Thursday, August 20, 2015

Happy 38th anniversary of the launch of Voyager 2

The brightest meteor I observed of the 2015 Perseid meteor shower, taken during the night of August 12-13 in a 25-second exposure at iso 1600 with a Canon 60Da DSLR camera and a Sigma 4.5-mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. The Fresno light dome is at southwest.

Notice the chronology:

August 15, 1977: Just before midnight, the "Wow!" signal was received at Ohio State's Big Ear radio telescope (which was dismantled and turned into a golf course in 1998). The "Wow!" signal is the most famous radio signal ever considered a candidate transmission from extraterrestrial intelligence: you know, aliens. It was named the "Wow!" signal since Jerry Ehman, the undergraduate at the time who was watching the telescope that night, scribbled "Wow!" on the old-style stripchart computer printout.

August 16, 1977: Elvis Presley died.

August 20, 1977: Voyager 2, which became the third spacecraft to fly by the planets Jupiter and Saturn and so far the only spacecraft ever to fly by the planets Uranus and Neptune, was launched.

All are well-documented facts, not "just your opinion." You can look them up.


  1. I don't know what to make of the juxtaposition of events (except to point out that chronology, like correlation, does not necessarily imply causation, but you/we knew that. Besides, what do I know? While all this was happening, I was vacationing on the Jersey Shore, looking forward to beginning 8th grade in a few weeks), but --

    Cool! One of these Augusts I need to plan to be somewhere less light-polluted for the Perseids; I gather it's possible to do within an hour or two's drive.

  2. We should spend more time on this site speculating about aliens, even if some of the opinions turn out to be wrong.

    I like that scene in the first Men in Black movie: "Elvis isn't dead. He just went home."

  3. Today is also the 40th anniversary of the launch of Viking 1.