Who Is Gilgamesh?

“The Epic of Gilgamesh” is one of the oldest fictional stories known. Archaeologists discovered it on twelve stone tablets which were written over 5,000 years ago! Only part of the tablets have been translated. The story takes place in the Sumerian city, Urek, when Gilgamesh was king. The book is filled to the brim with adventures, gods and mythical creatures. Some of the things said in the book are similar to what’s said in the Bible. Abrahm mentioned in the Bible lived in the City of Urek. The “Epic of Gilgamesh” speaks of a “great flood” sent from the gods that destroys all but one man is mentioned. It seems like facts of the actual events where repeated many times and spread across many cultures in the ancient world even before Christianity. Even though the story is make-believe, “The Epic of Gilgamsesh” is an interesting, fun-to-read reflection of the Sumerian’s and their culture.

One of the stories told in the “Epic of Gilgamesh” is the story about King Gilgamesh of  Urek, desired to live forever. The king traveled through mountains and deserts and finally found out that the plant he was looking for was in the ocean. The Euphrates River would take him to the ocean, so he dived in with no questions asked. Eventually; as the rough river carried him swiftly, he spotted the glowing plant from afar. As Gilgamesh drifted by, he grabbed the glowing plant. Even though it was covered in thorns, he held on for dear life.  If Gilgamesh let go, he’d be sucked into the depths of the “Sea of Death” and If he survived, he’d get to live forever. After a while of hanging on and just when he thought all was lost, the plant loosened up. Gilgamesh was able to take the plant and swim to the surface.


September 30, 2015 Mercury at Inferior Solar Conjunction

What the heck does that mean?

Basically, this means that Mercury will be at the closest point to the sun as it passes between the Sun and the Earth.  When the moon does this it is a solar eclipse.  However Mercury is much farther away is appears much smaller than the moon, so what that means instead of an eclipse… mercury will get lost in the suns glare for a couple of weeks.

“Mercury will also pass perigee – the time when it is closest to the Earth – within a few days of the same time, since it will lie on exactly the same side of the Sun as the Earth in the Solar System.”

“Mercury’s reaching inferior conjunction marks the end of its apparition (appearance) in the evening sky and its transition to become a morning object over the next few weeks”  this means that  when Mercury reappears in a few weeks… it will now appear in the morning sky not the night sky as it has for about the six months..  Stay tuned for pictures when it re-appears in the morning in a few weeks.

This makes me ask myself, “Why do scholars use such big words to describe something when the simpler explanation is better? Are they speaking in code or does it have something to do with the Tower of Babel?”



Astronomy Open Houses at University of Maryland

Today my Mom and I found out that the University of Maryland, which is near us,  offers open houses and guest speakers.  What a great way to learn what’s going in the astronomy world.

In the next ten days they will be hosting these open house events. (taken from   http://www.astro.umd.edu/

Series: Astronomy Colloquium
Location: CSS 2400  Speaker: Dr. Kerry Ann O’Meara (University of Maryland)
Title: Advancing Graduate Student Agency: The Role of Departments, Students, and Faculty
Date: Wednesday 30-Sep-2015 at 16:05-17:00 (4:05-5:00 pm)

Series: Planetary Astronomy Late-afternoon Seminar
Location: CSS 1255
Speaker: Dr. Ottaviano Ruesch (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Title: “Looking back at Vesta and spiraling down into Ceres”
Date: Thursday 01-Oct-2015 at 14:00-15:00

Series: BANG Seminar
Location: PSC 1136
Speaker: Ashlee Wilkins (UMD)
Title: TBA

Date: Thu 01-Oct-2015 at 4:00-5:00pm

Series: hp-astro-ph
Location: PSC 1136
Speaker: Open Discussion
Title: Various
Date: Friday 02-Oct-2015 at 2:00-2:30 pm

Series: CTC Lunch
Location: PSC 1136 (Conference room)
Speaker: Yi Cao (Caltech)
Title: “Fast and Furious: Young Supernovae and Their Progenitors”
Date: Monday 05-Oct-2015 at 11:00-12:00

Series: Graduate Journal Club
Location: PSC 1150
Speaker: Open discussion
Title: Background for Dr. Johanna Teske’s colloquium
Date: Monday 05-Oct-2015 at 4:00 pm

Series: Astronomy Observatory Public Open House
Location: Astronomy Observatory, Metzerott Road, College Park, MD
Speaker: Dr. Ravi Kumar Kopparapu
Title: The Search for Potential Habitable Worlds
Date: Monday, 05-Oct-2015 at 9:00 pm

Series: Astronomy Colloquium
Location: CSS 2400
Speaker: Dr. Johanna Teske (DTM)
Title: The Bane and Boon of Binary Exoplanet Host Stars
Date: Wednesday 07-Oct-2015 at 16:05-17:00 (4:05-5:00 pm)

Series: BANG Seminar
Location: PSC 1136
Speaker: Johanna Teske (Carnegie DTM)
Title: TBA

Date: Thu 08-Oct-2015 at 4:00-5:00pm

Series: hp-astro-ph
Location: PSC 1136
Speaker: Open Discussion
Title: Various
Date: Friday 09-Oct-2015 at 2:00-2:30 pm

Series: Astronomy Observatory & National Capital Astronomers
Location: Astronomy Observatory, Metzerott Road, College Park, MD
Speaker: Dr. Timothy Stubbs (GSFC)
Title: The Impact of Meteoroids on the Moon
Date: Saturday, 10-Oct-2015 at 7:30 pm

<!– Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy: Located in California and operated jointly with Caltech, UC Berkeley, and UIUC.
   –> Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science & Technology

September 29, 2015 – New Black Holes Being Discovered!

