Category: Xtra Astronomy Stuff

From the setting of the sun to its rising…

…”the name of the Lord is to be praised!” Psalm 113:3

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Okay, I know I got my settings and risings mixed up but that’s because we found extra opportunity this week to praise the name of the Lord during the night. So instead of giving you a sunset (or sunrise) of the week picture, you’re getting a slide show (compliments of NASA) of some images from within Cygnus, the Swan constellation. We’re spending a lot of time looking at Cygnus the next couple weeks because we are participating in the Great World Wide Star Count. This means making a report on the number of stars we can see within the Cygnus constellation on any given night between October 5 and 19. You can participate in the star count too, by clicking on the following link:starcount

Also, congratulations to Titus and Joel who can now identify 8 of these constellations by sight in the night sky! A quarter of the way toward our goal!

Friday’s Factoid 3 (by Titus and Joel)

This week we learned about the sun and other giant stars like Betelgeuse which is twice the size of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. But the biggest star they’ve found is the Big Dog star. Canis Majoris is 7 quadrillion times bigger then earth. Last night Mom woke me up and we went out by the ocean where we could see millions of stars. Jupiter was shining very bright and we saw 4 of the giant stars around it. We saw Betelgeuse, Rigel, Sirius and Aldebaran. This video shows how big some of the stars are. by Titus

All of these stars make noises but we can’t hear them because sound doesn’t travel in space. But God can hear them. You can listen, too, on this video. by Joel

Teacher’s Two-Cents (by Mom)
How cool that our hymn this week mentioned the song of the stars!
“Forever singing as they shine, ‘The hand that made us is divine!”
I’ve added a new page to the top of the site called “Hooray for Hymns.” I’ve requested folks to add their own favorite hymns to the list we started by leaving a comment. Let’s join in the celestial chorus of praise to our Lord!

God and the Astronomers


I just finished a great book by Robert Jastrow (1925-2008), the founder and former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute and a self-avowed agnostic. In “God and the Astronomers,” Jastrow describes the scientific discoveries and the men who made them leading up to the development of the Big Bang theory. What was surprising was how begrudgingly scientists like Albert Einstein came to embrace this theory because it pointed to a single beginning of the cosmos. Jastrow finds the reactions of others in the scientific community fascinating because of the emotional ring to them.

He suggests that “…scientists cannot bear the thought of a natural phenomenon which cannot be explained.”

“There is a kind of religion in science,” Jastrow observes, and “this religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control.”

Jastrow continues, “If he really examined the implications, he would be traumatized. As usual when faced with trauma, the mind reacts by ignoring the implications –in science this is known as ‘refusing to speculate’–or trivializing the origin of the world by calling it the Big Bang, as if the Universe were a firecracker.”

Science is left with a huge problem. If they have in fact “proven that the Universe exploded into being at a certain moment,” they are now faced with the question, “What cause produced this effect?…And science cannot answer these questions…The scientist’s pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation…[and] the barrier to further progress seems insurmountable.”

Jastrow concludes that “at this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Just a few quotes to inspire you to pick up a great book and read it!
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