The first round of Smithsonian’s Summer Showdown ends today! Did you vote for our Galileo letter yet? Not any ordinary letter, he describes a water-clock driven by a mysterious magnetic force and references his house arrest and the Inquisition’s restrictions on his movements and publications. Obviously it is the Most Seriously Amazing history object in the showdown.
And speaking of Galileo - the gif above is based on an illustration of the Pleiades in The Starry Messenger (Sidereus Nuncius). This year (2015) should be a great viewing of the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks on August 13th, just before the new moon!
The Seven Sisters, also called the Pleiades or M45, is an open star cluster located about 400 light years away towards the constellation Taurus. It is about 13 light years across and is one of the brightest and closest star clusters to us.
The cluster contains over 3000 stars, most of which are considered middle aged. Surrounding the brighter stars are reflection nebulae, gas and dust reflecting the light from the stars. Also buried in the cluster are faint, low mass brown dwarf stars.
So, my snake has a middle name. His full name is Pleiades Andromedus. I only call him that when he’s in trouble and I yelled it around 40 times tonight. So, y'all wanna hear a story about a dumbass snake? Like, I love my noodle child, but this is ridiculous.
Tonight I saw that Pleiades had pooped in his enclosure, so like a good owner, I go to grab a roll of paper towels to clean it up.
Well, Pleiades loves paper towel tubes more than mice or probably me, so upon seeing the tube, he decided he needed to hide in it. Nevermind that the tube was a foot away from him and I was still holding the FULL roll of paper towels while he was wrapped around my other hand. Nope, with an absolutely astonishing speed he zoops himself right into the tube. Like he was a damn piece of spaghetti being slurped up by an enthusiastic Italian. In less than five seconds his ENTIRE body is wrapped tightly into the tube.
This picture doesn’t do it justice, this was the halfway point after I’d tried to pull him out with no luck. Cue calling my reptile keeper friend to help me and laughing so hard I was in tears.
How did I get him out? Well I booped him on the snoot and he fell right out into my hand.
“Before you came into this reality, you applied for a slice of time—the moment you were born. At the precise time of your birth, the stars, planets, moon, and sun were in a specific configuration. When you emerged from your mother’s womb, the energy from the stars and planets imprinted your flesh, no matter where you were, because the energy was touching Earth at that time as well. Within that moment were written certain probabilities, specific opportunities, and distinct challenges. The language of the stars explains your world in a way that is helpful for you to understand the bigger picture. Everything is in geometric relationship to everything else, creating energetic patterns. You yourself selected a moment and a lineage, a bloodline that you were born to, to give you the opportunities that you assessed would be ideal for you to experience in this lifetime. You determined these experiences according to what you needed to learn, based on what you had created, will create, and are creating simultaneously in other places.
The heavens speak to you of your own majestic splendor, playing out their story through you. The planets broadcast their life force as electromagnetic waves that create cycles within which significant achievements, designed as challenges and victories, define specific epochs or ages. These cycles, if understood, will automatically benefit the planet. The cycles have been ignored and trivialized to keep you in ignorance, causing you to miss the tremendous self-realization that accompanies the meaning of life. One of the ways the teachings of the cycles became lost was through the disputing and refuting of astrology. You have been told that astrology is a meaningless study, when in actuality astrology and astronomy are the languages of the universe. In its truest form, knowledge of the heavens translates the macrocosm into the microcosm, acknowledging you within a significant slice of existence.”
This image shows a dark interstellar cloud ravaged by the passage of Merope, one of the brightest stars in the Pleiades star cluster. Just as a torch beam bounces off the wall of a cave, the star is reflecting light from the surface of pitch-black clouds of cold gas laced with dust. As the nebula approaches Merope, the strong starlight shining on the dust decelerates the dust particles. The nebula is drifting through the cluster at a relative speed of roughly 11 kilometres per second.
The Hubble Space Telescope has caught the eerie, wispy tendrils of a dark interstellar cloud being destroyed by the passage of one of the brightest stars in the Pleiades star cluster. Like a flashlight beam shining off the wall of a cave, the star is reflecting light off the surface of pitch black clouds of cold gas laced with dust. These are called reflection nebulae.