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Thread: Astronomy Koan #1

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Astronomy Koan #1



    That star rose earlier today.
    pointer likes this.
    Physical Astronomy outreach: https://starinastar.com

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    Default Re: Astronomy Koan #1

    StarinaStar,
    It's been a long day for you, hasn't it?

    Try this:

    A student asks a master astronomer, "Which star is at the center of the sky?"
    To which the master answers "The answer is all around you."
    Then the student says, "The sky seems to turn around the star named Polaris. Is that star at the center?"
    The master grumbles, "Look beneath you."
    The student is ashamed of his error and admits, "That's true; there are two poles in the sky, and two places cannot be the center of the same thing."
    The master knows her student is astray. All he has found are two places in the sky he will no longer look for enlightenment.
    To complete the lesson, the master gives her student a parabolic mirror, and tells him, "Look into this mirror when it is dark."
    The student does so, and finds enlightenment.
    SpyderwerX, Hillrat and pointer like this.
    -Steven F.
    Scope: Lunt Eng. 102mm f/7 ED doublet refractor, mount: Celestron VX, EP: Celestron Luminos, camera: Canon 6D

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    Default Re: Astronomy Koan #1

    Hi Sparweb - thanks for the tale.

    "Which star is at the center of the sky?" a great question!

    But, isn't it really three questions:
    1 - What is sky?
    2 - What is center?
    3 - What is star?

    I think the master here might be leading the student astray by providing the answer in the second to last line when there are so many other directions to go.
    Physical Astronomy outreach: https://starinastar.com

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    Default Re: Astronomy Koan #1

    Good reasoning, StarInAStar,
    I should not pretend to be know a master's mind, since the well of questions is infinitely deep.

    However, I will stand my ground on one point: astronomy is not like some pursuits where answers can be found by introspection.
    Astronomy actually needs to explore the world. That is part of the definition of what it is.
    Only through observation of the world (and careful examination) can astronomy reveal anything to our minds.
    Once those facts are revealed, people can become enlightened about their meaning and place in the world.
    This is seen differently in zen, which teaches us many things, but often asks people to turn their backs to the world.
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    -Steven F.
    Scope: Lunt Eng. 102mm f/7 ED doublet refractor, mount: Celestron VX, EP: Celestron Luminos, camera: Canon 6D

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    Default Re: Astronomy Koan #1

    Thanks for the kind note. A lot to think about.

    "That star rose earlier today."

    It's like the facet of a diamond. Let it turn in your imagination. In 5 words it reveals layers of observation about (apparent) star motion.

 

 

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