austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

The music that no mortal ever knew

The gibbous moon reminded me of the most startling thing I've seen in Singapore. It's not rubber trees just growing there, nor things with suckers at restaurants ... it's the Moon. The Moon's orbit is tilted relative the Earth's equator. From North America it's always to the south, so the Moon's north pole points to the zenith and the south to the horizon. But from here, sometimes the Moon's north ... so the Moon's north pole is nearer the horizon and the south nearer the zenith. It's disturbing to have an upside-down Moon. (Less disturbing is that the Moon gets to the zenith.)

Theoretically this is a great place to go stargazing; given refraction I don't believe any star is always obscured. But the humidity and city lights make it hard to see anything; I'm not positive I've even seen Alpha Centauri.

European astronomers found around Mu Arae (about 50 light-years away) there seems to be a terrestrial -- Earth-like -- planet. It's about fourteen times the mass of Earth, possibly as big as a rocky planet can be. butterfluff and Hal Clement should have lived to see it. It has a year of about ten days long, so it's closer to its sun than Mercury is to ours. Thus its day side temperatures are probably around 900 Kelvin. Two other planets, one Jupiter-sized and with an orbit about 650 days, are also in the system. I don't see a reference for the third.

Trivia: Senator Joe McCarthy claimed in 1951 to have flown 32 bombing missions during World War II. His actual job was debriefing combat pilots who had made bombing runs. Source: A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy, David Oshinsky.

Currently Reading: We Can Build You, Philip K Dick.


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