Cosmic Gratitude on Thanksgiving

Nov 21, 2017
Cosmic Gratitude on Thanksgiving

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Most of us have a lot to be thankful for. It would be nice to hold a Thanksgiving star party, where astronomers could rattle off their own special reasons to be grateful. I’ll go first.

  1. I’m thankful that at star parties, nobody plays music through the loudspeakers. Problem, of course, is different tastes. I think rap music should never be played when the Milky Way is out, but you may think Saturn looks better accompanied by hip-hop.
  2. We can be grateful for the way stargazing soothes the soul and quiets the mind. Your neighbor, who keeps his yard lights on, might deserve to serve an indefinite term at a special brightly lit prison. Instead, we invite him over to look through the telescope at the night sky wonders. The heavens induce a peaceful forbearance. (No longer do I roll my eyes when someone says, “You’re an astronomer? What’s your sign?”)
  3. We can give thanks that the Moon and Sun both appear the same size—true of no other planet—which allows total eclipses to occur in our lifetimes. In just a few tens of millions of years, the slowly spiraling-away Moon, departing at the rate of 1.5 inches a year, will no longer appear large enough to blot out the Sun.
  4. We can give thanks that astronauts do not make political speeches every time they reach orbit.
  5. That good telescopes are now affordable.
  6. And that during the earliest UFO landings, some of the aliens got left behind and multiplied here on Earth, where they came to be enjoyed—as turkeys.            

Your turn. Happy Thanksgiving!

About This Blog

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s blog on stargazing and astronomy. Bob Berman, longtime and famous astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, will help bring alive the wonders of our universe. From the beautiful stars and planets to magical auroras and eclipses, he covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob, the world’s mostly widely read astronomer, also has a new weekly podcast, Astounding Universe

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Happy Thanksgiving Bob!

Cute column! I am so thankful for you, and all the astronomers who went before you, who generously shared their knowledge, enthusiasm and love of the beautiful 'tent' above! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and the staff and readers of OFA!

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