I’ve been trying so hard to take pictures of Mars as it approaches opposition. Literally every night has been cloud covered and/or rainy. I’ve waited two years for this alignment and I really hope I can get a chance. Meanwhile here’s whats happening in August.
Astrophotography is a difficult, expensive but challenging hobby of mine. Here is just a sample illustration of my planetary imaging abilities over the past two years. With Mars coming close to opposition, and so many planets visible these nights, I’m hoping to log some hours of quality imaging data soon.
Terence McKenna (1946-2000) was perhaps the greatest philosophical mind of the 20th century. His expeditions into the Amazon in search of the mystical botanical brew yage brought him in contact with psilocybin mushrooms. Together with his brother Dr. Dennis McKenna, the pair brought “magic mushrooms” hurtling into the awareness of the West. Terence became the heir apparent to Timothy Leary’s public LSD work. He was a most verbose, incredibly witty, pleasantly sarcastic Renaissance Man–a self-taught master of anthropology, biology, chemistry, magic, alchemy, math and history, with a deep knowledge of art and Jungian psychology. He took all of this knowledge and applied to to exploring hidden realms of human consciousness through psychedelics. Beyond all of this he is my personal hero and I honor his memory daily.
Meanwhile, WikiSpaces is shutting down, which means the Terence McKenna Transcription project is about to become homeless. Hopefully they will find a new place to host their content. I am simply posting my work here so that it won’t be lost forever. This is only ONE of his hundreds of public lectures that are floating around cyberspace today. Terence is well known for his gift of the gab, so this transcription took me 2-3 months to complete, and contains 21,662 words. Enjoy if you want to, after the break.
Journey Onwards, Terence!
Continue reading “Terence Mckenna Transcription”
Today I learned something new about Platonic astronomy. Johannes Kepler’s Platonic solid model of the solar system must have been the coolest thing since sliced bread at the time. It at least caught the attention of Tycho Brahe. Unfortunately though the ratios of planetary orbits do seem to match at first glance, they really aren’t close enough to match modern observational data.
That’s the problem. Creationism isn’t a new thing in the search for scientific truth. Kepler was trying to fit the universe into his theological conception of what it should be. By showing how the orbits of planets were “perfect” and “ideal”, he could perhaps convince the authorities of the possibility of a heliocentric universe. It was no different than creating imaginary suborbits in the Ptolemaic model to ensure the planets only followed circular paths (Why would God use an imperfect shape?).
This is another reason why I get slightly pissed off when I listen to New Agers babble on about “sacred geometry”, or the Lotus of Venus, or other false connections between the beautiful and the factual.
Hat tip to VSauce for the fun video about Kepler’s beautiful error.
The sky is currently transitioning into what is called “galaxy season”, and the planets are becoming visible again at night. Already, Venus is visible after sunset, looming low over the horizon. Before dawn Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are handsomely lined up in a row. Mars is slowly coming closer to Earth according to its two-year synodic cycle, reaching opposition in July. Until then it will become brighter and brighter each night. Mercury retrograde finally ends April 15th.
Hail Ostara, eastward arising,
Laughing goddess, Lady of Light–
To dawn, dominion over darkness
Thy glory has granted, gone is the night!
Winter’s wrath by winds of warmth
The maiden’s might has melted here;
Everywhere green plants are growing,
Flowers flourish, she-beasts bear;
Let Thy light’s illumination
Banish sorrow, blessings bring,
Grant success, and a good season
To those who seek thee here this spring!
-Hail Ostara, Diana Paxson
- ⚪ Full MoonMarch 2, 2018
- ☾ Last Quarter MoonMarch 9
- ⚫ New MoonMarch 17
- Vernal Equinox (Spring)March 20, 2018
- Mercury Retrograde BeginsMarch 23, 2018
- ⚪ Full MoonMarch 31, 2018
Rise up before dawn and you will find Saturn, Mars and Jupiter all lined up neatly in a row. I’ll be taking some pictures of them if I can wake myself up that early for once.
Among the first printed renditions of the Greek (Ptolemaic) constellations was the Clarissimi Viri Iginii Poeticon Astronomicon, which included almost all these constellations, though without great accuracy or detail. Its focus seems to have been less about navigation/astronomy as for the mythological figures presented in the sky.
Continue reading “Poeticon Astronomicon”