Galaxies By Adrien Mauduit


Ponder astro-photographer Adrien Mauduit. Watch, read and follow all things Mauduit.

Mauduit embodies cosmic wonder, his work imparts unbridled joy and curiosity.

https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/09/timelapse-video-by-adrien-mauduit/

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Pondering 100 Years


This ponder is dedicated to my dear friend and co-worker Tony. A true gentleman, salt of the earth and kind soul whose thoughtful tribute to the 100th anniversary of SS Princess Sophia’s tragic demise touched my heart.

 

The SS Princess Sophia, before her tragic end. (Alaska State Library, Sadlier-Olsen Family Collection)

http://princesssophia.org/

On the 100th anniversary of armistice take a moment to ponder the 100th anniversary of Princess Sophia, a maritime disaster worth remembering. Below, Tony’s letter to his Princess line shipmates….

One hundred years ago today, in the early morning hours of October 24th 1918 the CPR’s Princess Sophia ran aground on Vanderbilt Reef in Lynn Canal,  about 60 miles south of Skagway, Alaska, bound for Juneau and points south   The ship had left Skagway with a full load of ‘end of season’ passengers at 10 pm, three hours late.   It was one of the last two sailings southbound before winter set in; Princess Alice was on her way north and would be just about the last chance to travel south.  About 400 people were waiting in Skagway, many of them seasonal workers and crews from the paddle wheelers on the interior lakes.   There was excitement building over rumours of an end to the Great War but a number of the passengers and crew members were already sick with the ‘flu, the influenza epidemic which would kill at least 20 million people worldwide, 30 to 50,000 Canadians.

The weather deteriorated soon after departure and at the time of the grounding the Sophia was travelling at 12 – 14 knots through a snowstorm with a 50 mph tailwind.  Navigation was conducted by sounding the ship’s whistle and calculating the distance from the steep cliff sides of the channel which was about 8 miles wide at that point.  The vessel veered off course,  too far to the west and struck the reef with so much force that it was driven almost its entire length high onto the reef but settled level.  There was a radio on board and Captain Locke managed to alert both Skagway and Juneau.

The ship seemed securely wedged and not too much damage was visible to the hull. There seemed to be no immediate danger.  A decision was made wait for moderation in the weather before allowing rescue attempts from the several small vessels which had arrived to help.  At low tide it was not possible to launch the lifeboats because of the surrounding rocks and even at high tide it was thought that they would be dashed against the rocks before they could clear away.  For forty hours the ship remained on the reef awaiting the forecast improvement in the weather.   An all out rescue effort was planned for high tide on the 26th but towards the evening of the 25th fresh high winds and pounding seas moved the stern of the vessel completely around and it began to slide into deeper water.   Princess Sophia sank late on October 25th, with the loss of all the passengers and crew, about 340 souls in all.  Many bodies were found trapped inside the vessel and others were still being found in the water up to eight miles away for weeks after.  Princess Alice carried many of the bodies back to Vancouver and arrived on November 11th,  Armistice Day.  The ship anchored off shore and did not enter the port until the next day.   The arrival almost went unnoticed amid the great celebrations surrounding Armistice Day and its announcement only appeared on an inside page of the newspaper.  Despite being the biggest maritime disaster in Alaska’s history the event was quickly almost forgotten.  Unlike the great Titanic disaster, there were no survivors of the Princess Sophia sinking to tell their stories.

The attached photo is of Princess Sophia arriving in Vancouver sometime between 1914 / 1918.  The resolution is high enough that if you zoom in you can clearly see some stewards on the foredeck …..   white shirts and bow ties!  Perhaps they were looking out for wives and girlfriends on the dock.  Many soldiers are visible and there seem to be officers waiting dockside as well as a band playing just above the foredeck.    Also attached a picture of some crew members,  stewards again I think, on board before the disaster.  I wonder what the tips were like in those days.    The route the ships took back then was the same as the Princess Patricia in the 1970s,   the same ports in a different order.    It is a sobering thought to think that all of us passed that same reef many, many times,  northbound and southbound and always in darkness.   Luckily we had the benefit of radar,  depth sounders  …..   and Angus Twatt often at the helm,  a fine seaman from the Orkney Islands!

This afternoon at Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver the B.C. Maritime Museum installed a plaque commemorating seven O’Brien family members lost on Princess Sophia.

https://www.vicnews.com/news/museum-marks-100th-anniversary-of-the-unknown-titanic-of-the-west-coast/

In Remembrance


The Immortal Jukebox

In 1914 they came from the hamlets and the villages and the towns and the cities.

They came from the hills and the mountains and the valleys.

Farmers and miners.

Teachers and doctors.

White, Brown and Black.

They  marched away from Home with smiles on their faces.

They knew they would be Home again soon.

Today it is exactly 100 years since the guns fell silent ending World War One.

The emotional, spiritual, pyschic and cultural cost of such a war is beyond all human calculation.

