An Astronomer Looks at the Zodiac

Or, has your “sun sign” changed after 2000 years?

And did you know that the Zodiac has at least 15 constellations?

This is a little presentation I did last week on the Zodiac for something called the “Encyclopedia Show“. Out of eight ‘acts’ in this cabaret show on “The ZODIACalypse!!!”at a place called The Dunes in Columbia Heights in DC, there were two musical selections, a few poems, a stand-up comic, an interview with a professional astrologer, and some rants and skits.

Most of the presenters (but not all) seemed to be quite skeptical about the many claims made by proponents of, shall I say, ‘traditional’ astrology. At some point the organizers will post a video of the night’s affair, as they have for other ones. Past shows seem pretty good and I may come back to watch more of them, in the future.

My role was as straight man, I guess, narrating a little powerpoint presentation using slides I gathered from many places, including a bunch of beautiful images from NASA’s wonderful  Astronomy Picture of the Day and other places. I actually got a lot of laughs and applause, and a bunch of folks came up and told me they really enjoyed my part. Some of my fellow-astronomer friends came and didn’t regret it either.  It was actually a lot of fun.

Here is the link to the PPT itself on Google Drive. Feel free to use or modify it as you like, and enjoy. And here is a link to a YouTube video of my talk.

NOTE: I see that I got the terms “equatorial plane” and “ecliptic” confused in my talk. “Ecliptic” is the apparent path of the sun through the heavens, i.e. along the Zodiac. The equatorial plane of the Earth is just that, a projection of the Earth’s equator into space. (These two planes are different, as I correctly noted; they form an angle of about 23.4 degrees to each other.) My bad.

image

Here is a slide so you can cut to the chase: what is your sign, really?

traditional and modern zodiacJust for fun, I did a search of the sun-signs of the 44 US presidents. You would think they would all be rather similar, right? Nope. Look for yourself:

presidents and sun signsHowever, that had to be cut from my presentation because it was already too long.

I also wanted to show a short video by magician James Randi where he debunks astrology 100%, but it, too, had to be cut. Here is the link:

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Alien Civilizations on Mars Worshiped Piglets and Empanadas — Proof!

The Pig, Seahorse, and Jamaican Patty on Mars

Remember the ‘Face on Mars’ that was proof to some people (including at least one brilliant astronomer, believe it or not) that aliens who looked a lot like us made statues and monuments on mars that you could only see from above?

I HAVE PROOF NOW THAT THEY WERE WRONG. THE ALIENS DIDN’T NECESSARILY LOOK LIKE US. INSTEAD,they were probably  WERE MORE SIMILAR TO ONE OF THESE SACRED SYMBOLS:

(1) JAMAICAN BEEF OR GOAT PATTY (bottom left corner; probably not, is most likely a hoof of the following item.)

(2) Piglet from Winnie-The-Pooh or

(3) STRAIGHTENED-OUT SEA-HORSES.

EXPERTS ARE DEBATING WHICH FORCE THE ALIENS WORSHIPPED or were more similar to.

Debate will follow.

annotated images on mars

(I hope you realize that was all said with tongue firmly implanted in cheek?

(But some folks took the ‘Face on Mars’ thing seriously. That includes a DC-area astronomer who used to work for the US Naval Observatory by the name of  Tom Van Flandern. He wrote a book affirming that and many other stranger things.)

face on marsThe image above is the one that drove some people to make all the fuss. However, closer images from various orbiting cameras show the hill differently. Here is a page with lots of detail.

Piglet:

piglet

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