It’s party time! Friday night, and everything’s right.
For your consideration, there’s celebration in the air (that’s no exaggeration). We’re talking ’bout elation; lookin’ for participation. Ya gotta feel the situation. Join with the recreation; enjoy the circulation (and the conversation).
Listen to that good vibration, trackin’ jubilation destination. Forget your reputation; forget your moderation; ain’t no humiliation (that’s a stipulation). There’s no registration, no identification authentication.
I’m sure it’s no revelation; fermentation fascination will bring inebriation (and hallucination). Hesitation just won’t do; you have an invitation! There is no limitation at this here presentation.
That was my narration; how ’bout a small ovation?
[pop (goes the cork)]
For the record: a light year is a measure of distance, not time.
Saying something happened 50 light years ago is wrong unless you mean it in the same sense as something that happened 50 miles ago. (Which you certainly could.)
Fans (and detractors) of Star Wars have endless debates about what Han Solo meant when he said, “You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?… It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.“
The problem is that it’s the equivalent of something like, “[Making] the Kessel Run in less than 1200 miles.“
It doesn’t really parse unless somehow the Falcon makes the distance shorter than normal ships would. (And, yes, there are a number of Star Trekking It possibilities.)
[Or maybe the writer was just confused about light years and parsecs.]
Bonus Question: how many light years in a parsec?
While we’re out in the space place, something else to keep straight:
We live on Earth (I know you know that; I have to start somewhere). Earth circles the sun along with seven other planets. From the sun out, we have: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, a big bunch of asteroids, Jupiter, Saturn (our showpiece), Uranus (no jokes, please) and Neptune.
[And Pluto, dammit. Fuck the precise definition of what a planet is; I get it. I just think Pluto should be grandfathered in. Let’s all raise a glass to Pluto: a Planet in Perpetuity!]
But I figure most of you know the planets, too. Where some lose their way is this: That bunch above, the sun and the planets (and the asteroids and some other stuff hanging around); that bunch comprises the solar system. It’s called solar, because our sun’s proper name is Sol. Other groups of suns and planets are called star systems. Our sun is a very ordinary yellow star.
Our solar system is just one of billions of star systems in the galaxy. In our case, the Milky Way galaxy (the candy bar came much later). When you are out in a dark enough place, that band of stars we call the Milky Way is made of those billions of other star systems. Every star you can see is in our galaxy.
The universe (at least the bit we can see) is filled with billions of galaxies, each containing billions of star systems. There’s a whole lotta real estate out there!
Most of it is unreachably far away. We may someday be able to explore some of the nearby stars in our galaxy. Given enough time (100s of thousands of years), we may well spread through the whole Milky Way. But other galaxies are so much farther away it’s going to be quite a trick to visit them.
If you’re wondering at the science-lust direction of the blog lately, it’s because school is back in session! Summer’s over, and it’s time to hit the books. This blog has always been about science-lust (and philosophy-lust). That may come as a surprise to those who’ve joined us recently.
I’ll try to make it as fun as possible, but I will understand if you tune out some.
If I may just say, this is fundamental stuff upon which so much is built. I’ve had the benefit of an effective education, and I’ve picked up so much interesting stuff along the way. I hope to inspire others to be effective with their education.
Anyway, I hope you’ll stick with it as much as you can stand. It may give you some interesting things to ponder. And when I get to the Computer Science and Math Theory stuff, feel free to tune out. That stuff’s only going to interest hard-core programmers and other über-geeks of that stripe. Don’t worry; it’ll be clearly labeled!
And why the bubbly? Because of the celebration!
“What celebration,” you ask?
“Ah, that’s my secret!” says I, “But there are some clews strewn about the morning post. I’m covert, rather than overt, for fear of identity-stealing thieves. All wizards keep their true names and numbers hidden!”