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Message Subject The moon's crookedness is caused by our going toward the center of the galactic plane
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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Nice Full Moon out tonight with a good halo (already rained today), so bright (gives you a

shadow just like standing under a street light no less) good time to share some more things.

Here are some excerpts from the Book 2001: A Space Odyssey that I found interesting, hope you do


Of all the creatures who had yet walked on Earth, the man-apes were the first to look

steadfastly at the Moon.
And though he could not remember it, when he was very young Moon-

Watcher would sometimes reach out and try to touch that ghostly face rising above the hills.


They were still a hundred yards from the New Rock [monolith] when the sound began.
It was barely audible, yet it stopped them dead, so that they stood paralyzed on the trail with

their jaws hanging slackly. A simple, maddeningly repetitious vibration, it pulsed out from the

crystal, and hpnotized all who came within its spell. For the first time--and the last, for

three million years--the sound of drumming was heard in Africa.


One curious, and perhaps quite unimportant feature of the block had led to endless argument. The

monolith was 11 feet high, and 1 1/4 by 5 feet in cross-section. When its dimensions were

checked with great care, they were found to be in exact ratio 1 to 4 to 9--the squares of the

first three integers.


Discovery was now deep into the wide-ranging system of moons, and the great planet itself was

less than a day ahead. The ship had long since passed the boundary set by outermost Phoebe,

moving backwards in a wildly eccentric orbit eight million miles from its primary. Ahead of it

now lay Japetus, Hyperion, Titan, Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, Mimas, Janus--and the rings



The great ellipse was perfectly symmetrical, straddling the equator of Japetus with its major

axis pointing toward the poles; and it was so sharp-edged that it almost looked as if someone

had carefully painted a huge white oval on the face of the little moon.
It was completely flat,

and Bowman wondered if it could be a lake of frozen liquid--though that would hardly account for

its startingly artificial appearance.


Perhaps, indeed, he was; for he had half convinced himself that the bright ellipse set against

the dark background of the satellite was a huge, empty eye, staring at him as he approached. It

was an eye without a pupil, for nowhere could he see anything to mar its perfect blankness.
Not until the ship was only fifty thousand miles out, and Japetus was twice as large as Earth's

familiar Moon, did he notice the tiny black dot at the exact center of the ellipse.


The light became brighter and bluer; it began to spread along the edge of the sun, whose blood-

red hues paled swiftly by comparison. It was almost, Bowman told himself, smiling at the

absurdity of the thought, as if he were watching sunrise--on a sun.
And so indeed he was. Above the burning horizon lifted something no larger than a star, but so

brilliant that the eye could not bear to look upon it. A mere point of blue-white radiance, like

an electric arc,
was moving at unbelievable speed across the face of the great sun.


Japetus is unique in the Solar System--you know this already of course, but like all astronomers

of the last three hundred years, you've probably given it little thought. So let me remind you

that Cassini--who discovered Japetus in 1671--also observed that it was six times brigher on one

side of its orbit than the other.


The still accelerating pod was merely shaking the burden that it dragged behind it. Poole's

gesture was an echo of Captain Ahab's when, lashed to the flanks of the white whale, his corpse

had beckoned the crew of the Pequod on their doom.


There was also a passage in there, but couldn't find again, about the hues of a star going from

red all the way to blue to ... VIOLET! Has our sun gotten there yet? I don't know, but it's

awfully damn close I'd say to just our naked eye, because you can't barely stand to look at it.

Look at Japetus (Iapetus)..just look at this damn thing!
[link to upload.wikimedia.org]

Like a freaking Walnut spaceship, or also either an open or closed eye, or also of course the

Death Star from Star Wars.

Now I'm kind of embarrassed that after all this time I failed to make the connection with Rings

like in the Lord of the Rings...to Saturn! Ugh, how could I miss this?

And now plus I've never read The Chronicles of Narnia (because I suppose the movies never did it

for me), but decided to give it a shot, since he was a contemporary of Tolkien at least. Boy was

I surprised at the very get-go:

From the Magician's Nephew: But what she noticed first was a bright red wooden tray with a

number of rings on it. They were in pairs--a yellow one and a green one together, then a little

space, and then another yellow one and another green one. They were no bigger than ordinary

rings, and no one could help noticing them because they were so bright. They were the most

beautifully shiny little things you can imagine.

Of course on the cover to The Chronicles is that fiery Lion, which I know C.S. Lewis attributes

to Christ, and has him die and be resurrected later (from what I recall watching one of the

Movies). This of course points to the Sun, it'll need to rest for a bit before coming back to

give us its life once again.
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