Friday, November 27, 2009

The Moons of Jupiter

On Thanksgiving eve I had the opportunity to view the moons of Jupiter. Ed, my brother-in-law, set up his high powered astronomical binoculars on the deck of the house that he and my Sister, Robbie, built here in Spring Creek, Nevada. With the aid of these binoculars we were able to view Jupiter in the southeastern sky along with its four largest moons: Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. The view was stunning as was the view of the half-moon presence of Earth's own moon, with detail of craters galore on its surface. These images have stayed in my mind over the days since we viewed them along with other objects in the night sky, including the "Seven Sisters" and Orion's "belt" which was just above the horizon to the northeast on that early evening.
The juxtaposition of seeing the moons first identified by Galileo with the recent anniversary of Darwin's great work, The Origin of Species, reminded me of the importance of scientific accomplishments for our lives today. This was reinforced yesterday as we ate our Thanksgiving meal and watched a football game on the wide screen high-definition television. We continue to evolve and explore the reach of our minds as humans. It is a wonder both to behold and to be part of.

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