Intermarkets' Privacy Policy

Donate to Ace of Spades HQ!

Recent Entries
Absent Friends
Bandersnatch 2024
GnuBreed 2024
Captain Hate 2023
moon_over_vermont 2023
westminsterdogshow 2023
Ann Wilson(Empire1) 2022
Dave In Texas 2022
Jesse in D.C. 2022
OregonMuse 2022
redc1c4 2021
Tami 2021
Chavez the Hugo 2020
Ibguy 2020
Rickl 2019
Joffen 2014
AoSHQ Writers Group
A site for members of the Horde to post their stories seeking beta readers, editing help, brainstorming, and story ideas. Also to share links to potential publishing outlets, writing help sites, and videos posting tips to get published. Contact OrangeEnt for info:
maildrop62 at proton dot me
Cutting The Cord And Email Security
Moron Meet-Ups

Late NFL Game Open Thread: Steelers vs. Bengals [OregonMuse] | Main | Overnight Open Thread (12-15-2013)
December 15, 2013

Spaced-Out Challenge: Reflecting on an Unchanging Sky

Apologies for a shorter edition of the astronomy thread this week, we will be back with the Winter Sky guide next Sunday. Since the ONT will be upon us in a bit, no Open Thread below. But I wanted to share some personal thoughts, along with a rather incredible 16,000 year old artwork.

Taurus is a large, bright, and ancient constellation, positioned just east and north of Orion in the celestial sphere, with the bright star Aldebaran blazing as the bull's red eye, the beautiful open cluster Hyaades forming his face and mouth, and the infamous Seven Sisters riding his back.

The constellation and it's various components have been documented in ancient Chinese texts and the Bible, but to get an idea just how far back we have recognized the "Great Bull" in the sky, take a close look at this image from the caves at Lascaux:


Original artist: Dave in Texas

Notice a sizable bull, with "dots" in it's face, and a cluster of dots just above his back? Dr Michael Rappenglueck of the University of Munich certainly thought it was more than just coincidence the "dots" happen to line up with more modern depictions of the constellation Taurus. Much of the rest of that painting (not depicted in the small photo above) seem to indicate the placement of the Summer Triangle and even the Belt of Orion, all features that would have been readily visible to cave-dwelling observers.


Courtesy Stellarium, a more modern depiction of Taurus

The stars are our common heritage, and the careful observation of them made our very civilization possible. The ancients kept careful watch: the heavens came and went with the seasons, and one ignored them at their own peril. On a human timescale, they certainly were the closest things to eternity, always and without fail rising in the east and setting in the west.

We have advanced quite a bet in the seven hundred generations since this paint brushed a wall, and yet the stars still fascinate us. Be it the stars themselves, the moon, a meteor shower, planets or a comet, there's something up there that captivates all of us, even for just the smallest moment. It seems hard-wired in us as a species. Call me crazy, but they also connect us to our past, and in a surprisingly personal way.

Consider this: the stars you see at night are almost exactly identical to what your parents, grandparents, etc could see. Perhaps the light pollution has blotted out a few, but from a darker site, it's the same. Christmas hasn't exactly been the same for me since the death of my grandmother a few years back. She would occasionally go outside her house in the country, drink in hand, and look up. Knowing my interest in astronomy as a child, she asked me a question I haven't thought about for some time: "do you ever just look up and appreciate it for what it is? I do."

It brought me comfort, looking up in the sky on a clear night last week, that the sky above me is the same as it was when she asked me. It felt like that was a moment frozen in time, and I was experiencing that all over again, but with a greater appreciation that I could have ever possessed twenty years ago. Perhaps there's a loved one no longer physically with you. Go outside on a clear night this week, and do what I did: look up and appreciate it for what it is.

At some moment in their life, they did too, and in a cosmic sense, they still are.


Regular thread returns next week.

digg this
posted by CAC at 09:25 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
JackStraw: ">>Always liked Bogie in IN A LONELY PLACE and THE ..."

haffhowershower: "So you're saying that it's a sequel? ..."

Auspex: " Neighbors got back from watching Trump downtown ..."

Catch Thirty-Thr33: "196 Inside Out 2 was not green lit by Iger but by ..."

haffhowershower: "205 Has anyone seen the movie version of "Cats"? L ..."

Robert: "Oh, I finally saw a Steve McQueen movie! The Bl ..."

Joe Kidd: "192 Bob Newhart trivia for you. Believe it or n ..."

moviegique (buy my books): "|| Has anyone seen the movie version of "Cats"? Li ..."

Robert: "Has anyone seen the movie version of "Cats"? Post ..."

moviegique (buy my books): "|| Bottle Shock. ‘Why don’t I like ..."

Robert: "TIL that you're not the "Robert" from "Robert's An ..."

San Franpsycho: "I watched [i]Taxi Driver[/i] and didn't like it as ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64