Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Stupendamoon!

The moon was huge the other night. It was so big I almost got my period.  Supermoon, they called it, but that doesn't mean much. That's just more word inflation, which seems to be required in a world where, omigod, we're all brilliant and everything we do is uh-mazing. The moon is always worth looking at and doesn't really need a public relations department. I had the same thought I usually do when I see a nice full moon: wouldn't it be cool if we had a bunch of them?

I mean, wouldn't it be swell to be on Jupiter? Except for the chilly part. Sixty-seven moons winging around that thing, all taking different amounts of time to make the trip, some going this way and some going the other way. There would probably be people around who could rig up tables of exactly how they were going to be arrayed on any given night, but your average person is unlikely to be able to keep track of it without the cheat sheet. Which shouldn't detract from the sheer joy of it all.

Just my luck I'd be stuck on the bus next to someone who goes on and on about the relative positions of Ganymede and Io and the consequences for my fortunes. She'd reel off a dozen moons in retrograde that will soon collaborate on an auspicious moment for changing jobs or starting a relationship, and explain my own personality to me based on the confluence of Europa and Callisto at the moment my egg split off from the motherpod. And on Jupiter it could be a long, long bus trip. I swear, Jupiter is wasted on the Jupitroids.

Anyway, what we just saw here was the Harvest Moon. It's called that because it's a full moon that occurs during "harvest time," which is an old-timey expression from back in the days we didn't have mangoes and kiwi fruit available in the store all year, thanks to all that oil. Same exact moon in February would be called the Shoot Me, It's Still Raining Moon. If we could see it.
Harvest Time

Mangoes be damned, it does signal a change of seasons. We still have changes of seasons--most of us--because our planet is tilted in relation to the sun, and depending on where we are in our revolution, the sunlight is scoring either a direct hit or angling in. The difference between lolling on a raft in your underwear and having to wear everything you own just to cross the parking lot comes down to how much atmosphere that sun needs to slice through. And the atmosphere isn't very thick. It's just a wafer of batting wrapped around the planet. But that thin batting is why we have wind and weather and, for that matter, liquid water at the surface at all. We owe our very existence to that batting, but we've gotten mighty slapdash with it. We just keep dumping crap in it.

That's what happens when people keep their perspectives narrow. Heck, we think the sky is blue, when really it's black almost everywhere, as soon as you get a few miles from here. We even fancy God on a nice fluffy cloud in the blue sky and imagine it's heaven, although that would mean God is practically parking His Fanny on the earth itself. Hope he likes it toasty.

34 comments:

  1. I mean, wouldn't it be swell to be on Jupiter? Except for the chilly part.

    And the weather, such as a hurricane larger than the planet Earth which has been going on for centuries (the Great Red Spot). And the fact that we would all weigh three times as much.

    Jupiter actually has only four moons worthy of the name -- the original "classic" moons first spotted by Galileo. When they talk about 67 moons, they're practically counting things you could use as doorstops or lawn decorations. Astronomers are justly proud of their ability to detect even quite small things far away, but they do tend to go overboard sometimes.

    If you want an environment conducive to a severe case of astrology, imagine living on one of the moons and having Jupiter hanging in the sky overhead. It would feel like having a giant hot-air balloon moored over your house all the time. Zeus knows what kind of religions would develop under those conditions.

    Me, I'm just glad the hot weather's finally over.

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    1. Me too. And I cannot imagine why I failed to imagine being on a MOON and looking at Jupiter hovering over. I'm going to spend a little quality time with that notion.

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    2. What Infidel says about the smaller moons is true, so consider this: We have hundreds, possibly thousands of satellites out there floating around. Not to mention George Clooney. They don't make for very interesting gazing, though.

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    3. Well. I wouldn't say THAT, exactly.

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  2. When you are on Broadway, up by PSU, if you look up on the hill to the south you can see a white, castle-looking house? In '69 I went to a party up there, and was outside on a balcony, and I saw Jupiter and all it's moons! With my naked eye! About an hour later the police came and things went downhill, but the two aren't related. I swear.

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    1. Sure I know that house! I've delivered mail to it. It's on Buckingham Drive, and it was built without right angles (except the plumb lines). I know that party, too.

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  3. Have you read Rare Earth? I'm stumbling through it right now. I think you'd like it.

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    1. I haven't heard of it. Stumbling? Is that a recommendation? Tell me more.

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    2. I highly recommend it. It gives the most plausible explanation of the Fermi Paradox, a.k.a. the Great Silence.

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    3. Okay, I'll give it a whirl, as soon as I finish all 1400 pages of the latest kilt-lifter book by Diana Gabaldon.

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  4. If, as Infidel states, we'd weigh three times as much on Jupiter, I don't think I'd want to go there, no matter how many moons or doorstops or whatevers they got. Besides, I love our big old moon, and I'd miss it.

    What's Pootie got in the box? You've been out shopping for him again, haven't you? Not that I'm complaining :)

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    1. Nah, he gets his own stuff. That's his harvest of Pootie Melons.

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    2. Oh, I thought they were gooseberries or goosegogs, as we used to call them when I was a kid. Whatever they are, they look delicious. Well done Pootie!

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  5. God must be a man because if she was a woman the first thing she would have said is, "Who's going to clean up this mess?" Besides, some old geezer with a long white beard sitting on a cloud warming His Fanny is just so much more god-like, don't you think?

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    1. If she were a woman like me, she'd say "aw, leave that, I'll clean it up later," but not mean it.

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  6. If I had all those moons, moonlets, wannabes to watch I would get even less done than I do now. If that is possible.

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    1. Most of that stuff doesn't need to be done.

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  7. So, on Jupiter, the phrase "many moons ago" must mean the same as "a few seconds ago" here on Earth, right? Our whole English language would need to be translated.....into Jupiterese (?).

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    1. Now I'm wondering if Jupitroids have multiple fannies.

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    2. Wouldn't those be assteroids?

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    3. Yes. Yes they would. We're cutting this off now before someone gets in a line about the ring around Uranus.

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  8. the indifferent, inanimate moon, the moon that you can't even say doesn't give a shit how we label it. It's just us, in all our glory/disgrace/impermanence. That's the attraction, the smile at our little time slot.

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  9. Awww, look at Pootie! He's so cute!! I just want to hug him.
    That moon is pretty spectacular too.

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    1. Pootie counts on his ability to attract female attention.

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  10. So much of what I do, don't do on purpose, and forget to do would be classified as a mazing (the space after the a is critical).

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  11. I saw a recommendation of Rare Earth, an education for me on the question of extraterrestrial life. Very thorough going -over of all the factors that have come together to produce relatively stable conditions on our planet. These two scientists make the argument (convincingly) that even with billions of stars per galaxy and billions of galaxies, the probability of large animal life as we know it, which requires this stability, is still very low. They think microbial life may be common.

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    1. Why am I hearing Carl Sagan's voice in my head?

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  12. All those moons! I keep thinking of tides; jiggly tides in a liquid hydrogen sea.

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    1. Once you start thinking things like that, you can't stop.

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  13. Who cares; the trees are beautiful...and like us - shortlived. So enjoy the season.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. Ain't they grand? I'm not even sure I have a favorite season anymore. (Now that I'm not in the hot, humid Eastern seaboard.)

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