Archive for December, 2008

Experiments with scale

It’s simply impossible to represent the Earth-Moon-Sun system on a single page of a book and keep it to scale. The result is we always see the true scale grossly distorted. We get some sense of the vast differnce in size, but no sense of how that size relates to the distances involved. We can represent the system on this computer screen, however. But we have the same problem of fitting it all into a single Web page. What we get is something that looks like this.

That's the Sun on the left. When th system is reduce this way you simply can't see the Earth. Click the link below and scroll all the wya to the right to see the Earth and Moon to proper scale and distance.

That white dot on the left is the Sun. When the system is reduced this way you simply can't see the Earth. Too small. But if you click the link below, and ask your browser to display the image full size, then patiently scroll all the way to the right you'll eventually see the Earth and Moon at a proper scale and distance. To do this you may have to click on the image a second time in your browser - what you want is for the Sun to be about 2-3 inches in diamter on your screen. (Don't just zip over there. Use the normal scroll arrows - that way it will take you a suitably long time to get there and fairly represent the 93 million miles between Earth and Sun. Notice when you get there how close the Moon is in comparison!)

Full size image – Earth – Moon – Sun to scale.

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m15_101206sm_lx90RAPT IN AWE is  an astronomical journal – a sort of book/blog that I see as a companion text to my course on experiential astronomy: Prime Time: Your Journey through the Astronomical Year.

The Rapt in Awe experience has two tracks – a series of posts on the right which I view as the”Rapt in Awe: The Book.”  I like to stress that observing should consist of three equal parts – first your preparation to observe by informing yourself about what you will see; thent he observing itself, and finally, reflecting on your experience. These are the reflections and in the book part may be more general – less tied to a specific observing session. . They’ve been written over the past several years and I’m continuing to write them. Maybe some day I’ll attempt to publish them on paper.

The second is “Rapt in Awe: The Blog” –  a traditional blog  that is an ongoing journal of reports and reflections on my astronomical observations. If you’re looking for notice about upcoming events, those are one the blog on the course site. The blog entries here  are organized under the “category”  drop down menu, with the newest entries being under “recent posts. ” You can, of course, use the search menu, or calendar menu to find posts on specific topics or from specific dates.

Thanks for stopping by and your opinions are always most welcome – please take advantage of the comments menu under each post.

Driftway Observatory Clear Sky Clock – Click for details!

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