A girl on a tram (or not)

So, I opened NightCafè and wrote “A girl on a tram” (don’t ask me why this image came to mind) and this came out. Really intriguing. It is not on the tram but in front, but in short we are there.

At this point I got carried away, and I insisted on changing the subject. I tried to write “A cat in a old house” and I produced this thing below. Sooo cute.

We are at a turning point, our way of using written content and even images (as you can see) will change radically in a few years.

Obviously we are not ready, but this is clear. After all, we never are.

The rhythm of the Moon

This is the problem. That we have gradually freed ourselves from the rhythms of the Earth, of the seasons, of the cosmos. Until we build a synthetic and precisely artificial life, with temporal scansions that are out of this world, which make us strange and tire us. Because we are in the world, we are made of stars, intertwined with universal matter. The cycles of the cosmos are the cycles of our body, the cycle of female fertility itself is in suggestive agreement with the cycle of revolution of the Moon around our planet.

That’s why I understand well what the musician Peter Gabriel writes in the notes accompanying the release of the song Panopticom , the first of the forthcoming i/o album 

‘Some of what I’m writing about this time is the idea that we seem incredibly capable of destroying the planet that gave us birth and that unless we find ways to reconnect ourselves to nature and to the natural world we are going to lose a lot. A simple way of thinking about where we fit in to all of this is looking up at the sky… and the moon has always drawn me to it.’

In fact, the phases of the Moon will also give the rhythm to the releases of the songs of this highly anticipated new album, by a musician who, together with Genesis, has really written the history of progressive rock, to then embark on a solo career characterized by great expressive originality. Specifically, a new song will be released every full moon. We have already started, in fact, with the song Panopticom , which was unveiled on the full moon of January 6, 2023.

For aficionados, another reason to wait for those days when the Moon is mostly present – ​​almost invasive – in our sky. For me astrophysicist, admirer of Peter’s art, a device that effectively connects two of my affective universes, music and astronomy.


A truly space beagle

The Artemis I mission was, as we know, a complete success, and is destined to represent a clear turning point, to symbolically open (because in fact is already underway) the new race towards the Moon.

Mission accomplished! Proud of himself 😉
Credits: NASA/Isaac Watson

Something that involves, as we well know, both the space agencies of different nations, as well as various commercial enterprises. Artemis I was unmanned, being dedicated to verifying the reliability of the Space Launch System, an orbital launch system designed by NASA and derived from that of the Space Shuttle. However, Snoopy was present on board, the zero-gravity indicator who in the photo wears a beautiful smile, just after being “unpacked” from his space carrier, on January 5th of this year.


The moon of Makemake

There is a whole world, besides the small cabotage of classical astronomy, that of a school textbook. And that’s exactly what fascinates me most. I’m curious about what is in the shade, what is not in the spotlight. We never, never or almost never think about. Because there is a world, indeed there are endless worlds, beyond that limited set of things that usually occupies our mind.

Makemake is exactly part of these endless worlds, almost always out of our heads. In size, it represents the second dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, so it is not exactly the latest addition, so to speak. The band is occupied by a very large number of objects: more than a thousand have already been discovered, but it is believed that there can be a hundred thousand objects with a diameter greater than 100 km. Think about it? One hundred thousand large stones that wander silently in a vast space. The largest of all is Pluto, as we know. What was once considered a planet in all respects, long derubricated to a dwarf planet.

Artistic image of Makemake and its moon  
Crediti: Alex H. Parker (Southwest Research Institute)

Makemake here it is, it comes immediately after Pluto. And the interesting thing is that it is still large enough to own a moon of its own. Called in code MK2, Makemake’s moon “reflects” sunlight from a dark surface like coal, thus resulting quite inefficient as a night light: if ever on Makemake someone was looking for romantic nights softly lit by the moon, he would be extremely disappointed.


Making a home in the fediverse?

One of the most interesting by-products of all the tussle that there was (and still is) following the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk , with all the mess also derived from the incongruous moves of the well-known billionaire, is that a lot of people have started, shall we say, to look around .

Moving from a bird to a mastodon? Who knows… but it might be the right time to experiment…

Yes, trying to figure out if there are viable alternatives to Twitter, for example. Indeed, it would be legitimate to doubt about the fate of a platform ended up in the hands of a person who, in just one day, fired half of the employees (or even more), moved in a random way , resulting in great confusion with the famous authentication blue checks, and finally – gem of the gems, probably – he entrusted an online survey with something as delicate as Donald Trump’s return to Twitter.

Incidentally, on the (slightly) favorable outcome of Donald’s return (who already said thanks but no) Elion hastened to affirm Vox Populi Vox Dei . Too bad, however, that this conclusion – at least in the case of Twitter – is highly questionable, as others have immediately highlighted .


A new creation

Certainly well known is the photo of the Hubble telescope that shows the imposing columns of gas and dust, site of intense star formation, inside the Eagle Nebula . Oh well, we have seen it a lot of times.

But now, it is as if what we have been accustomed to seeing for years, suddenly reveals an unexpected new depth. So that even the usual views take on a new meaning. As if it were a new universe, the one we are observing through the tools of the James Webb Telescope. New and very old, at the same time .

“The pillars of creations” from JWST
Image Credit: Science – NASAESACSASTScINIRCam
Processing – Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

At least, that’s the feeling I get from looking at this image. I mean, do you know something beautiful, really beautiful, but that by dint of seeing it and seeing it again bores you, doesn’t tell you anything anymore, doesn’t it speak to you?