Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Telescope Kit

Bro. Clarence is busy right now building his new telescope, the kit arrived and after pondering the contents of the boxes, and pondering even longer over instruction sheets, he finally began work. He told me it is a 10" f/6 Dobsonian Reflector, which means little to us non-astronomers, but the 10" mirror does impress me, for I have done some viewing of the night sky through, I think, a 6" telescope. An astronomy club holds monthly star parties at the Joshua Tree National Park, and a few of us have ventured there and experienced the excitement that those star gazers express, and I think our appearance those nights caused a bit of a stir, for they said we were the first "monks" that have ever appeared at one of their parties. Well, that was then, now is now, and shortly we will have our own telescope to scan the night skies with. I admit, my knowledge of astronomy is limited to the fuzzy recollections of a college astronomy class. But I do recall, at the time, I was dazzled by the "numbers" involved in all that is "up there" over head. Just trying to grasp the distance in one light year (I just asked Bro. Clarence what that distance is, and he rattled this off without blinking: "A light year is 6 trillion miles.") 6,000,000,000,000 miles!!! And a while back I clipped this pedometer to my belt, just for the fun of it, and after a predawn stroll through the desert, I returned to the break fast table and checked my pedometer and found my trek came to 4.8 miles. Now how many morning strolls equals one light year? Anyway, I just returned and can report that Bro. Clarence is making slow headway, for now he is surrounded by four brothers, each peppering him with questions, of which I heard one answered, "Pluto is no longer a planet, but I understand that the folks at the Lowell Observatory maintain that Pluto is indeed a planet on all their brass plaques."


Lifewish said...

In every dodgy scifi story I've read, the planet-destroying laser was inevitably tested on Pluto. I guess these super-villains will have to find a new target now.

The convocation of scientists that voted this in destroyed Pluto the planet and created Pluto the dwarf planet from its ashes. If a planet can be obliterated so easily by a thought, does that mean that planets are all in the mind?

Lifewish said...

Oh, and you might find this amusing.

Bro. Bartleby said...

This IS California, so, Pluto does exist, and exists as a real and proper planet, just as Pluto exists at Disneyland, as a real and proper conceptual dog, and so too does California exist, as more than a bordered piece of real estate, but as an amusing bit of conceptual thought ... and I suppose we can all blame it on Plato (not Pluto) for inventing Conceptual Thought, which in turn started it all. Which all sounds like the perfect title for a lecture: "From Plato to Pluto: It's all in the mind"