Monday, January 21, 2008

Entering Aquarius

< Globular Cluster M72 (NGC 6981), class IX, in the constellation of Aquarius. Discovered in 1780 by Pierre Méchain. Photo by Scott Schell, from the Hawaiian Astronomical Society.

This is a photo of a "Messier Object," which does not mean it is more of a mess than other objects but that French astronomer and comet hunter Charles Messier (1730-1817), who worked with Méchain, included it in his famous catalog of Deep Sky Objects as "Messier 72."

"Deep Sky Objects"...
Isn't that a cool term?

Evocative names like this plus my love of Star Trek led me to think about studying astronomy in college. Until I sat in on an intro class and saw in 1 minute that it was all math and no mythology.
My gifts in math are limited by my number of fingers (and toes, in a pinch).
I got a BA in Religious Studies instead, which only included Latin grammar, no counting at all.

In astrological terms, we are now entering the sign of Aquarius, when our Sun appears to move through that constellation.

The signs of the zodiac are divided into the four elements: water, earth, air, and fire.
Aquarius, though pictured as a water bearer, is an air sign.
My sign, Pisces, is a water sign.

I've been close to a couple Aquarians who indeed added fizz to my water, like carbonization;
like bubbles in champagne;
like light moving through dark liquid deep space.

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