Tag Archives: Astronomy

Pole Stars Of Other Planets?

When I wrote about Philip Latham’s juvenile science-fiction novel Missing Men Of Saturn (1953) recently, I pointed out that Latham had made an astronomically well-informed guess about a possible pole star for Saturn’s moon Titan. Latham (a professional astronomer) knew the orientation of Saturn’s rotation axis, which would have allowed him to deduce the location … Continue reading Pole Stars Of Other Planets?

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Which Way Does Space Station V Rotate?

The “Phenomena” posts have been a little tied up with abstruse orbital mechanics and obscure revisions to lists of Scottish hills, of late, so I thought it might be time for a break from all that. So this post is about something superficially trivial in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which has mildly annoyed … Continue reading Which Way Does Space Station V Rotate?

Why Does The Illuminated Side Of The Moon Sometimes Not Point At The Sun?

I took the above panoramic view, spanning something like 120 degrees, in a local park towards the end of last year. The sun was almost on the horizon to the southwest, at right of frame. The moon was well risen in the southeast, framed by the little red box in the image above. After taking … Continue reading Why Does The Illuminated Side Of The Moon Sometimes Not Point At The Sun?

We Are Stardust (Supplement)

I published my original “We Are Stardust” post some time ago, introducing the infographic above, which shows the cosmic origins of the chemical elements that make up our bodies, according to mass. At that time I concluded that Joni Mitchell should actually have sung “We are 90% stardust,” because that’s the proportion of our body … Continue reading We Are Stardust (Supplement)

We Are Stardust

A few months ago I ran into the periodic table above, detailing the cosmological origins of the chemical elements. And it occurred to me that I could quantify Joni Mitchell’s claim that “we are stardust”. How much of the human body is actually produced by the stars? But before I get to that, I should probably explain a little about the various categories indicated by the colours in the chart above.