Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Showing posts with label Neptune. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neptune. Show all posts

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Exoplanets In Kepler's Eye

Click to enlarge. Image Source: Stellarium.

I have the free program Stellarium on my computer and set it to show the night sky on my computer while I am reading. I turned on the 'exoplanets' option and jumped! What are those alien green blobs? In the screenshot above, the green circular grid near Vega in the night sky shot for 4 May 2017 shows where the Kepler space telescope has focussed, with corresponding discoveries of exoplanets. They are marked as bright green dots. There is another cluster of exoplanets in the bottom corner in the constellation of Sagittarius, by the star Alnasl and the planet Saturn.

Launched in 2009, the Kepler space telescope trails Earth in a heliocentric orbit. NASA's Kepler and K2 projects have yielded several thousand exoplanets, of which 21 are almost habitable like Earth. A list of the projects' news releases is here. On 20 April 2017, the lead Kepler scientists were included among Time's 100 most influential individuals in the world:
"Three extraordinary planet-hunters have been recognized by TIME Magazine as this year’s top 100 most influential people: Natalie Batalha from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; Michael Gillon from the University of Liège in Belgium; and Guillem Anglada-Escudé from the Queen Mary University in London.

'It is truly exciting to see these planet-hunters among the other movers and the shakers of the world,' said Paul Hertz, Astrophysics division director at Headquarters in Washington. 'These scientists have transformed the world’s understanding of our place in the universe, and NASA congratulates them for their well-deserved recognition.'"
Later in 2017, players of the MMPORG game, EVE Online, are participating in the crowd-sourced scientific discoveries of Kepler exoplanets. Raw Kepler data will be added to the game.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Neptune the Mystic

Neptune's moon Triton is a dwarf planet, a captured body from the Kuiper Belt. The moon was photographed by Voyager 2 in 1989. Image Source: JPL/NASA.

Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft ever to visit Neptune and reached its closest point on 24 August 1989. The eighth planet was discovered on 23 September 1846 and was named for the Roman god of the sea. This gas giant has fourteen moons, all named after water nymphs and lesser sea deities. It has six rings, some of the fastest winds in the solar system, and a dark storm spot on its surface large enough to swallow the entire Earth. For the sound the planet makes from space, see my earlier post here.

Even today, astrologers maintain ancient religious values in their notions that Neptune dominates sleep and dreams, the imagination, ecstatic visions, mass entertainment, news as political theatre, and the 'eternal everything.' The planet can positively inspire the arts or negatively spin dark, mad fantasies. In his First World War Planets suite, composer Gustav Holst dedicated his musical poem to the planet as Neptune, The Mystic.

Image Source: Ruby Slipper.

Image Source: Illume Astrology.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Arriving at Pluto's Underworld Gates

Ralph Fiennes as Hades, God of the Underworld, in Clash of the Titans (2010). Image Source: invisionfree.

Pluto, the planet whose value was downgraded, is fittingly named after the god of the Underworld, because this planetoid guards the point where the solar system ends and the outer system around our sun, the Kuiper Belt, begins. Pluto was discovered in 1930, but only in the new Millennium has our technology become advanced enough for us to begin to understand the vast Netherworld over which Pluto presides along with another minor body, Eris, once designated as the tenth planet. Our new awareness of the Kuiper Belt is the reason why Pluto was downgraded, and why Eris, discovered only in 2005, was downgraded too. Pluto at this time dominates the wild area beyond the planet Neptune, where we reach the limits of knowledge of our solar system.

Pluto has five moons: Charon, Styx, Nix, Hydra and Kerberos.

Naming Pluto's moons: Nyx, primordial goddess of the night. Image Source: pinterest.

Styx, one of several rivers in Hell, with ferryman Charon. Image Source: The Seven Worlds.

Depictions of the hellhound, Cerberus, and the Hydra in the film, Hercules (2014). Images Source: fxguide.

Always a pecking order: the top four planetoids or 'dwarf planets' are accepted by the International Astronomical Union as minor planets of the solar system. The bottom four are candidates for dwarf planet status. Image Source: Wiki.

Extending the outer limits of knowledge: the outer bodies of the solar system are a huge source of carbon-bearing molecules, which are found in the DNA of every creature on Earth. The Belt also abounds with frozen volatile ices, which means that water and life on Earth may have originated in the Kuiper Belt and been borne by comet strikes to our planet. That is why the close fly-by by NASA craft New Horizons on 14 July 2015 is so stunning.  Astronomers have already photographed something glittering at Pluto's north pole. You can follow the live NASA news briefing on 14 July 2015 at 7:30 a.m. EDT here. There will be another live Pluto flyby media briefing on 14 July 2015 at 8:15 a.m. EDT here. After New Horizons passes Pluto, it will continue taking photos in the Kuiper Belt if NASA receives a sufficient budget to continue the project.

Other links:

Mariner. Pioneer. Voyager. Dawn. New Horizons. National Space Society's video on the place of the New Horizons mission in space exploration history. Video Source: Youtube. (Hat tip: Slate).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The World's Time Capsules

Hi there. The gold Pioneer plaque, affixed to both Pioneer spacecraft.

Who remembers Voyager 2?  I do!  The 1977 Voyager 1 and 2 projects are still ongoing at NASA.  Voyager 1 and 2, as well as the 1972-1973 Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft, were sent to gather information, and bore messages that distilled the life on our planet down to a picture, a collection of sounds, and simple messages describing the apex of human development and scientific knowledge.

The plaque on Pioneer 10.

They serve two purposes. They are time space capsules and attempts to communicate with extraterrestrial intelligence.  The spacecraft are historical artifacts, and their messages for alien life sum up human existence, a 'message in a bottle' cast into the sea of space.  Any object that washes up on a beach should be treated with caution.  A message in a bottle could inspire a rescue of a scarecrow castaway.  More often, bottles on beaches are considered a bad sign, a key to a mystery better left alone. In that regard, there was something disingenuous about the 'we come in peace' imagery associated with the Pioneer project.  The Pioneer plaques were created at a time when space exploration was optimistic, a product of global village idealism.  At its best, space exploration still embodies that part of human ambition. More likely, it will come to reflect the conclusion of Arthur C. Clarke's 1946 short story Rescue Party, about advanced aliens who come to aid humans as earth is destroyed and soon regret it. There is more to the human interest in space than benevolent adventurousness.  You can read Clarke's story here.