A black hole is a geometrically defined region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—including particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it. (Wiki)

Scientists and astronomers from U.K.’s Keele University and the University of Central Lancashire have discovered a new black hole that defies all logic. According to Science Daily, the newly discovered supermassive black hole is estimated to be over 30 times bigger than what it ideally should have been. The details of the research done by the scientists would be published in the Royal Astronomical society’s monthly notices soon.

The galaxy, which houses this supermassive black hole, is named SAGE0536AGN. It was discovered using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and is estimated to be over 9 billion-years-old. After the discovery of the galaxy, it was studied by astronomers from the research team who eventually found that there was a supermassive black hole at its center. Using the Southern African Large Telescope and by measuring the speed of the gas swirling around the galactic center, the researchers were able to deduce the size of the black hole as well. However, the results were unexpected and left them perplexed.

According to the report, whatever data they received regarding this new black hole, threw the existing theories regarding the evolution of galaxies and the behavior of black holes out of water. Primarily, the data received indicated that this black hole isn’t possible at all as per our current knowledge of the universe. (sic)  This information was taken from the
Inqisitr website posted 9/26/2015.

The supermassive black hole at the heart of a recently discovered galaxy is much larger than it should be, and astronomers don’t know why.

The galaxy, known as SAGE0536AGN, lies about 2 billion light-years from Earth and contains roughly 25 billion times the mass of the sun. Galaxies of this size typically harbor central black holes with the equivalent of 12 million solar masses or so, but SAGE0536AGN’s is about 30 times that heavy, weighing in at 350 million solar masses, a new study reports.

“Galaxies have a vast mass, and so do the black holes in their cores,” lead author Jacco van Loon, an astrophysicist at Keele University in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. “This one, though, is really too big for its boots — it simply shouldn’t be possible for it to be so large.”

Supermassive black holes and their host galaxies generally grow in concert, but the SAGE0536AGN system isn’t playing by that rule. The central black hole may have grown much faster than the galaxy, or perhaps the galaxy stopped growing early on for some reason while the black hole kept gobbling up material, researchers said.

We Thank the Sources Below for Providing us general and specific information about new black holes being discovered in 2015.




School and Group Activities

Saturday, my family attended a get together for our homeschool umbrella.  A homeschool umbrella group provides support for homeschool students a place to socialize and also one on one meetings with advisors on homeschool curriculum for each student.  The umbrella group also provides many social activities like there would be in public school  such as a Prom, SAT and PSAT practice testing and even some specialized classes/tutorials on specific topics like what you need to do to get into college.

On Saturday the first activity was lots of games for all ages.  Then we had class meetings where we talked about what mascot we wanted for our class and any group activities for our class we might want to do.  Also what school clubs we might be interested in. We went over the schedule of events for school meetings and also special events like PSAT testing and fun activities like pet day, a possible charity event or something social we could all do together like zip-lining. After the class meetings, there was a talent show and costume contest but we did not stay for that part. After the class meeting there was a talent show and costume contest, but we didn’t stay for that part.

Our next school get together will be this week.  It will be a fair featuring all kind of community clubs and activities that we might be interested in participating in.

We were very surprised at the number of students attending which was about 150 students from grades 7 through 12.  I have to wonder how many students there would have been if everyone who is enrolled in our group actually showed up?!

So homeschooling is a lot like going to public school activity and college preparation and social interaction.  One thing different though is that all the parents volunteer to run the activities and club meetings.

September 27, 2015 The Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse

Reblogged to see if comments area comes up

Precious Minds

September 27, 2015     The Blood Lunar Eclipse

Last night we tried to look at the lunar eclipse at 9:27 p.m. as we were bringing our pets home from the hospital. It was difficult to see because it was cloudy in our area. Luckily our friend Mari Muchioli (Mooch), a professional photographer, shot an awesome picture of the lunar eclipse from East of Baltimore. Last nights lunar eclipse was a rare one because it falls in the cycle of Blood Moons in the past year.

Not only was there  an eclipse, but the moon was also be about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual — a supermoon.

The moon will appear red as Sunday’s lunar eclipse reaches its peak — which was be at 9:47 p.m. CDT. (NASA)

Supermoons are not not rare. In fact this is the fifth one in 2015 alone. But yesterdays moon will be…

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