Orionids


The Orionid meteor shower peaks tomorrow night; while not one of the most prolific displays, with an average of 20 meteors an hour, it remains one of the easiest to locate in a pre dawn sky. Almost everyone has heard of the constellation Orion; distinguished by the distinctive three star “belt”. Find Orion and you’ve found the Orionids. Debris from the tail of Halley’s Comet lights up our skies from constellation Orion shortly before sunrise being the best time to catch a “falling star”.

Image from NASA

This year Orionids are forced to compete with a Hunter’s Moon -also known as a Full Harvest Moon. Luckily they are reliable when it comes to bright fireballs. So if your weather cooperates, haul yourself out of bed and marvel at our universe. I guarantee you’ll start your day with a smile on your face.

http://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/

http://www.space.com/23267-orionid-meteor-shower-peaking-now.html

Pondering Geeks


Why is it that people who speak fluent Klingon, translate time into “star dates”, grow pasty in their solitary gaming dens; coaxed out into a world of actual human contact, only when fan expos or game releases demand a physical presence – are called “geeks”? While those who delve into ancient history, gaze at the stars, or question logistics of ancient mysteries are called “wing nuts” or conspiracy theorists?

I don’t speak a word of Klingon despite growing up on Star Trek, haven’t played a video game since Pac Man ruled the pub, and gawk in astonishment as costumed devotees line up for science fiction conventions. Before any one jumps down my pondering throat – I am speaking broad generalizations. All gamers couldn’t possibly aspire to learn Klingon or dress up for Comicon. Science Fiction and fantasy thrive on imagination, role play, escape, and wonder. It just so happens that we give the name “geek” to those people who take it most seriously.

The term “geek” evokes an instant understanding, dare I say explanation for behaviour. Free from truly negative connotations; a geek is harmless, perhaps a little lacking is social graces or self esteem, and thanks to Hollywood writers – capable of saving the day. “Geeks” are free to imagine, escape, and wonder – unfettered by a society willing to look beyond first impressions. Once labelled “geek”, behaviour is overlooked or dismissed as quirky – no harm, no foul.

I’m a geek of sorts. Living in a world of imagination and wonder – the problem rears its ugly head when my inner geek is classified as “wing nut”, or worst of all alien or conspiracy theorist. I ponder ancient accomplishments with wild abandon, don’t for one second think we are alone in the universe, scratch my head; yet not once have I entertained “ancient aliens” or conspiracies. Eyes start to roll at the mention of solar flares or near earth asteroids – all seemingly lumped in with my fondness for ancient cultures fascination with the constellation Orion.

My “geek” and Klingon geek may be like talking apples and oranges. Just the same; I want a warm fuzzy name for my geeky interests. I’m a lot more vocal than Klingon speaking dungeon masters, spend more time in science than fiction, and am quite certain my analogy will be lost on many a now irate gamer. Put your swords and magic potions away, I’m making a point.

Ponder the label geek and then conspiracy theorist. The first is passive, the later aggressive. Maybe if we came up with a socially acceptable generalization for people who marvel at the ancients or gaze at the stars, I wouldn’t be so pissed off when having to explain for the hundredth time – there are marvels beyond explanation shaping our universe. Not any God, not alien intervention – simply kick ass accomplishments that make me smile – not crazy, just a pondering geek.

What Is It About Orion?


With the exception of our moon, and perhaps the Big Dipper, I would bet that more people could locate Orion’s belt over any other feature in the night sky.  Bright and distinctive, Orion jumps out of the night; familiar and instantly recognizable,  a mystery despite its shining prominence.

In Greek mythology Orion was known as The Hunter. A giant, who hunted with an immense bronze club. His father was Poseidon,  who is said to have taught Orion to walk on water. Several accounts of Orion’s demise exist – in one he was slain by the sting of a scorpion, in another Artemis the Goddess of the moon and hunting fell in love with him. Her twin brother Apollo, enraged because love made her forget to light up the night sky, convinced her to shoot an arrow at what appeared to be a wave in the sea. Not knowing it was Orion out for a swim, the grief stricken Artemis put Orion’s body in the night sky to gaze at for all eternity.

Ancient Egyptians believed their Gods, Isis and Osiris came from the belt stars of Orion. They also believed that it was the place their pharaohs would travel to upon their deaths.

