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  1. #1
    Rich's Avatar
    Rich Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    According to the National Retail Foundation, the most popular
    Halloween costume last year was Spiderman. Next was "a princess,"
    followed by witches and vampires, SpongeBob, Barbie and Harry Potter.
    Sounds about right. But if you read the complete list of top costumes,
    you'll notice something missing: astronomers. There are no Sagans, no
    Galileos, not even a Hubble.
    And that's funny, because Halloween is an astronomical holiday.

    It has to do with seasons: Halloween is a "cross-quarter date,"
    approximately midway between an equinox and a solstice. There are four
    cross-quarter dates throughout the year, and each is a minor holiday:
    Groundhog Day (Feb. 2nd), May Day (May 1st), Lammas Day (Aug. 1st),
    and Halloween (Oct. 31st).

    Long ago, "the Celts of the British Isles used cross-quarter days to
    mark the beginnings of seasons," says John Mosley of the Griffith
    Observatory in Los Angeles. "Winter began with Halloween, [or as they
    called it, 'Samhain']. Halloween marked the transition between summer
    and winter, light and dark -- and life and death."

    "On that one night, according to folklore, those who had died during
    the previous year returned for a final visit to their former homes.
    People set out food and lit fires to aid them on their journey -- but
    remained on guard for mischief the spirits might do."

    And, so, something astronomical became something spooky. It's not the
    first time. Have you heard that comets are bad omens? Or that a full
    moon brings out werewolves? Astronomy and superstition are old

    This year Halloween has a new astronomical significance:

    On Oct. 31st, the planet Mars is making its closest approach to Earth
    for the next 13 years. (13 years? Cross your fingers.) Technically
    speaking, the moment of closest approach occurs on Oct. 30th, a day
    before Halloween, but the difference in distance between the 30th and
    the 31st is too slight to matter.

    Trick or Treaters will notice Mars rising in the east at sunset: sky
    map. It looks like a pumpkin-colored star, so intense that people in
    brightly-lit cities can see it. Some say it's blood red, but maybe
    that's just Halloween talking.

    Mars will soar almost overhead at midnight (as seen from North
    America) and stay "up" all night long. Halloween 2005 is truly the
    night of Mars.

    Because Mars is so close--only 69 million km away, which is close on
    the vast scale of the solar system--it looks great through a backyard
    telescope. Lately amateur astronomers have been watching dust storms
    swirl around Mars. They've seen icy-blue clouds gather over the
    Martian north pole, where it is winter. And they been sketching and
    photographing strange dark markings that dapple the planet's surface.

    So--nothing against Spiderman, mind you--you might wish to reconsider
    your costume. Grab a telescope and be an astronomer. It is Halloween,
    after all.

    Source: Science@NASA (by Dr. Tony Phillips)

  2. #2
    oriel36's Avatar
    oriel36 Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    To Rich

    It would be an ideal time to recognise that the orbital motion of Mars
    passes close to the orbital motion of the Earth.

    There is absolutely nothing difficult in recognising that the
    geocentric plotting of the motion of Mars against the stellar
    background transfers into a direct perception of where Mars is in
    relation to our common motion around the Sun.

    The backwards arcs or apparent retrograde motion is simply a
    consequence of the faster Earth overtaking the slower moving outer
    planets and this is how Copernicus,Kepler and Galileo understood and
    inferred heliocentricity.

    It is a terrible injustice to everyone that less careful men like
    Newton,having no astronomical sense of what goes into transfering
    geocentric observations in heliocentric ones,assumed that retrograde
    representations are assigned from a stationary Earth whereas since
    Copernican heliocentricity,the plotted motions of the planets moving
    against the stellar background are dropped altogether in their
    heliocentric translations.

    On page 86,most contemporary interpreters see the retrograde loops in
    terms of the motion of Mars against a stationary Earth but anybody with
    a love of astronomical intricacies will discern that the geocentric end
    is the plotting of the motions of Mars against the stellar background
    and the partially heliocentric end is the plotting of the motions of
    Mars against Earth's orbital motion.This is why the retrograde loops
    are represented close to the Earth's orbital path.

    Sadly,a less careful mind assumed that the retrograde loops are
    reflections of a stationary Earth and can be transfered directly into
    the Copernican arrangement by placing the Sun at the center of the
    'Pretzel' representation.The great Copernican subtlety is lost insofar
    as the heliocentric experience is to absorb the principles for
    heliocentricity by dropping the stellar background reference and
    acknowledging through Kepler's 'pretzel' that he retained a geocentric
    plotting and a partially heliocentric format and not a stationary Earth
    as it has come to be understood.

    Grabbing a telescope does not make a person an astronomer,generosity
    and sincerity alone makes a person recognise their participation in
    the great celestial motions.
    The nobility of our pre-Copernican ancestors is celebrating the
    divisions of the cycles by climate,by the cycles of life in man and the
    cosmos is not lost,even when the early Copernican heliocentrists
    adopted and adapted their principles for pragmatic ends based on the
    newly discovered principle of indepedent axial and orbital motion.

    The cataloguers,in order to tie terrestial longitudes to the celestial
    sphere departed from pure heliocentricity without qualifying the
    procedure which lends itself to tying clocks to the calendar system and
    from their on to astronomy.

