Friday, November 11, 2011

Le Verrier's planet - Neptune - El Mistico

We are very blessed in our little Village as we can wander out into the night and see a dazzling set of stars and planets without a lot of city-type lights to hurt the view. Venus is very easy to spot as is Mars and Jupiter - Saturn a bit rarer and the twins of Uranus and Neptune - well we can't see them or if we could we probably wouldn't know it.
About the time Greenport came into being in some sort of first-formal way - and a hundred years before we really organized in 1838, a math guy named Le Verrier figured that there was a planet Neptune.  He calculated that it had some gravity to it and it made the other planets wobble a bit and then figured out where to look. Amazing.
We could only read about Neptune when we were kids. What pictures there were showed a fuzzy little ball of light spinning somewhere out there and it never rose or set like Venus or Mars or imposed with a red spot like Jupiter or was ringed like Saturn.

Now we find that this is a wonderous object of regard in our solar system with a dark spot of storms like Jupiters red spot and a faint set of rings like Saturn. It must be an amazing place - one that we will never visit except in our mind's eye.

We just wonder about it some and having something out there that we know about in some scientific way and yet we will never lay eyes on it without some lens or camera.  I suppose those who visited Atlantis and described it before it sank into the sea carried much the same type of message - describing the wonders of the city - but then telling the listener that "unfortunately you can't see it...".   Neptune is such a teaser.  One for the bucket list.

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