Saturday, March 12, 2011

debunking with friends

Dace asked me for some clarification on a few astronomical topics she had heard about recently.

I thought she was going to grill me about bacteria in asteroids... She asked about a special alignment of all the planets. And then she asked about the new Milky Way galaxy discovered. By a child.

I did not think there was anything special about the planets, at the moment. A few were aligned with the Sun but Saturn was opposite. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I explained that I had not heard about a new galaxy discovered per se. But I did share that we were constantly making discoveries about our own galaxy, such as more detail about the spiral arms and the structure of the galaxy. I reminded her that it was difficult though as we experience the fish-in-the-fishbowl phenomenon: we're inside our galaxy and it's challenging to do things from inside it.

With respect to the child reference, I asked if she meant the recent supernova discovery by a Canadian girl. That was pretty cool.

Dace said she could not remember the particulars.

As we concluded the astronomy theme, I said, "While we're at it: no, the Moon did not cause the earthquake in Japan. And, no, the world will not end in 2012."

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