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.