1983) 
Harvard University (1980) 
The Bronx High School of Science (1972–1976)

Yeah! I can hardly wait to watch every episode of his new COSMOS II - I'm really looking forward to that!

I'm gonna love this Neil DeGrasse Tyson dude! Yeah! He looks like he's gonna be one big bad-ass! He looks a bit chubby, probably close to 280 pounds which isn't bad on someone who's 6 feet 2 inches tall. 

Ya don't wanna mess this dude, especially if you're some ignorant right-wing Christian Fundy. Oh! No way! He could kick your Christard Fundy ass up between your shoulder blades with one of his Size 13 boots!

 
WATCH OUT! WE GOT A BADASS  . . . OVER HERE!
Also . . . if you're willfully ignorant when it comes to science, and you're in error, he will call you out on your BULLSHIT! So, ya don't wanna mess with him.

Prime example:

The beginning of your program? Your Earth is spinning the wrong direction! SON OF A BITCH!
When Neil DeGrasse Tyson was a guest on The Daily Show, his first order of business was to call Jon Stewart out on the fact that the computer generated globe in the show’s intro spins in the wrong direction!!!

And not only does Tyson place a great emphases on the need for science education in our public schools, he also places an equally great emphases on the need for art and culture.


And Tyson is very much concerned about the quality of science education in our public schools. The USA has been falling behind compared to many countries overseas. Here, I shall let Nail DeGrasse Tyson speak for himself, because he is a far more eloquent speaker than I can ever hope to be.   


Yes! I remember back, when I was only in the 5th grade, that I actually knew far more about Astronomy than my teacher! As I have mentioned  before, much earlier in this topic, my mother had taught me how to read and write before I even started school. So, by the time I was only in the 3rd grade, I was already reading at high school and adult level.


And . . . I feel the need to add . . . the bad thing about religion is, that it's all bullshit, whether or not you believe in it, which of course, I don't believe in it.


Well . . . I really don't know if Neil DeGrasse Tyson actually flipped of Mitt Romney during a public debate, but, it would be cool if he really did. The above image is probably just a photo-shop job. But apparently, Tyson must have flipped someone off!

Of course, I know how to do photo-shop jobs myself, and in the example below.

  
The above animation is one of my very own special creations!

Anyway . . . . .

Getting back on topic again . . .

Right now, I am feeling rather apprehensive concerning the future on America. I'm happy that Obama is my President, and I'm elated that we have a President who is a strong supporter of science education in our public school system. Our economy is on the mend, and things are beginning to look up. But, it's going to be really tuff going. America was once number one in scientific innovation, and the world leader in technology, and we can be number one again. 

But . . . at the present time . . . many other countries overseas out-rank us in education, and in health care. We have been losing our edge. We need to focus our attention on improving education, or else, we are at risk of losing everything.

As the song goes . . . . . You Don't Know What You Got Until It's Gone. 

You Don't Know What You Got Until It's Gone

OK, this really is finally . . . . .

We're too big for our britches! We go about, mooning the world! Yeah! Moon over Miami!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ THE END ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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