Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Science and beauty

Interesting article on www.space.com today.

The paths of most stars in our galaxy have for many years been assumed to be circular orbits around the center of the galaxy. It's not quite so simple, though. Recently some scientists found that there are "streams" of suns that are moving in toward the center, and others moving out away from the center, and one of them is actually headed our way!

It's not quite time to duck, though - it'll be 1.4 million years before it gets to its closest proximity to our sun - and it will still be about a light year away. It will pass through the "Oort Cloud" of icy, rocky debris that orbits our sun at that distance, and it will probably stir it up quite a bit. A few thousand years after that, we may see a lot more comets and asteroids heading our way.

There is a very cool 3D movie that shows the motion of our neighboring stars - you can see it here. It takes a long time to download, even on a broadband connection, so be patient. It's worth it: Star Motion Movie.

For background data, see this page.

And if you ever wondered why the similarity between the spiral shape of a galaxy and the shape of a hurricane, they do a fair job of explaining it here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Order out of Chaos

My schedule has been full with design projects and getting the ranch I live on ready for the winter rains and snow, and building an annex onto our office, so the posts have been few and far between.

I am happy to finally have a few minutes to spend posting to my blog.

As spirits in a material world, we are continually putting order into the chaos of the physical universe. I am constantly amazed at how much order is required to be put in, so that one can merely continue to live the life one has chosen, much less get ahead! We have a fairly big ranch and lots of animals, which means fences to maintain, pens that need cleaning, water lines that break, ponds that leak, and trees that fall down where they shouldn't.

To paraphrase the Red Queen in "Through the Looking Glass", one has to run twice as fast to actually get anywhere.