Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Astrophysics Versus Steam-Punk Musicians

A bright flash spotted early yesterday in Jupiter's swirling atmosphere was most likely due to a hit by a comet or asteroid, astronomers say. Although the impact is the fourth one seen in just over three years, the uptick does not mean Jupiter is getting hit more often, only that more people are looking.

"Jupiter has been taking hits like this for a long time," says Franck Marchis of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. "It's just that now, amateur astronomers have the capabilities to detect them."

With the speed of digital communication, the army of enthusiasts scanning the skies can connect with professional astronomers to follow up on an observation almost instantly.

Seeing real-time impacts and studying the scars left on Jupiter will give scientists unique windows into the gas giant's atmospheric properties. The events can also tell astronomers more about the impacting objects themselves, giving a better picture of the sizes and numbers of bodies swarming through the solar system.

"This is a remarkable tool for us professional astronomers," Marchis says. "We cannot observe Jupiter continuously. But now when something like this happens, we can see it."

Is more water vapor rising up
or are more meteors falling down
creating electric looking clouds
where our world meets a world more distant
or real distance itself the real north?

An asteroid or comet impacted
Jupiter yesterday. The old rock group
Rush is bringing their “Clockwork Angels” tour
to the United Center Saturday.

The cheapest seats there cost fifty dollars
so I won’t be seeing Rush this weekend.

Amateur astronomers I’ve talked to
say so far nobody has photographed
any after-effects of the impact
on Jupiter, no dark scar in the clouds.

Astronomers and astrophysicists
believe we’re seeing so many impacts
at Jupiter because amateurs now
around the world have such good telescopes,
and not that more impacts are happening.

But that’s just a good, reasonable guess.

Just like it’s a good, reasonable guess
that the increase in noctilucent clouds
is caused by more water vapor and not
by more meteors impacting the Earth.

I haven’t heard anyone even guess
why tickets cost astronomically more
to watch musicians than a first-run film.

And Jupiter is in the sky for free.

I like dirigibles but not steam-punk
so I don’t mind missing this weekend’s show.

But I wonder about all the impacts
at Jupiter. And very high clouds here.

I haven’t heard anyone even guess
a good, reasonable mechanism
that might deliver more meteors here
and more asteroids and comets out there.

But it certainly isn’t unheard of
for an event worth seeing to happen
without a good, reasonable reason.

Rush is playing shows every two days now
and somebody is buying those tickets
that cost ten times more than a first-run film.

Jupiter is up in the sky for free,
at least so long as the sky stays up there.

And of course if the sky ever comes down
we’ll be able to watch that for free too,
but probably people who like steam-punk
will find a way to watch the sky come down
from box seats in a very special lounge
in some corporation’s dirigible.

That’s my guess. But I can’t tell anymore
which guesses are good, reasonable ones
and which are just nuts and which are guesses
attempting to be something like a song,
that is, something like a progressive song.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Clockwork Angels” at Wikipedia

“Rush is playing shows every two days now”

Rush at the United Center 9/15
for wealthy Chicago hipsters

Steam-Punk at Wikipedia


Another Jupiter Impact!

Both Touched By Something

Animals That Can Rip Apart Eternity

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