Monthly Archives: August 2012

Neil Armstrong, may you stop by the moon again on your trip up to the heavens above…

Armstrong and his buddies – The Apollo 11 Astronauts

 

On August the 25th 2012, we lost the one of the greatest heroes of all time, Neil Armstrong, the man who showed us all that hard work, humility, and guts can lead to dreams.

The Daily Beast: What Neil Armstrong Really Taught the World

Universe Today: Neil Armstrong; 1st Human on the Moon – Apollo 11, Tributes and Photo Gallery

ps. Armstrong’s family sends a lovely request to those wishing to pay tribute and remember his achievement: “Honour his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong, and give him a wink.”

Categories: History, Misc, Space Exploration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cosmic Dance – Just Something to Think About

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The Nataraja in my home.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had this bronze sculpture in my house. We call it the Nataraja. The dancer is Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction – and surrounding him is a ring of fire.

Out if curiosity, I googled this sculpture and discovered it symbolises the creation and destruction of our universe. Cool! Basically, the dance represents rhythm, the source of movement in our universe – rhythm sustains our universe. The drum he holds signifies sound as the origin of our universe. And the upper left hand holds fire and the belief is fire shall destroy our universe.

I don’t know myself if this truly represents how our universe works. Yet, no one truly knows the answer to it either. So maybe, just maybe this statue holds the key – then again, it could just be a statue of a Hindu god as he dances.

ps. The Nataraja is also at CERN!

Here’s an article about this. Source: http://www.fritjofcapra.net/shiva.html

Shiva’s Cosmic Dance at CERN

On June 18, 2004, an unusual new landmark was unveiled at CERN, the European Center for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva — a 2m tall statue of the Indian deity Shiva Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. The statue, symbolizing Shiva’s cosmic dance of creation and destruction, was given to CERN by the Indian government to celebrate the research center’s long association with India.

In choosing the image of Shiva Nataraja, the Indian government acknowledged the profound significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s dance for the cosmic dance of subatomic particles, which is observed and analyzed by CERN’s physicists. The parallel between Shiva’s dance and the dance of subatomic particles was first discussed by Fritjof Capra in an article titled “The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics,” published in Main Currents in Modern Thought in 1972. Shiva’s cosmic dance then became a central metaphor in Capra’s international bestseller The Tao of Physics, first published in 1975 and still in print in over 40 editions around the world.

A special plaque next to the Shiva statue at CERN explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s cosmic dance with several quotations from The Tao of Physics. Here is the text of the plaque:

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, seeing beyond the unsurpassed rhythm, beauty, power and grace of the Nataraja, once wrote of it “It is the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of.”

More recently, Fritjof Capra explained that “Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter,” and that “For the modern physicists, then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter.”

It is indeed as Capra concluded: “Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.”

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Becoming an Amateur Astronomer

Hey guys! Sorry for not writing in the past couple of weeks, but I’ve been so busy with university applications and my new semester at college – it’s hard to even find the hours to sleep! But I’ve finally found some free time – and can’t wait to start posting again! So here it is…

First up – on becoming an amateur astronomer.

There’s only one way.

Be inspired .

You gotta feel the excitement of looking up at a clear the night sky! Trust me, all the books and videos in the world can never match the real thing – seeing a night sky for yourself! In my case, it happened when I really young, on a bus ride through rural Malaysia, past villages in the state of Perak. As I looked out of the windows, I was shocked to see hundreds of stars in the night sky – and was simply mesmerized! My aunt sitting next to me (the only other person awake), who would have seen questions written all over my face, told me there were billions of these stars in the sky, each burning for billions of years. I had never heard of something so vast, immense and ancient before –  and I was hooked!

In Malaysia, you could take a drive to the islands like Pulau Perhentian or Tioman for some serious stragazing. The remote highlands or hills (last year for instance, I went stargazing atop the hills of Kuala Kubu Bharu in Pahang) are good observation sites too.. Even on the North-South highway, my sis and I caught the Big Dipper and Orion, as we travelled through the state of Johor. All you need is a clear dark sky. But beware! The monsoon seasons (the Southwest Monsoon from May to September, and the Northeast Monsoon from November to March) here bring in some heavy clouds that might take days/weeks to clear. But if the haze hits Malaysia, it might take months to clear – just like the one we’re having now. But besides the climate, Malaysia is a wonderful place for stargazing.

What about your country? What’s the best spots for stargazing?

Categories: Amateur Astronomy, Observation Sites, Observation Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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