Archive for the ‘Space’ category

Houdini, Meteorites, and Airbursts: Oh My

January 9, 2015

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~Dr. Boslough and Felicia~


I found myself wondering how many people with a scientific Ph.D. surrounded me in a room of at least 500 people tonight. It is so much more interesting for me to spend the night learning, writing or crafting then doing something completely mindless. I learned so much from the lecture of Dr. Mark Boslough, a physicist and New Mexico’s “expert on planetary impacts and global catastrophes.”

Dr. Boslough’s lecture was titled “2013 Chelyabinsk (Russian) Meteorite and Other Stories of Destructive Impacts and Airbursts on Earth.” It was very interesting and we walked out in amazement. On Valentine’s Day here in the United States in 2013, an asteroid “descended at about 19 kilometers per second exploding at high altitude in a momentary flash brighten than the sun and generating a shock wave that injured over a thousand people.” It was both scary and amazing to learn about because these things can be “more damaging than a nuclear explosion” and can generate more than enough heat (1800°C) to literally melt the Earth.

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~Yes...I took notes and looked at stars.~

The lecture was sponsored by the New Mexico Academy of Science, which was founded in 1902. The academy was proud to host an event for Dr. Boslough who received his doctorate from CalTech. What did I find most interesting? Learning about the geologic origins of Libyan desert glass was rather cool. It was awesome to find out that King Tutankhamun had a chest plate which featured a scarab beetle carved from this desert glass. What a beautiful piece!!

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~King Tut's breast plate with a scarab beetle carved from Libyan desert glass.~

Dr. Boslough has been featured on BBC, NOVA, PBS, and the Discovery and National Geography Channels. He even had an asteroid named after him (73520 Boslough, 2003 MB1). Super cool for a man who focused his career on geophysics right? He was very happy to report (he seemed star struck, but who could blame him) about his recent presentation in the Canary Islands with the notorious Stephen Hawking. Dr. Boslough showed us a piece of a meteorite that Hawking felt there. It seemed like he wanted to say “I’ll never wash this thing!”

Of course I had a question at the end… “What software do you use to render models and create simulations?” He stumbled around, but finally said they use Houdini. He also knew all about metadata!!! At first I thought he was joking by saying he used Houdini, because he was kind of comedic. At the end, Gail leaned over and whispered in my ear… “Have you heard of Houdini?” I told her no, but that I would look it up. I checked it out tonight and the physicist wasn’t kidding. Houdini is real. It runs in a Windows based system and is a 3D animation application software developed by Side Effects Software of Toronto. Maybe that was the other thing I found most interesting!

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You

September 20, 2014

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Electric shock right through
my spine when teeth and
shoulder meet.

A current made from a comet’s
tail travels through breasts
into my feet.

You bring down sparks with
hands like Zeus in my open,
starry sky.

Lightening strike. My lips are
yours. Cross my heart and
hope to die.

Typhon…yes~ You. You fence
me in like father monster of
the Greeks.

With just one touch, we’re on
our knees. A kiss of death will
make you weak.

Shivering still. Whisper a sign.
You are a symbol of the night.

Black hole cloak sent from the
Gods to keep you from the light.

Electric shocks all through
my heart when lips and
shoulder meet.

This current lives within my
soul, traveling through my
mind into my feet.

by Felicia Lujan
9.20.2014

Exhausted

August 17, 2014

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One could never
be *exhausted* by
the allure of stars…
only revitalized by
each enchanting
flicker.

by Felicia Lujan
8.17.2014
~★~

Ain’t that a Biaaa deGrasse?

July 29, 2014

Tonight’s digital composite is a special self portrait. The composite features: the colorless ghost of me; a special algorithm; a black hole; and a special awakening quote by the man I love…Neil deGrasse Tyson. Astrophysicists touch heaven! Nothing special.

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***Digital composite by Felicia***

THERE ~★~

June 12, 2014

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★……….★……….★
Take me there…
To the place where stars
uncross just to collide.
Night sky unwrapped
where heavens hide.
★……….★……….★
Take me there…
To eternity in moon
kissed breath.
Planets off course
despite death.
★……….★……….★
Take me there…
To wish upon a star
one snowy night.
Flakes fall to Earth
as you hold me tight.
★……….★……….★
Take me there…
To the place where stars
uncross just to collide.
Night sky unwrapped
where heavens hide.
★……….★……….★
…..

