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Posts Tagged ‘Universe

What the Universe looks like as composed by the Planck Satellite

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I like to post unique and not_seen_before images here. And this is one of those I believe. I snipped it from’s science section:

You will notice the major astronomic features we homo sapiens know about marked up on the image. I kinda think that this is a WOW image. Can you believe a picture of the Universe? The Planck Sat is a product of Euro science as distinct from NASA.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/07/06 at 05:18

Astronomy, your mind and mine!

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The Milky Way
Image by makelessnoise via Flickr

Changes are what it’s mostly about these days in DC and in astronomy. Check this editorial out at NY Times!

Here’s an excerpt:

This is one of the wonderful things about astronomy. Our understanding of the galaxy around us undergoes a significant shift, and the only real change is the new terrain that opens up inside our heads. We don’t experience a physical lurch, because we’re traveling exactly as fast around the center of the Milky Way as we always were. The lurch we experience is our minds catching up to our actual physical speed. We are so exquisitely attuned to our celestial motions that we seem, to ourselves, to be standing still, no matter how our understanding of the universe changes.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/01/07 at 07:57

Einstein’s thoughts about religion and God

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I have just finished Walter Isaacson‘s biography “Einstein, His life and Universe”. The book told me the story of a man who left an indelible imprint on theoretical physics and our meager understanding of the Universe. He also had a sense of being a part of something much greater than himself.

He said more than once that he wasn’t an atheist, but that he did not believe that there was a God who interceded in human affairs and the unfolding of the Universe.

Here are some of his thoughts on this subject:

I’m not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the Universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly unterstand these laws.

What separates me from most atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos. The fanatical atheists are like the slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who-in their grudge against traditional religion as the “opium of the masses”-cannot hear the music of the spheres. I prefer the attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and our own being. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.

According to Walter Issacson, “A tenet of Einstein’s faith was that nature was not cluttered with extraneous attributes. Thus, there must be a purpose to curiosity. For Einstein, it existed because it created minds that question, which produced an appreciation for the universe that he equated with religious feelings. “Curiosity has its own reasons for existing,” he once explained. “One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.”

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/08/26 at 14:45

Do you care that the Universe is expanding?

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{{Potd/2007-08-12 (en)}}Image via Wikipedia

Whenever I read about what astronomers do, I feel puzzled. My puzzlement is caused by the stories told about methods used in the quest to measure the size of the Universe and the rate at which billions of galaxies in the Universe are moving away from each other and from our galaxy and therefore our planetary system.

The latest article by Dennis Overbye, a talented science writer, in the NY Times this morning tells the story of the latest happenings in this seemingly never ending quest for better precision. The notion of exact science doesn’t seem to fit this quest, which boils down to reducing the % of error in results.

There are several links below that offer more information about the Universe and efforts to understand it better. If you want to investigate weird click on the last link to the master explainer of cosmological things, Sean Carroll, the cosmologist.

IMHO one of the very neat things about astronomy is the dazzling photography connected with it.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/08/19 at 06:56