Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Astronomy Picture of the Day "APOD" - Maybe you were wondering ...

why I have the website Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) on my sidebar. Maybe you weren't. If you were: read on. Yesteryday's pic was amazing, and funny. Remember when you used to lay down on the grass and stare at the clouds trying to make out shapes? That one's a dinosaur, there's a dolphin, and look it's spongebob! Well try that with the astronomy image from June 23, 2009. What do you see? I see . . . . . chomp, chomp, chomp, . . . . . a ginormous Pacman! Then I read about the Molecular Cloud Barnard 68 (it's scientific name). How cool, and it's only 500 light-years away. I think that's close in astronomical distances. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around astronomical distances. I can handle 900 miles from home to the in-laws in Florida. I can even comprehend 5,000 miles to Alaska. But light-years? Maybe it's the kinesthetic learner in me. I just can't grasp it.

Of course the next thing that molecular cloud brought to mind was Star Trek the Next Generation. I bet they could have a great episode with one of those. It will require the deflector dish to escape of course. Maybe the already did one. I'll have to check with the ultimate ST geek: my spouse :)

This doesn't answer your question of why is it there, hanging out on a blog about kids with special needs. Well, the great questions of the universe aren't always answered here on Earth. Looking for answers in the heavens is as human as going to the bathroom (sorry - I have a 5th grader!) Ever since I was a child I loved laying on the grass on a warm summer's eve looking up at the stars and the moon. I could sit outside and stare at the night sky for hours wondering and wandering, mentally at least. APOD gives me that moment again, without the mosquitos.

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