Saturday , May 15 2021

Goss: To view our heavenly cosmic unimportance of earth and astronomy

When we look at the sky on pleasant spring evenings, we see that our view is a direct result of our position in the universe.

We peek through the atmospheric blanket consisting mainly of nitrogen and oxygen with enough water vapor are often included to produce clouds, frustrating to our heavenly view. (It may seem odd to the octagons in Virginia, but places really exist on our planet where clouds are the norm.) Our world blue and white have a large moon that reflects sunlight often the stellar kingdom that exists far beyond. Our planet rotates closely from a yellow dwarf star, giving the dark night alternating with daylight. Our parent star is slowly passing through a giant star and a hazy region swooping on the dusty arm of a giant galaxy, which requires over 200 million years to complete one trip around the galactic core. Our Milky Way galaxy is only one of at least 300 million other galaxies, some larger, smaller, most of which are separated by one million light-years or more.

Because of our star orbit and our specific distance from the sun, we can see the bright Venus showing its changing phases when it brilliantly shines as an evening or morning "star". Sometimes we can glimpse Mercury a bit and always located not far from the sun and glowing sun. We can see Mars shine and then fade (as it does now in our western evening sky), we can see beauty Jupiter ruled the night, and we can see Saturn saunter over the Celestial Dome, needing 29 years to complete one circle.

If our planet's atmosphere contained slightly more water or slightly more carbon dioxide, our view of the night would not be different, but would remain forever in a cloudy soup. If our planet was not so close to the sun, our day scene would be a chamber, but not enough to identify stars. There is no doubt that we have a different view of our closest planetary neighbors. We may not be able to see Mercury, Venus or Mars. Due to the great size of our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn will be much, much farther from our world, and will be dimmer respectively.

Almost directly over 10 pm every night during the next few weeks lying under an estimated cluster of stars, a cluster in her head. If our planet were orbiting any other planet in our galaxy, we could not see the beautiful convergence of stars. We can not see the most famous constellation in the sky, the Great Tiger, a popular attraction on warm spring nights. We can not see the bright star of the arcturus shining almost above his head – and not just on another planet that is visible to the naked eye.

If our sun were closer to the center of one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way, we might not be able to see the magnificent spiral system we call Andromeda, a star-star handler about 2.5 million light-years away in the autumn sky. In fact, due to the dusty nature of our galaxy, we may not be able to see features that exist outside of our galaxy even with large, powerful telescopes. The recently released fantastic image exposes the black hole at the center of the giant elliptical galaxy known as M87, which may not have been possible. (

Finally, if our parent planet is in one of the other 300 million galaxies, our home galaxy, the Milky Way, will look like another unimportant blurring – if we can see it at all.

Consider all this when you look into the heavenly realm on a bright spring evening.

Goose is the former president of the Astronomical League.

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