There isn’t a corner of the ancient world untouched by Orion; an integral part of creation myth from Africa, Europe, China, South America, to the American south west.

I’m pondering the universal fixation on a single nebula. The great pyramids of the Giza Plateau, Teotihuacan in Mexico, Karnak, Nabta Playa, Thornborough Henges, Hopi villages – all aligned with the constellation Orion. Ancient civilizations, worlds apart, yet united in a single belief that life originated within Orion.

Nabta Playa


Nabta Playa is an ancient wonder few people have ever heard about. Relegated to that shady  grey area inhabited by rogue archaeology, lateral thinkers, alien conspiracies, and atheists. Aliens aside, I happily claim my place in that club. Nabta Playa is another irrefutable example of civilization lost.

Archeology defines civilization as people who developed a written language. This pondering thinker begs to differ.

Located about 100 miles from Abu Simbal in Egypt, Napta Playa dates back to the Neolithic period. A place that featured a natural basin to collect water in the wet season of the vast Saharan wasteland; a gathering place for nomadic hunter gatherers, beginning around 11,000 years ago. Evidence of domesticated animals and ceramics are interesting, but not anything special to set this site apart from countless other ancient settlements.

Nabta Playa confounds because it is another ancient example of  Orion worshippers,  unexpected men of science who built astronomical observatories to mark the solstices. Credited as the oldest discovered astronomical site on earth, pre-dating Stonehenge by 1000 years; the stones align perfectly with the constellation Orion.

Ponder distant hunter gatherers capable of the organization, planning, and implementation  of such a feat.

Pondering Pyramids


Pondering pyramids is tricky business. The mere mention of pyramid mystery elicits rolled eyes and wise cracks.  Fortunately I have a thick skin and open mind. Its interesting how things we don’t understand or can’t explain somehow become quackery.

I honestly have no explanation for the pyramids or countless ancient mysteries that rattle in my head. It would be impossible to arrive at any conclusion based on what little we know. I don’t believe we’re alone in the universe, I’m certain there were civilizations long before our accepted timeline of history,  I don’t believe a ” sentient being ” is responsible for life on earth.

For these reasons I embrace ancient mysteries. Nothing less than awe describes the accomplishments of ancient cultures. The Great Pyramid at Giza is remarkable. It stands as the most perfectly aligned structure on earth to “true north”, within 3/60th of a degree. The curves built into the radius exactly match that of earth. We think of it as a 4 sided structure; it actually has 8, each side is slightly concave – a feature only evident from above on the spring and fall equinox when a shadow is cast. The 35th course of blocks is thicker than the rest and gives a mathematical figure equal to the precision of the equinoxes. Shafts built into the sides are perfectly aligned with Orion and Sirius. Click on the link below and ponder the incredible list of head scratchers associated with this structure.

http://www.crystalinks.com/gpstats.html

No one knows how many pyramids are on earth, they’re found in every corner of the world, and number in the thousands. As with so many ancient structures they defy explanation. Pondering their wonder doesn’t mean you believe in alien contact, the supernatural, or deny God; al it means is that you’re willing to entertain possibilities.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=great+pyramid+has+8+sides&view=detail&id=3CA89CC4865A4A5815D6BCF183FF6F6EE8D64BD1&first=1

Betelgeuse


Betelgeuse is a massive red giant star located in the Orion constellation. The three stars forming Orion’s belt make it one of the most distinguishable landmarks in the night sky. Find Orion’s belt, look up and slightly to the left; you are now pondering Betelgeuse, a dying star which could go “supernova” at any time. Betelgeuse is 640 light years from our planet, in cosmic terms just around the corner. Realistically far enough away to spare Earth when the inevitable happens.

A red giant is a star that has fused all its hydrogen supply, the core becomes compact and heats up enough to fuse helium into oxygen and carbon. The action of the core compacting is off set by an expansion of the outer regions which take on a red glow. Betelgeuse is huge; if you sat it on top of Earth it would cover an area all the way to Jupiter.

Science has no way to determine when Betelgeuse will run out of elements. The moment iron is produced it will collapse in a millisecond, splattering the universe with the building blocks to form new worlds. The universe has a circle of life, the seasons just happen to be millions of years long.

http://earthsky.org/brightest-stars/betelgeuse-will-explode-someday

Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse