Friday, April 25, 2008

Seder, Saturn and Scopes

We had a wonderful Seder this year with 18 people and only one telescope. I turned it’s mirror on Saturn and invited all who were interested outside to planet-gaze. The responses were gratifying. “No! That’s not real! You painted it on!” One clever kid put his hand in front of the scope to make sure the image disappeared, and that I hadn’t just cleverly mounted a projector inside.

"It's MOVING!"
"Well, it is, but not for the reason you think it is. It's the rotation of the Earth that's moving the telescope."
"No! Get out!. Really? That is so cool"

What is it about gazing through a telescope at a tiny image of an object that has been mapped, landed on, orbited around, and has posed for great imaging probes, yielding breathtakingly detailed pictures, that make it still a thrill to view with your own eye. It’s a truly right-brained activity, actually, when you think about it (with your left brain!)