    The dilution of astronomical principles is the one real horror,even in
    recognising the application of the sidereal system and clocks as a
    throwback to an era where these things were real problems for
    navigators,nothing can match the destructive influence visited on some
    astronomical principles that stretch back to remote antiquity.Even the
    great transfer to heliocentric conceptions wither in this ugly shroud
    which can be traced back to Flamsteed.

    Being a Christian ,I respect the way in which our pre-Copernican
    ancestors marked the great cycles to which their lives were
    conditioned and do all I can to promote their accomplishments.Samhrain
    or all souls eve (halloween) fills the air with that strange closeness
    we have with the cosmos as we look out on it and since Copernicus,these
    great things become even more enjoyable and mysterious without
    destroying anything of the ancients who did the best they could with
    what they knew.

    I suspect that a number of people here will genuinely feel he
    intimacy of this time of year as an inheritance of the highest
    faculties of man in investigating celestial phenomena,something that is
    more than mere fact and which binds us to older civilisations who knew
    their was a mysterious significance to the approaching death and
    renewal of a cycle of life.That Copernican heliocentricity displaces
    the observed motions against the background stars to the annual orbital
    motion of the Earth only enhances appreciation of the great cycles we
    participate in and something that never grows old or tired and with
    loving acknowledgement to our pre-heliocentric ancestors.

    Perhaps in dead eyes there is no mystery for all is number crunching
    with fact as an end in itself but that never was the way of
    astronomy,in its pre-heliocentric or heliocentric formats.As wisdom
    comes with age,we no longer see that death is an end in itself for the
    'love which moves the Sun and the other stars' passes through us in our
    existence and only a hard shell of pretension prevents people from
    embracing their participation in the life of man as the same life of
    all that is visible.

    Mediocrity refuses to acknowledge evil as much as it refuses to enjoy
    the goodness of life,our ancestors and especially all that is holy in
    their lives,knew too well that we pass through cycles of existence
    which no factual knowledge can substitute for.As men have fooled
    themselves into believing that knowledge is an end in itself and there
    is no mystery then they lose the driving force behind all human
    creativity , astronomical, musical,poetical or otherwise.

    The approaching days are indeed holy and the Christian adaption of that
    holiness from the festivals of older cultures where the latitude
    difference makes daylight/darkness asymmetry more pronounced are in
    line with each other in the most complimentary and gentle way for the
    generous of heart.

  3. #3
    Gil's Avatar
    Gil Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    Uh..., what???

  4. #4's Avatar Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    Gil opined, quite correctly...

    I couldn't agree more. To move this back onto a more amateur
    astronomy related topic: who's going to set up for public viewing of
    one sort or another Halloween night? I am! (in northern Indiana... Mars
    was beautiful last night, but coooold.).

    Brian Davis

  5. #5
    Michael Wood's Avatar
    Michael Wood Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    I couldn't agree more, so don't forget to set your clocks back an hour

    On 29 Oct 2005 05:24:12 -0700, "oriel36" <>

    and so on..................

  6. #6
    Starlord's Avatar
    Starlord Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    As long as the sky is clear I'll be set up with my scope on the old corner
    I'm aways at.


    The Lone Sidewalk Astronomer of Rosamond
    Telescope Buyers FAQ
    Astronomy Net Online Gift Shop

    <> wrote in message

  7. #7
    Mike's Avatar
    Mike Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    WRONG The 29th TODAY at 11:20 pm EDT

  8. #8
    Howard Lester's Avatar
    Howard Lester Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    "Mike >" wrote

    Thus it's the 30th, in Universal Time, which is the standard.

  9. #9
    John Nichols's Avatar
    John Nichols Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    <> wrote in message

    Am thinking about it, but in my neighborhood Mars won't be above the trees
    until about 8, and the candy seekers are likely to be done by then.

  10. #10
    oriel36's Avatar
    oriel36 Guest

    Default Halloween and astronomy

    To Michael

    You have no pretension to being anything other than a homocentrist,as
    Ptolemy's observation of the plotting of the motions of the planets
    against the stellar background were retained by heliocentrists while
    you sidereal observations off the Earth's axis/Equator are useless for
    heliocentric modelling -

    "Now . . . everyone approves the calculations of Copernicus . . . .
    [and] this symmetry of all the orbs appears to fit together with the
    greatest of consonance . . . . [so] we follow Ptolemy, in part, and
    Copernicus, in part." 1592

    What Praetorius meant is that Copernican heliocentrists dropped the
    stellar background reference that was present in Ptolemy's
    observations and replaced the background with the Earth's annual
    orbital motion.This is what makes a person a heliocentrist.

    What makes you a homocentrist and only capable of treating a forum like
    a chat room is that you are a child of Newton and a cancer to astronomy

    "The fixed stars being at rest, the periodic times of the five primary
    planets, and (whether of the sun about the earth, or) of the earth
    about the sun, are in the sesquiplicate proportion of their mean
    distances from the sun."

    I know you love your celestial sphere and your goto telescopes which
    keep pace with observations made against the celestial sphere but it is
    not heliocentric astronomy,not even geocentric but a horrible blending
    of both.Congratulations to you all for taking part in an intellectual
    holocaust that transforms the noble discipline of astronomy into a lazy
    exercise in optics.


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