Friday, August 12, 2011

And on the seventh day, God went bowling


Is it just me, or does this artist’s rendition of the latest astronomical discovery look like a bowling ball with just one finger grip instead of three? I did not have to think long about whether God uses only his thumb or his index finger or his middle finger when he goes bowling, because on closer inspection of the photograph or artist’s rendition or whatever it is I realized that what I first thought was a finger grip is not a finger grip at all, it is a moon circling the bowling ball.

It is not even a bowling ball.

It’s the latest rage in the astronomical world, a new planet.

And it’s not just any planet, either. It was marketed to the public early today as “a coal-black, alien planet, bigger than Jupiter.” Don’t worry, it’s not in our solar system. [Note. In later editions of the story, the word “alien” was replaced by “strange”. --RWP]

Officially, astronomers have named it TrES-2b. It is in the system of the yellow sun-like star GSC 03549-02811, which is over 750 light years away in the direction of the constellation Draco.

Why don’t astronomers, when they are naming new planets or stars or whatever, use names like Marguerite or Tammy or Nostradamus or Dr. Phil instead of strange combinations of letters and numbers like TrES-2b and GSC 03549-02811? No one knows.

Here’s the entire article that Yahoo published today about the newly-discovered planet.

Speaking of the constellation Draco, here is Wikipedia’s absolutely fascinating description of it, including the fact that in Chinese astronomy (yes, Virginia, there is a Chinese astronomy) Draco is divided into two areas known as Purple Forbidden Enclosure and The Black Tortoise of the North.

And for those of you who have absolutely nothing to do and a great deal of time on your hands (apparently the sole requirements for becoming an astronomer), here is a list of the stars in Draco.

If you make it all the way through those links, I make this prediction: Your head will be spinning, just like a bowling ball (real or imagined).

Any attempts at humor (Brit., humour) and/or irreverence by me in this post are purely intentional, and I shall have to answer for them at the Day of Judgment (Brit.,Judgement).

Unless, of course, the Day of Judgment (ibid.) turns out to be another Chinese-astronomer-named area in the constellation Draco. In that case, I will not be between a rock and a hard place, or between the devil and the deep blue sea, or even between Scylla and Charybdis. I will be between Purple Forbidden Enclosure and The Black Tortoise of the North.


7 comments:

Jeannelle said...

Yes, rhymsie, there is humor/humour in this post!

Shooting Parrots said...

I have a cousin who is a space scientist who works on the Chandra x-ray telescope at Harvard. She once tried to explain to me what it was she did, what she was looking at and how she did it.

I concluded that best way for me to look at the stars would be on a clear, cloudless night!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I think that the planet naming authorities should alter the name of TrES-2b to Planet Brague because it is faraway, inhospitable and completely devoid of life.

rhymeswithplague said...

Jeannelle, thanks, my efforts have not been in vain.

S. Parrots, the simple pleasures win out every time.

Y. Pudding, except on weekends, of course. But I, the real Planet Brague, am neither coal-black nor strange.

Rosezilla said...

When I was small and afraid of a thunderstorm, I was told it was "just the angels bowling." This caught my fancy, as I pictured a bowling establishment in heaven...

rhymeswithplague said...

Rosezille, I heard that one,too! And that rainstorms were the angels crying! We lived in Poughkeepsie, New York, for several years and people around there say when it thunders that Henry Hudson and his men are playing nine-pins.

Pat - Arkansas said...

An informative post, as is usually the case. (I know that's not a complete sentence, but....) I was amused to read, in the Wikipedia article, that one of the areas of the constellation Draco is called "Messier Object 2." The whole thing is a bit messy, if you ask me (which you did not.)