by Theodore R. Frimet
star party for two
Awesome is our outreach from AAAP. Gene led the way, this past year, with receiving event after event. Everyone, it seems, except yours truly, volunteered to be on or off site, and provided the very essence of their being, with telescope in hand. Congratulations to all! We few, we happy few…we band of Amateur Astronomers!
I found myself embedded with the UACNJ board meeting, Saturday, September 21, 2019. As an alternate to AAAPs presence, I took the opportunity to second a motion of the board. This was to empower UACNJ to look into revising its by-laws to have new membership rules adopted. Primarily this was to assist a ham-radio group, in their pursuit to install, and maintain a repeater station, at Jenny Jump. You may ask, “how important is this to you and to me?” If in a time of cellular communication failure, ham radio operators form the network for cross national and global communications. At the Jump, vis-a-vis the homestead of UACNJ, the repeater would be the conduit for the I91 corridor.
The current dogma is that a joining club must be Astronomy related. By Jovian Loudspeaker I declare, “hoist the flag of the ham”! After our seconding the motion, all were in favor, except one still voice. And yes, even one voice has its reason. However, you may forgive me. I have unconditional support for this venture. The UACNJ board vetted the new clubs proposal, prior to discussion. They will be of assistance to Astronomy’s treasure trove of outreach. Can they improve upon a Jovian radio, or breathe life into the satellite dish in the back yard? Why not, I ask you? It does suffice to say, that we empowered the board to look into the by-laws for discussion, and did not merit a decision at the point of the meeting.
A week, less a day, goes by. And it is Friday night at Washington Crossing Park. My AAAP Keyholder schedule has me on site here, this evening. It is immediately followed by Keyholder Team Five at the Jump, on Saturday.
I am early at Jenny Jump, and arrive some time before 4 PM. I go about my Team Leader checklist, and quickly settle down to some air conditioned comfort in the living room. I spy a comfy padded chair. Taking a seat, I unbundle the six or so Science, AAAS Journals, that have accumulated as of late. I read a few notional articles of interest. Biology has always come easy to me. So my eye searches for the quick study. Ah, I find it! “Bacteria Send Messages to Colonize Plant Roots”. An epic report that I comprehend, in the 30 August 2019, Longwitz & Werner, p910. It whets my appetite for more.
I have been eating more than my fair share, as of late. I have immersed myself into a college level course in American Sign Language. Video-Logs (VLOGs) are a requisite. And seeing myself in profile, exposes my Buddha-Belly to the masses. Deaf culture must have a good look, and laugh it off at the battle of the bulge. However, I am learning. All the while, keeping my head above water. It is not failure that I fear. I will earn a grade, and it will be just. My just rewards are quick in coming. You see, coming to terms with a language improves cognitive performance. It is one of the big three. Learn a musical instrument, perform an art, or learn language, anew. Clearly this VLOG requires a trained, and dyed-in-the-wool professional interpreter to grade it. Here it is. Theodore in the Nude. See, Olgivy was right. sex sells!.
I lean forward into my chair, at the Jump. Flipping thru the contents, I look for anything Astro-related in Science. Astrochronology, 30 August, Zeebe & Lourens, p926. Galactic Archaeology with Gaia, 6 September, Wyse, p979. Quantum Darwinism Seen in Diamond Traps, 13 September, p 1070, by Adrian Cho, and an article on Cosmology, same flavor of September, a perspective by Jee, p1076. I didn’t get a head-ache, as some of you might gamble. I did, however, eventually run out of steam, and gathered the tomes of my childhood, and put them into the front seat of the car. Yet, never did I subside my thoughts, until allowing the quantum gates to open.
As discussed by Zeebe and Lourens, they have produced a new astronomical solution to Earths orbital eccentricity. Within their writings are meaningful comparisons of the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, and Solar System Chaos. If you ever get the chance opportunity, turn to their Figure 3, and stick your thumb onto page 928. Discover for yourself an abrupt Resonance Transition, as the interval between eccentricities takes a deep dive 55 millions years before the present. Yes, our solar system is chaotic, and it undergoes a specific resonance pattern. It was, however, punctuated by a transition. More importantly, however, is that the scope of the article instills within this community, a more precise time-piece by which to measure Earths past and future climate.
The insights brought to us by Rosemary Wyse, reveals how satellite data shows us the Milky Way’s turbulent past. I recall a previous essay, where I discussed the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy impinging on our Milky Way. She left her gravitational mark upon our spiral arms, in the form of gravitational bars. “Up and down rides the hair”, I spoke. Yet, here is more classical science, punctuated by Gaia data.
