Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer
Title: Travelers in the Night Eps. 167E & 168E: Planets, Billiards and Alchemy & An Eternal One
Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s 2 topics:
- “I do not know how I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
- Scientists predict that not even the Earth and Sky will last forever but are likely to be destroyed when the Sun becomes a red giant.
Bio: Dr. Al Grauer is currently an observing member of the Catalina Sky Survey Team at the University of Arizona. This group has discovered nearly half of the Earth approaching objects known to exist. He received a PhD in Physics in 1971 and has been an observational Astronomer for 43 years. He retired as a University Professor after 39 years of interacting with students. He has conducted research projects using telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Australia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Georgia with funding from NSF and NASA.
He is noted as Co-discoverer of comet P/2010 TO20 Linear-Grauer, Discoverer of comet C/2009 U5 Grauer and has asteroid 18871 Grauer named for him.
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167E: Planets, Billiards and Alchemy
“I do not know how I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy, playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things”
These are only two of the quotes attributed to Sir Isaac Newton.
Isaac Newton’s ideas about the physical world and mathematics continue to touch our lives every day in situations ranging from a game of pool, to the braking of our automobile, to the construction of eye-glasses, to reflecting telescopes large and small, to following the path of the New Horizons spacecraft as it explores the distant reaches of our solar system to name a few.
Newton also spent substantial thought and effort on alchemy and the occult. His efforts to understand the materials which surround us were at a time when Chemistry was beginning to emerge as a science and were thus a mixture of what we would consider to be science and magic. Newton suffered a nervous breakdown after a fire, purportedly started by his dog diamond, destroyed his alchemy laboratory and much of his writings on the subject.
Nearly 300 years after his death, Isaac Newton’s contributions to mathematics and the physical science continue to be relevant to many situations from the flight of an airplane to the colors of the rainbow.
168E: An Eternal One
In the Kansas song “Dust In The Wind” , a very memorable line is “Don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky”. Scientists predict that not even the Earth and Sky will last forever but are likely to be destroyed when the Sun becomes a red giant.
In 2013 my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Richard Kowalski found a faint moving point of light in the night sky. After his discovery observations were posted on the Minor Planet Center’s website it was observed by 10 other telescopes around the world and given the name 2013 US10. It has taken additional observations to reveal that Kowalski’s object is not an asteroid but rather a comet which will come closest to the Sun on November 15, 2015. After that its speed will be so great that it will leave our solar system never to return.
The brightness of a comet is difficult to predict with accuracy. In August of 2015, Comet C/2013 US10 is bright enough to be seen with binoculars. From late November of 2015 and into January 2016 it may bright enough to be visible to the unaided eye. Seiichi Yoshida has created and published finding maps on the web which will help you to locate Comet C/2013 US10 (Catalina). In 2028 it will pass Pluto’s average distance from the Sun.
Its path is not in the direction of any known star making it likely that it will continue its cold lonely journey till the end of time.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer.
End of podcast:
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