..
by Felicia Lujan
June 12, 2013

✨Planetary✨: My New Theme

January 15, 2014

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My new header and gravatar designs incorporate a photograph taken on my last visit to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. I love that museum!! It is an amazing place. Check out one of my older posts “A Close Journey” because it mentions the STARTUP Exhibit. I said it “never fails to intrigue me. I am always amazed by anything remotely technological. The artifacts are beautiful, and provide unique insight into the minds of Paul Allen, Bill Gates, hackers, and other MIT pioneers.” True love indeed. True love!!

Galileo the Heretic: Science and Scripture

December 30, 2013

Yesterday I watched a movie I checked out at the LaFarge Library about Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). The movie is based on the book Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel and is titled Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens. I came away feeling so sad for this unbelievable man. He was constantly at odds with religious officials with regard to his pursuit of knowledge, still he remained a pious and obedient Catholic.

Galileo was considered a heretic in his day. For at least three decades he risked his life to study our universe. He was actually a hero of knowledge who continues to inspire contemporary scientists and freethinkers. The dictionary defines a heretic as a “person believing in or practicing religious heresy.” Was he really a “nonconformist,” a “nonbeliever,” a “pagan,” or a “heathen?” Maybe some think he was?

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During the 17th century and even later, freethinking was really frowned upon. You could be burned at the stake for partaking in scientific, mathematical, and other studies! Galileo lived in a time when a book of banned books was kept. It makes me sad. I have to be thankful that I am alive today. I can express my opinions openly. My century is far from perfect, but I am in a much better place than Galileo was in relation to my consumption and sharing of knowledge.

The movie I watched was perfectly titled Galileo’s Battle for the Heavens. I found myself wondering if God could really frown on the discoveries made by Galileo? Though he was basically haunted by the Holy Office for several decades, he never turned his back on the church and at times was even apologetic for being smart. The movie touched on: his career as a professor/mathematician at the University of Pisa (1589); his explanation of the tides (1595); his experimentation with a pendulum/natural accelerated motion and balls/inclined planes (1602-1604); his observations and sketches of the lunar craters and mountains of the moon (1609); a demonstration of one of his telescopes (1609); his discovery of the four moons of Jupiter (1610); and his research on sunspots (1612).

The secret archive of the Vatican dates back to 1612. I realized how close this was to some of the most important discoveries made by Galileo when I looked back at a post I wrote last year. In 2012, I wrote about the religious archive and the trial documents of Galileo in a post titled 400 Year Old Archive: Secrets of the Vatican. At that time, romereports.com stated that the Vatican secret archive contains 50 miles of shelving. Now I am curious how much of those documents are related to Galileo’s studies of the heavens?

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~~~~~~~~~~
Galileo facing the Roman
Catholic Inquisition in a
painting by Cristiano Banti
(1857).

~~~~~~~~~~

For at least 30 years, the Holy Office/Inquisition had a firm hold on one of the most intelligent men to ever walk the Earth. From 1611 until his death in 1642, poor Galileo was muffled by religious officials. Why? It is hard for me to understand and frankly, it makes me feel embarrassed to be Catholic. I think religious groups still suppress knowledge to some extent for if we have wings, we can fly. I can only imagine what his unhindered soul could have become?

By 1616, the Inquisition believed Galileo’s theory that the sun centered the universe was “absurd in philosophy and formally heretical.” He was summoned to Rome by Urban VIII in 1632 and was told that if he didn’t appear he would be “arrested and brought to Rome in chains.” In April of 1633, the formalities of the Inquisition were in full force and the “father of science” was detained by the Inquisition for close to 20 days. At the end of that detainment, Urban VIII decided that Galileo would face imprisonment for an undeclared amount of time. He was threatened with torture, and eventually sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life.

It is unbelievable that Galileo was forced to endure physical suffering while he was under house arrest!! In 1634, the genius was suffering from the pain of a hernia and asked the Holy Office for permission to leave his home to visit a doctor in Florence. His request was denied and he was told that if he asked again, he would be imprisoned once again. Even after he went completely blind in 1638, the Inquisition did not return Galileo’s freedom. He was granted permission to attend church on Catholic holidays if he didn’t speak to anyone. So sad.

At 77 years old, Galileo became seriously ill. The year was 1641 and a heroically smart man was silenced and blind. He died in 1642. With his death came the loss of a heavenly mind. I believe in God. I believe I am a good person. I believe in Heaven. I find it really hard to believe that God saw it right to prosecute a man who only treasured knowledge. I understand that his pursuit of scientific knowledge was contradicting scripture, still I find it hard to believe that my God accepted the things which were done to Galileo. Maybe I will never understand??

**Additional reference used~ The Galileo Project/Galileo Timeline/Rice University.


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