A billion stars studied, with three dimensional velocity espoused a brighter subset of approximately 7 million stars. Studying the spectroscopic analysis yields a sense of those that have higher, or lesser values of metallic elements. Sequencing these stars shows us stellar color as “blue halo (low metallacity) and red halo (high metallicity)”, p980 et.al. (cited Gaia Collaboration, Astron Astrophys. 616.10 (2018)). Coupled with the velocity studies, I learn anew.
Galaxies that have merged with the Milky Way shewn off few of their stars and accrete to the mass of our stellar halo and our thick disk. Stars in the red halo are similar to our thick disk stars. Stars in our galactic core, have halo kinematics that are elemental matches for stars from dwarf galaxies. The Milky Way, as Gaia Astrometric Satellite is tattle tailing on, has been a very naughty gobbler of smaller siblings that come her way. Currently, we are in the mire of merging with the Sagittarius dwarf spheroid. The article continues and merits the quote, “predicted to produce a wealth of features in phase space, including flaring and warping of the outer disk and inducing bending modes”.
Dare I speak of Quantum Darwinism? The cup before you, be it filled with coffee, tea, or me, exists. I will not dare to take it from you, as you are required to be in the present to give it, well, its existence. Quantumly speaking (ugh – a misuse of the treasured word, how badly this will go for us), every electron within the mug, is smeared across the entire Universe. Its interaction with the environment is you taking a sip. Perhaps simply viewing the inscription on the side of the coffee mug, (My mother-in-law’s “Life Begins at Retirement”) coalesces and collapses the wave form. It brings the mug to You. What Quantum Darwinism speaks of is that there were multiple ‘schmears’. Despite you conjuring up the classical state, and “observers agree that the cup is here, the gigantic branch persists, unrealized, like a parallel world.” (Cho, et.al.). Seen in a diamond trap, reality emerges from the quantum foam. I am in agreement. Time will tell, and become both judge and jury.
Would somebody, “please save me”!! When we speak of the Hubble Constant, I speak to the number of us that are inner circle. You and me, included. Hubbles number is in a state of flux, as it continues to be perfected. Yes, the Universe is expanding. The H(0) redshift values are invaluable as they inferred velocity. The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) also pitched in, to indirectly validate the value of H(0). Yet, what got my goat going, in the article entitled, “A measurement of the Hubble constant from angular diameter distances to two gravitational lenses”, wasn’t old pipe smokin’ Hubble, per se. It was the value in outreach in Jenny Jump State Park, here at UACNJ, on a Saturday night.
You and I embraced an essay, written on Gravitational Lensing, found here:
What I now have to add is a twist that was spoken to the public, on a Saturday night, before the 16 inch Buinis telescope.
I put away my journals, and put on my hat, and keyholder ID chain and card. I was a weather denier. AAAP had cancelled its star party, slated to be held at Gravity Hill Barn. I was sad for the club, and the feelings persisted. At the Jump, my co-lead inspired me, as he opened the hut to the grand 16 inch telescope. It was a profound experience, as I realized that the massive mirror needed to cool off. We pushed the roof open, and he set the scope skyward to vent the heat from the behemoth.
Asked if I would be OK, on my maiden voyage with the Buinis, I concurred. Off he went to help host the monthly lectures in the club basement go smooth as silk. This time our talk was given by Greg Waldron. Greg, I wish I was there to hear you speak. I admire your knowledge base. Clouds in the distance. Rumbling, I felt. Flashes of lightening. “No rain, yet”, I muttered to myself.
People travel from all over. Hours on the road. All with expectations to catch a skyward glimpse of the unimaginable. Having a scope open, even on questionable nights, brings home stories of, “I’ve just seen the biggest telescope, ever!”. Here, see it on my social network! Come here, to Warren County. You wouldn’t believe what those Astronomers do, there! So it goes, with good customer service. Open the door, and let them see your wares. Even if the clouds persist. Seeing is believing. I am a believer, now that I’ve seen.
I choose Jupiter. The mighty Buinis moved her gears, and set herself high above the horizon. Many a Jovian satellite could now be brought into focus. While twiddling the focuser, the great gaseous orb yielded a spectacular view. Yes, despite not using a longer focal length refractor, the planetary view was great this Saturday night!
I made a business decision. All of us know the tale of Saturn as every child’s first impressive view. I shook my money maker, and changed course, to our left. The Buinis, being somewhat of a ham, decided to take the long way ‘bout. She landed on the rings. A spectacular view for the end of September. Girded by the Cassini Division, once again I too was greeted by an old friend. I was surprised by a member of the public, who asked if the view remained the same. Struggle did I, as I spoke of Saturns and Earth orbit, and the chance meeting that we would see the old man, tilted on edge. I summoned up a description that ‘he shewn up his tartan kilt’, allowing us to see between the nether-rings. And it clouded. More cloud lightening in the distance. More outreach to be done. Jupiter set. Saturn not be seen. Look up, and find your way into the night sky, then, I shouted aimlessly to myself!
