Take Your Mind Off Elections on Thursday, Nov. 4

“In a nutshell, the universe is 13.7 billion years old, plus or minus one percent; a recent previous estimate had a margin of error of three times as much. By weight it is four percent atoms, 23 percent dark matter—presumably undiscovered elementary particles left over from the Big Bang—and 73 percent dark energy. And it is geometrically ‘flat,’ meaning that parallel lines will not meet over cosmic scales. The result, the astronomers said, is a seamless and consistent history of the universe, from its first few seconds, when it was a sizzling soup of particles and energy, to the modern day and a sky beribboned with chains of pearly galaxies inhabited by at least one race of puzzled and ambitious bipeds.”

—Dennis Overbye, writing about a map of the universe compiled by a satellite called the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (New York Times, February 12, 2003)

Don’t forget  the Star Party at Rogers Fort Hill Park on Thursday, November 4.

Rescheduled to Thursday, November 4, 2010, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Join the Friends of Rogers Fort Hill Park and the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club for a free telescopic tour of the night sky atop Fort Hill. Discover the stars, planets, and maybe catch a glimpse of a comet!

To attend this free event, please contact us by November 1 at www.forthillpark.org or call (978) 454-4326. For more information about the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club (NSAAC), please visit www.nsaac.org.

To ensure better dark sky viewing, please park your car at the base of Fort Hill – there’s plenty of street parking around the park off of Rogers Street. Walk to the top of Fort Hill for the party. We’ll provide a drive to the top for anyone who may need it. Bring a flashlight, dress warmly, and wear comfortable shoes.

Bring binoculars if you have them. If you have your own telescope, feel free to arrive early to set up on Fort Hill with NSAAC members. Coffee, cider, and cookies will be provided. There are no restrooms at the park.

5 Responses to Take Your Mind Off Elections on Thursday, Nov. 4

  1. Andrew says:

    Just thought I’d share these videos. The first is a slideshow of the images taken by Hubble shortly after it was repaired/upgraded last year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bytNgT7l8k

    At the end of the video, the user mentions the future use of Hubble’s new Ultra Deep Field. Here’s the video he made about that image once it was taken. It certainly is not the most iconic Hubble image, but it is, in my opinion, the most momentous. It represents an amazing achievement in terms of our technology and, I think, will be remembered alongside “Earth Rise” as one of the most important images taken in our time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QArB6u3LXQ4&feature=related

  2. PaulM says:

    Thanks, Andrew, for posting the links to these extraordinary images. Why isn’t there a TV channel of the 500 or so cable channels broadcasting these stunning views of space around the world around the clock? This is the world we live in. This is so much more mind-expanding than the disgusting political food fights and inane reality shows that take up so much TV broadcast real estate. A little better perspective on our place in the universe might lead to a little more humility on Earth. We’re all made of cosmic dust and going back to that state one day, at least the material part of us. Putting more effort into understanding what “this” is all about seems a much better use of our time than vicious attacks and brutal competition for resources.

  3. JoeS says:

    Thursday Night: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

  4. Steve says:

    I remember my brother reading a science fiction book many years ago called Galaxies Like Grains of Sand. That title came back to me as I looked at these photos.
    Makes you wonder if it even really matters how the Red Sox do next year.