The Pale Blue Dot

Earth from Saturn small

This is for anyone who does not know about Carolyn Porco’s work in general and The Pale Blue Dot in particular.

Simply follow the link below for the complete story, and more images . . .



Posted in Astronomy | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hand Art

Hand Art Browsing around the www a while back, I came across something that I want to share with You . . . check out some of the extraordinary Hand Art by Guido Daniele, shown above. Not being as clever and creative as Guido, I have simply painted my left hand . . .

My Left Hand png   FYI: I plan to display more of my own paintings on this blog as soon as I gather suitable photos.

Posted in Miscellaneous Musings | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

360 degree view of the Milky Way

Spitzer 360

NASA”s Spitzer Telescope captures a geocentric 360 degree view of the Milky Way

For images and details of this amazing feat, follow the links, below . . .


More Images and Details:

Enjoy !


Posted in Astronomy | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment


Kepler Exoplanets

[[ Image, above, is from Google images.  ]]

In the first two months of 2014 NASA’s Kepler telescope has discovered and verified more exoplanets than previously known.  Many of these newly found planets might be capable of supporting life as we know it.

For numerous links to more exoplanet data than you ever wanted to know, please visit NASA’s “All About Kepler” web page . . .

Browse, learn, and enjoy !

Posted in Astronomy | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Terminology and Definitions

Dictionary png


For reasons not altogether clear to me, some folks seem to think “evolution” is a dirty  word that is so evil that they forbid their children to utter it.

The first definition of evolution I find listed in my dog-eared Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, tenth edition, is: “one of a set of prescribed movements”. This, it seems to me, is not worth getting excited about.

Next comes: “a process of change in a certain direction”. Again, nothing very controversial here.

Then, I find: “the action or an instance of forming and giving something off: EMISSION”. This doesn’t seem to be worth fussing about.

Forging ahead I see: “a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state: GROWTH”

Most people, fundamentalists included, are probably pro growth, as in the evolution of mathematics, or the evolution of computer programming techniques, so that is probably not the root of the problem.

So far, so good. The definitions seem to be getting more interesting as we go along, or, dare I say, the definitions are EVOLVING into something more interesting as we go along.

Let us continue, even though I realize reading the dictionary is not everybody’s cup of tea.

Next on the list is: “a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance”. Sounds like an positive development to me.

I find next: “the process of working out or developing”.

Once again, nothing to get excited about.

So far, it appears that evolution has two primary characteristics, neither of which should be cause for alarm: CHANGE and/or DEVELOPMENT.

Now, comes the alarming (to some) definitions – – -

“the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species): PHYLOGENY”.

This may be discomforting to some.

It seems to me that those who get upset about this sort of thing should be getting upset about “phylogeny”, not “evolution” because a definition of phylogeny is: “the evolutionary history of a kind of organism”, which, as I understand it, is what all the fuss is about.

If one chooses to demonize a word for reasons, real or imagined, one should, at least, CHOOSE THE CORRECT WORD.

Another definition of “evolution” that has to do with biology is: “a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origins in other preexisting types and that the distinguishing differences are due to modifications in successive generations”.

Ah Ha ! This must be the root of the problem ??????????

BUT, why should this upset anyone? It is obvious to the most casual observer that we have developed, using artificial (as opposed to natural) selection to create
the beef cattle from which hamburgers and steaks are derived.

So, it’s OK to artificially induce evolution, but not OK for Mom (mother nature, that is) to do it ??!!

Piphelpoop, I say!

Religious Fundamentalists – – Get over it and go pick on phylogeny and leave evolution alone.



And, while you’re at it, stay away from piphelpoop – it’s my favorite pet word.

Posted in Miscellaneous Musings | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Rosetta is Awake


Europe’s comet chaser spacecraft, Rosetta, has been awakened from a 31 month hibernation after arcing beyond the orbit of Jupiter on it’s way to Comet 67P.

Rosetta will arrive at the comet later this year and deploy a lander to the comet’s surface to gather data for detailed study of the comet.

For more information about this amazing mission, see a report from BBC:


Posted in Astronomy | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Moon Shadows on Neptune


Moon Shadows on Neptune small

The image, above, is a composite of 4 images recorded by NASA’s Voyager spacecraft as it flew by Neptune on it’s way out of the solar system about twenty years ago.

The information quoted, below, is taken from the APOD for 16 January 2014.

[[ "Explanation: Despina is a tiny moon of Neptune. A mere 148 kilometers across, diminutive Despina was discovered in 1989, in images from the Voyager 2 spacecraft taken during its encounter with the solar system's most distant gas giant planet. But looking through the Voyager 2 data 20 years later, amateur image processor and philosophy professor Ted Stryk discovered something no one had recognized before -- images that show the shadow of Despina in transit across Neptune's blue cloud tops. His composite view of Despina and its shadow is composed of four archival frames taken on August 24, 1989, separated by nine minutes. Despina itself has been artificially brightened to make it easier to see. In ancient Greek mythology, Despina is a daughter of Poseidon, the Roman god Neptune. ]]

The image is reminiscent of Moon Shadows on Jupiter that I posted a few months ago except that today’s post shows a composite of 4 images of the single moon, Despina, and the shadow she casts on Neptune rather than a single image showing multiple moons and the shadows they cast on Jupiter.

Posted in Astronomy | Tagged , | 1 Comment