I recently relearned my lesson as to where to find M13. A favorite of Astronomers to be found in the mighty constellation of Hercules. I owe my schooling to our fellow club members of AAAP. Thank you for our Friday night, post public viewing. I took what I learned, and weighed anchor, to slip the ship, upwards and to the right. Aglow are the pearls of point light wonder. Globular cluster to be seen, and joyous were all to be in the light of M13 at the Jump.
My friend, and accomplished Astrophotographer, Alex, came in. We didn’t recognize each other at first. Alex sported a brand new hair cut, and I was covering my ancient gray with a blue baseball cap. We reintroduced each other, chatted awhile. I recall when Alex was out imaging, and I was at his side, viewing Andromeda. Playing music to keep up with the calls of the Red Fox’s from the grove below, we pined together that the local fauna would go amok, if we played Rock ’n Roll. Alex then braved the parking duties for the night. Good job, Alex. 62 or more happy peoples rolled in by means of their iron horse. More clouds skewed the view. I looked up to Vega.
The Ring Nebula is always my favorite. It was in fact, the reason why I purchased, as my third telescope, a 12 inch Dobsonian. I wanted to make sure, that despite the limitations in viewing, in my back yard, I could wonder the view for hours on end. I am so inspired by the luminance emanated from the central White Dwarf. Yes, Darwinism has not imbued the Ultra-Violet spectrum to Homo sapien. Yet, the Universe has been kind to us. She has presented the physics of visible light, as the silent gas ring re-radiates UV into the pleasure of our narrowly confined optics.
UP, up to Vega, and with Lyre, we conjure up the Ring! Briefly though be the view. Step up and quickly take a peek. The clouds you see, are forming up, on top of the Jump. The ring continues to be visible for a few salutary minutes. And then a lecture overcomes me. I teach of what I know of the curvature of space-time, photonic flight, and gravitational lensing. Some sentient being, somewhere in the Universe opened the Quantum Gate. Here it is:
There are massive galaxies that have coalesced in the Universe. Their very bodies deform space-time and form up a lens. Where they would have blocked the view points of galaxies, from behind their path comes the curving of light. The Einstein Cross is such an excellent example of gravitational lensing, that I am inspired to go further.
Clouds roll in. Lightening in the Valley below. Go further. Speak now! I see that a variable star may be captured above, and then below in the cross. You see them in different frames. Why then did they not occur above, left and right at all the same time? Luminosity distances be damned! I saw the light, from the top, first and foremost because space-time is not an evenly distributed medium. It is curvilinear, and has variance in density. In my own humble opinion, it is folded like an accordion. Up and down travels the nascent photon. It tarries a long distance. If one were to poke thru the folds, as if with a pencil thru the accordion pleats, our massless visitor would have a short-cut. Wormhole, you say? Be damned the steel tensile strength of space-time and fold it yourself! Take the short-cut to your distance relatives. Worry not about the ever expanding distances between galaxies, when all the while some of you will birth grand-children’s grandchild to make the great escape!
Clouds. No more view. Sigh. On goes the lecture. The light that took the path thru a greater optical density, appears to us later in time. Our great listeners already were versed on Relativity, and the observer reference frame. Yes, they took in with a great draw of breath the limits imposed by the speed of light. And to their humble credit, all weighed in positively that the velocity limit has no bearing on the ever expanding space between the galaxies. How proud I am, of those that visit the Jump!
A good many questions followed. Among them was, if we see more than one copy of a galaxy, due to lensing, how do we know if the galaxy count is correct? Quickly I immersed them in the visual of the fun house. Surrounded by mirrors, reflecting your very being, you see many more of you than exist. Yet you are one. The count is validated as you are now a scientist participating in a thought experiment that is grounded by your experience. I dare not, now, as then, express the arrow from my quiver, that many are the quantum count, waiting for you, the observer to find focus for our shared reality. More clouds.
I am lost to the clouds. Many are the members of the Amateur community that have looked skyward for ages, since 8, and and up. Younger those may be, that I am simply unaware of. It is you, those solid members that have learned the night sky, by wrote. My fellow team leader shows up, and I defer to him. I can see no other opportunity than to try to peer thru the clouded veil and look up to the brightest star, Vega. There is a brief pause as he sets the sail, anew.
His age becomes his knowledge. Albiero. Yes, the blue and gold is the last view of the evening. The wisdom that manifests now is to see what we can, with the heart of an Amateur at the rudder. That the public, should be given every opportunity to see what is possible with the great 16 inch Buinis. Damn the torpedos, full steam ahead! There she belies, ‘captain. I have her, astern!
All took their turn, politely turning over the event, one eye-full at a time. The good ship Buinis took sail that evening, and delivered content, causation, and happiness. What more can an Amateur ask for, doing outreach, on a public night?