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The Original Valentine
Published 2/14/2024 in Holy MOLY!
Today is Saint Valentine’s Day - a day filled with cards, candy, and the color pink. Have you ever wondered about the origins of this holiday?  Well, Saint Valentine was a real person. There is a lot of lore and uncertainty around what he actually did in his life but we have some events accounted for.  Saint Valentine was a priest living in the later 200s AD in Rome. At that time, the...read more ❯
The First Stars
Published 2/13/2024 in Star Struck
Standing under a starry sky on Earth, the variety we see among those distant points of light is mostly limited to their brightness. If we peer closely, we can see some color variation as well. In the winter constellation of Orion, the diagonally opposed Betelgeuse and Rigel are well known for their reddish and bluish colors respectively. There are many, many ways to classify stars, but we...read more ❯
A Consequential Star
Published 2/11/2024 in Star Struck
What is the most important star in the universe? For us here on Earth, that is clearly Sol, the Sun, our own personal star. Without its warmth and light, life on Earth would not be possible. But what star—a single star—is most responsible for altering and expanding our concept of the universe? That would be an inconspicuous star invisible to the naked eye in the Andromeda Galaxy with...read more ❯
A Crater, a Rocket Designer, and a Sci-Fi TV Show
Published 2/10/2024 in Star Struck
A MARTIAN CRATER Korolev Crater on Mars is located in the far north of that planet, in the low plains that surround the northern polar regions. Its site is marked by a red star at the upper left of the topographic map below. The colors here represent elevation above or below the mean, and blue areas are well below that mean. Mars’s northern plains are thought to be the site of a water...read more ❯
Year of the Dragon
Published 2/7/2024 in Holy MOLY!
On February 10th this year, many cultures around the world will celebrate the Lunar New Year. Individuals in China, South Korea, Vietnam, and several other countries (including the United States) will come together with their families to observe this wonderful holiday. They will eat symbolic dishes— pork dumplings, noodles, and whole fish to name a few—and many will exchange red envelopes...read more ❯
Being Still
Published 1/31/2024 in Holy MOLY!
Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher and credited author of the Tao Te Ching, once said, “Where there is silence, one finds the anchor of the universe.” I also believe in the power of silence, the strength of stillness. In fact, some of my most spiritual experiences have happened during the silence and stillness of Quaker meetings and in meditation with friends who value Zen Buddhism.  I...read more ❯
Everything Is a First
Published 1/24/2024 in Holy MOLY!
Earlier this week after dinner, my son randomly came up to my wife and me to share his new motto. He said he’d been thinking about things and the motto kept popping up in his head. His new motto, he said, was, “Everything is a first, so make the best of it.”  We asked him to tell us more about this motto and he went on to say that everything we do is done for the first time because it is...read more ❯
You Are More Than Enough
Published 1/10/2024 in Holy MOLY!
Over winter break my family and I took a quick last minute and somewhat unplanned trip up to Washington, DC. We thought it would be fun to take our young boys to a handful of museums and to see some of the sites. Our first planned adventure was the National Air and Space Museum, which quite frankly blew my children's minds.  Although, we might have spent more time wandering the gift shop than we...read more ❯
A Year End Benediction
Published 12/13/2023 in Holy MOLY!
As this year draws to a close, may you give thanks for the gifts that it brought, the struggles you overcame, the joys you celebrated, and the wonders you saw. As the inevitable rush of the holiday season approaches, may you find moments to slow down, pause, sit back, and take a few deep breaths to remember the past year, to honor all that you accomplished, and to set in your memory your...read more ❯
Dark Skies
Published 12/12/2023 in Star Struck
When I would take my astronomy students to Lynchburg College’s (now the University of Lynchburg) Belk Observatory in rural Bedford County, Virginia, I was surprised at how many of them had never seen the Milky Way. Growing up in urban environments as they did, the moon and fifteen or twenty of the brightest stars were all their skies offered them. But how dark is really dark? Even at the...read more ❯
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