Wow Whispering

14: How Far Is Far? The Skies Above with Diane A. Curran

February 26, 2019

How Far Is Far? Your Wow Whispering host Diane has been fascinated since childhood with all things skyward, and today we expand upon our new podcast series, The Skies Above.

In this series we honor two traditions which were originally united as one: Astrology and Astronomy. Both derive purpose from seeking to understand the nature of life through explorations beyond Earth. From symbolism to science, humanity want to know more, ever more, about our place in the cosmos.

Today, we’ve got the inventions that lets us leap ahead, as science has allowed us to observe, measure and calculate what’s in our skies, and then to travel beyond what the earliest scientists may ever have dreamed was possible.

Links to what we highlight in today’s podcast includes:

(1) Who invented the telescope?

Jacob Metius from The Netherlands started it all around 1600.

Hans Lipperhey also Dutch, was hired by the Hague to refine it.

Galileo Galilei, an Italian professor and experimenter at the University of Padua, was the third proponent of this new tool, and as a professor, spread the fame and refinements possible with this marvelous new tool, so he is often mis-credited with the original invention.

The 10 biggest telescopes in our modern world are listed here. The Gran Telescopio Canaria (CTC) in Spain is 34 feet (10.,4 meters) across, an amazing feat.

(2) How far is far? Consider the Light-Year.

The light-year is a measure of distance, not time. It is the total distance that a beam of light, moving in a straight line, travels in one year. To obtain an idea of the size of a light-year, take the circumference of the earth (24,900 miles), lay it out in a straight line, multiply the length of the line by 7.5 (the corresponding distance is one light-second), then place 31.6 million similar lines end to end. The resulting distance is almost 6 trillion (6,000,000,000,000) miles!

I learned in school that light travels at 186,000 mile per second, and that nothing travels faster than light. Do you believe that? Listen in for what we reveal about that statement in the podcast!

(3) Are “computers” people or machines?

A surprising answer to that lies at the heart of the fascinating movie “Hidden Figures” (2015, available on Apple’s iTunes and Amazon Prime), which tells the story of early NASA efforts and the pioneering contributions made by three gifted black women:

Katherine Goble Johnson, mathematician

Dorothy Vaughan, mathematician and supervisor

Mary Jackson, mathematician and engineer.

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Our Podcast PSA for this episode highlights two organizations.


Visit them online:

The National Council for Geocosmic Research, Inc., (NCGR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the standards of astrological education and research.

Along with its U.S. membership it includes a growing number of international members and sponsors 30+ local Chapters in 20 U.S. states and 4 countries. Its Special Interest Groups (SIGs) foster dialog on various astrological specialties and its online education and educational conference bring astrologers from around the world together to grow and to learn together. Their sister organization, NCGR-PAA, allows students to leverage their astrological education into professional certification, and they welcome new members.

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NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA's vision: We reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.

Next For NASA?

Thousands of people have been working around the world -- and off of it -- for decades, trying to answer some basic questions. What's out there? How do we get there? What will we find? What can we learn there, or learn just by trying to get there, that will make life better here on Earth?

Solar System and Beyond

NASA will add to its existing robotic fleet at the Red Planet with the InSight Mars lander set to study the planet’s interior.  The Mars 2020 rover will look for signs of past microbial life, gather samples for future return to Earth and investigate resources that could someday support astronauts.

Sending Humans Out into Solar System: Moon to Mars

International Space Station

And even more to come in the areas of Flight, Space tech and Earth studies!

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