In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it became possible to believe in the existence of life on other planets on scientific grounds. Once the Earth was no longer the center of the universe according to Copernicus, once Galileo had aimed his telescope at the Moon and found it a rough globe with mountains and seas, the assumption of life on other planets became much less far-fetched. In general there were no actual differences between Earth and Venus, since both planets orbited the Sun, were of similar size, and possessed mountains and an atmosphere. If there is life on Earth, one may ponder why it could not also exist on Venus. In the extraterrestrial life debate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Moon, our closest celestial body, was the prime candidate for life on other worlds, although a number of scientists and scholars also speculated about life on Venus and on other planets, both within our solar system and beyond its frontiers. Venusians: the Planet Venus in the 18th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate
(PDF), from The Journal of Astronomical Data
(JAD) Volume 19
, somewhat via NPR
and their mention of amateur astronomer Thomas Dick's estimations of the populations of the other planets in our solar system
(Archive.org online view of Celestial scenery, or, The Wonders of the planetary system displayed
posted by filthy light thief
on Aug 21, 2014 -
may just be the most peaceful, beautiful 5-1/2 minutes of your entire day: An audio slideshow look at some of the winning images, guided by one of the judges, of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich's 2010 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. Interested in "giving it a go"? Here are some guides
to photographing different aspects of the night sky.
posted by spock
on Sep 11, 2010 -
The Carnegie Institution for Science reports
"a much higher water content in the Moon’s interior than previous studies." For decades, the moon's water content was estimated at less than 1 part per billion; the new estimates range from 64 ppb to 5 parts per million. A scientist at Washington University said, "We can now finally begin to consider the implications—and the origin—of water in the interior of the Moon.”
There's more at NASA
and the BBC
, and the full paper is available at PNAS
posted by Stan Carey
on Jun 15, 2010 -
The Great Moon Hoax of 1835
. During the last week of August 1835, the New York Sun
published a six-part article about the discovery - purportedly by renowned astronomer Sir John Herschel - of fantastical life on the moon, including herds of bison, blue unicorns, "a primitive tribe of hut-dwelling, fire-wielding biped beavers, and a race of winged humans living in pastoral harmony around a mysterious, golden-roofed temple." The public's reaction was a mix of credulity and skepticism. Read the full text of the serialized articles: Part 1
, Part 2
, Part 3
, Part 4
, Part 5
, Part 6
posted by amyms
on Jun 24, 2008 -
...amateur astronomers have seen puffs or flashes of light coming from the moon's surface. Although most professional observers have upheld the conclusion that the moon was inactive, such sightings have kept open a window of doubt. A gas release itself would not be visible for more than a second or so, but the dust it kicked up might stay suspended for up to 30 seconds. Nature article (subscription).
posted by 445supermag
on Nov 9, 2006 -
For the sake of your sanity, for five minutes this week forget the memos, the autopsies, the celebrity verdicts, and the rest. Go outside and look at the full moon, which will hang in the sky at its lowest point in 18 years over the next three nights, says NASA, creating the "summer moon illusion."
If you're a US resident, calculate your local moonrise time here
posted by digaman
on Jun 19, 2005 -
Van Gogh's Moon Shines Again This Weekend If you go out this Sunday evening and look up at the Moon, you will see not only our closest celestial neighbor, but a piece of art history as well. The rising full moon will appear exactly the way it did 114 years ago, when Vincent Van Gogh captured the scene in his famous painting "Moonrise."
. Also learn how the moon helped date the painting.
posted by NewBornHippy
on Jul 11, 2003 -
The moon does not exist!
This is no lie. Until recently, I, too, believed in the traditional, establishment view of the moon. But any thinking person, untainted by the biases imposed on us by the controlled media, will have no choice but to reach the conclusion I did once faced with the facts described in this account.
posted by CrunchyFrog
on Jan 30, 2003 -
of the Space Shuttle and the ray of "shadow" from the moon is pretty cool. I even think I buy the explanation.
posted by aflakete
on Feb 19, 2001 -
This reminded me of one of the stupidest things I've ever seen.
Once on vacation in Eastern Oregon, there was a total eclipse of the moon, just like this one. And some people nearby were taking photographs of it.
photographs. The round-trip time to the moon at the speed of light is 3 seconds and I wouldn't even want to calculate the attenuation caused by 320,000 miles of range.
Sometimes it seems as if some people are completely and totally clueless about what they're doing.
posted by Steven Den Beste
on Jul 25, 2000 -