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November 20, 2007

Starry wisdom

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Formerly, the Sun was the largest object in the Solar System. Now, comet 17P/Holmes has pride of place. Its remarkable outburst changing the shape of Perseus.

Spectacular outbursting comet 17P/Holmes exploded in size and brightness on October 24. It continues to expand and is now the largest single object in the Solar system, being bigger than the Sun (see Figure). The diameter of the tenuous dust atmosphere of the comet was measured at 1.4 million kilometers (0.9 million miles) on 2007 November 9 by Rachel Stevenson, Jan Kleyna and Pedro Lacerda of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. They used observations from a wide-field camera on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), one of the few professional instruments still capable of capturing the whole comet in one image.

Which is all very interesting. But what does it mean? The problem with astrology these days is that - as with so much else - the discipline has been PC-fied into whining kintergarden pablum for the edification of the slow. I can just imagine one ersatz astronomer of my acquaintance "In council" with "Elders" determining this new star* in Perseus signifies the necessity for new growth and change but holds within its message a warning against rampant, unprovoked warmongering and the threat of global warmenism due to humanity's hubris and an addiction to sweet crude oil (mmm... so sweet).

This being complete toss, obviously. Far more likely is a sign from Perseus that Alyson Hannigan is seconds away from my door. I will hear her knocking and, opening, find her there with a bottle of Maker's Mark in her hand and the words "Face it, Tiger... you just hit the jackpot!" on her lips. Even now, I hear footfalls on the stairs. I rise and make for the door... Ia! Ia! Nyarlathotop ngai! Ia! Ia! The stars are aligned!

* Thinking like the ancients for a moment.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at November 20, 2007 07:03 AM

Comments

I for one welcome our new ice-and-dust overlord. I'd like to remind it that as inhabitants of a wintry northern country, we are used to lack of sunlight and freezing temperatures. We can be useful whenever it decides to overthrow Sol's hegemony over this puny solar system.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 20, 2007 10:13 AM

So all those times you've referred to lottery tickets, you're really just talking about Alison Hannigan with a bottle of scotch?

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 21, 2007 12:00 PM

That sums it up nicely. Though I am a bourbon drinker one must not throw these gifts back at the gods. I will put up with a single-malt for Alyson Hannigan.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 21, 2007 12:18 PM

Oh Alyson... wow. My favorite human.

Funnily enough I have decided to buy/steal/acquire a new large bore comet finder scope this winter. WIth the hubble and a bazillion websites full of pictures of rarely changing stars/galazies/nebulae, comets and asteroids are the only real things that a regular person can discover from their backyard whilst sipping cognac from a flask and shivering in ones oilskin cloak..

Posted by: Gorthos [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 04:26 PM

Oh Alyson... wow. My favorite human.

Funnily enough I have decided to buy/steal/acquire a new large bore comet finder scope this winter. WIth the hubble and a bazillion websites full of pictures of rarely changing stars/galazies/nebulae, comets and asteroids are the only real things that a regular person can discover from their backyard whilst sipping cognac from a flask and shivering in ones oilskin cloak..

Posted by: Gorthos [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 26, 2007 04:27 PM