A cataclysm shattering hearts and minds.

Shattering philosophies and faiths.

Shattering nations and societies.

Shattering hopes and dreams.

Shattering comfortable certainties..

The toll in terms of deaths and casualties we can, in awe, to some extent number.

From Australia : Lieutenant Joseph Balfe from Brunswick aged 25 and more than 62, 000 of his comrades.

From Canada : Private Percy Bark aged 18 and…

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Harvard Research Ignites Alien Probe Frenzy


In October 2017 astronomers at Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii, spotted a mysterious fast moving cigar shaped object. They named it Oumuamua, Hawaiian for “messenger from afar arriving first” or “scout”.

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Artist’s impression of the first interstellar asteroid/comet, “Oumuamua”. This unique object was discovered on 19 October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

For 3 months the roughly 400 metre long object blazed through our inner solar system at a staggering 26 kilometres per second. Mystified astronomers didn’t know what to make of Oumuamua, Without a debris trail it couldn’t be a comet, void of discernible trajectory it wasn’t an asteroid. Enter the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in a new paper submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters, researchers dangle the possibility Oumuamua is a “lightsail of artificial origin”.

Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization,” the paper’s authors wrote.

The object’s “excess acceleration” when it traveled through our solar system and its peculiar trajectory distinguishes it from comets and asteroids, the researchers explained.

For example, the object’s movement is not determined by the gravitational pull of the sun or planets, as is the case with asteroids. Scientists have also been unable to concretely identify it as a comet because it lacks a tail or “coma” around it.

To explain its movement, the report’s authors, Abraham Loeb, a professor and chair of astronomy, and Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral fellow, argue that Oumuamua’s non-gravitational acceleration may be explained by solar radiation pressure.”

Solar radiation pressure is key to Harvard’s lightsail hypothesis.

If radiation pressure is the accelerating force, then Oumuamua represents a new class of thin interstellar material, either produced naturally, through a yet unknown process… or of an artificial origin,” the authors wrote.

If the interstellar object is as thin as astronomers estimate it to be, Loeb and Bialy suggest it could be a light sail, which is conceived as able to harness light or solar energy from the sun to propel a spacecraft.”

If Oumuamua is a lightsail floating in interstellar space, it could have been ejected from a planetary system as “space debris” from equipment that is no longer operational.

“This would account for the various anomalies of Oumuamua, such as the unusual geometry inferred from its light-curve, its low thermal emission, suggesting high reflectivity, and its deviation from a Keplerian orbit without any sign of a cometary tail or spin-up torques,” the paper states.

Although it’s “extremely thin,” the researchers said the object could survive interstellar travel over galactic distances and withstand collisions with gas and dust grains.

Bold, italic content above credited to Jackie Dunham,  CTV linked below –

https://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/mysterious-cigar-shaped-interstellar-object-may-be-alien-spacecraft-harvard-researchers-1.4165513

In a world of televised ancient alien theory, blog fueled extraterrestrial existence and self proclaimed definitive authority on cosmic visitors, it’s tempting to jump on the Harvard said so bandwagon. Not so fast people! Settle down, look at the facts and understand Harvard isn’t declaring Oumuamua an alien probe. It is saying there’s a lot we don’t understand and wouldn’t it be cool if this were the case. Either way, we’re talking about it and that’s good enough for me.

 

Ponder Words Of A Good Christian


This question appeared in my Quora feed – “Why do many atheists attack and offend Christians?” Gone are the days when I might have taken issue, trolls will fish, but I won’t bite. Can’t say why I hesitated, all I know is Connor Cuevo’s answer filled the screen – https://www.quora.com/profile/Connor-Cuevo

Connor Cuevo describes himself as a good Christian, this atheist defines him as a decent human being. Ponder the words of a good Christian –

I’m a Christian here. I also know many atheists.

Have atheists ever scoffed at us when we helped the poor and downtrodden in their affliction?

Did they mock us when we cried, asked the Lord for forgiveness, and resolved to be better people?

Were they spiteful when we were generous with friends and strangers?

Do they attack us when we forgive someone who has wronged us?

Are they offensive when we act with humility, giving glory to God?

When we sought to bring peace, or tend to the sick, or feed the hungry, or visit the imprisoned, or bury the dead, were they hostile?

I have never known an atheist to do any of these things.

I have known atheists to be critical of us, typically when we:

Hoard wealth in our churches.

Justify our sinful behavior.

Shut out and oppress other groups of people.

Lust for blood with impunity.

Boast and act ostentatiously.

Do little or nothing to combat structural violence , systemic poverty or rampant illness.

Be guilty of all these things and still try to impose our “wisdom” on others.

If you are a good Christian, you will probably never get any trouble from atheists. You may even get praise.

In all honesty, I have found that atheists are the most effective force to guide, counsel and affirm Christian values ever devised!

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