Friday, March 21, 2008

Some amateur astronomy talk

Regular readers know that one of my first favorite hobbies was astronomy. This is because when I was a small child my teenage neighbor was an amateur astronomer with his own observatory and was very generous in supporting my interest.

Back in the 1980's, when it seemed that the teaching of science in schools had hit its lowest, I was looking at the stars with my niece. I explained to her that when you look at a star you are not seeing how it really is right now, but you are seeing how it was millions of years ago. This is because they are so far away that it takes millions of years for that "snapshot" of the star to arrive at our eyes to see. So if a star is three million "light years" away that means when you look at it you are seeing it as it was three million years ago, not how it is today.

Well, read this article.

Star Explodes Halfway Across Universe


The aging star, in a previously unknown galaxy, exploded in a gamma ray burst 7.5 billion light years away, its light finally reaching Earth early Wednesday.


The 7.5 billion light years away far eclipses the previous naked eye record of 2.5 million light years. One light year is 5.9 trillion miles.

''This is roughly halfway to the edge of the universe,'' Burrows said.

Before it exploded, the star was about 40 times bigger than our sun. The explosion vaporized any planet nearby, Gehrels said.

OK, so this means that on Wednesday if someone had been looking at the sky at the right spot and time they would have seen this exploding star. They would have seen the star explode, but it actually exploded 7.5 BILLION years ago!

Now I have to make the obligatory *talks like a broken record* explanation to "astrologers." Some "astrologers" think they are extra "serious" because they monitor and use "fixed stars" in addition to planets for their "predictions." I've always giggled, except it's so awful and serious, the damage astrologers have done, that they "monitor" and "predict" based on stars that may or may not even be in existence at the time they are drawing up their stupid retarded astrology charts. In theory none of the stars they use might actually even exist anymore, because if they had blown up no one on earth would know about it for millions or billions of years, since the light of their demise has not reached here yet. However, they make the gullible think that the stars are the key to destiny and spirituality. Nothing like making "predictions" based on a star that blew up millions or billions of years ago and humans don't know that it had. Ha ha ha. It would be funny if it wasn't so sick.

BTW, here's the link to the time lapse image so you can see it yourself. Remember that you are seeing a star that explodes before the earth was even in existence.

*Clue phone continues to ring*