Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the stars come to halifax

2009 should be a superfun year for science lovers: it's the Darwin 2009, marking 200 years since he was born and 150 years since he published On the Origin of the Species, and it's the International Year of Astronomy, marking 400 years since galileo stuck his eyeball to a telescope.

i'll get to darwin in february, but today i was working on an article about galileo. he was famously tried for heresy by the roman catholic church for suggesting the universe does not revolve around the earth. he (sort of) recanted his theory, apocryphally muttering 'and yet it moves' as he walked away. he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

one of the iya talks will be about aliens (7 pm on Jan 9,at the uncommon ground on south park street). the guy i interviewed, quinn smith of astronomy nova scotia, said most stars discovered today have planets, and there are gazliions of stars in the universe. most stars probably have solar systems: all this has him conclude "there are many, many chances for alternative life to have formed.”

it reminder me of a douglas adams line: "Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."

there are loads of cool events this month and over the year. they are finally opening up dal's planetarium on jan 10 and have a 'starlab' for kids at the discovery centre the same day. check out Astronomy Nova Scotia's site for a full listing.

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