Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pause to think about wonders of universe

In this morning's Arizona Daily Star, I'm reading about the International Year of Astronomy. During the past couple decades, new telescopes have shown us amazing images of the universe. One of the best shows on TV is "The Universe" on the History Channel. It showcases some amazing images and imagines life on other planets through animation. But once the shows are aired, they may already need updating. Things are happening that fast.

The International Astronomical Union has declared 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. This is in honor of Galileo who, 400 years ago, spied craters through the moon through the world's first telescope. He also proposed the unthinkable: that the earth revolves around the sun, not vice versa. The Vatican accused him of heresy for such crimes.

Now, a short 400 years later, we can view nebulae and signs of black holes. Astronomers are tracking possible habitable planets in other systems. All kinds of new telescope projects are underway around (and out of) the world.

I'll leave you with this quote, which I'm going to try to say daily. It's from IAU President Catherine Cesarsky, a French astrophysicist:

"In 2009, we would like everybody on Earth to think at least once about the wonders of the universe."


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