The Sun, Earth, and Moon Adorning the Faces of a Great Rhombicosidodecahedron

Trunc Icosidodeca

This polyhedral image was created using Stella 4d, a program you can try for yourself, for free, at http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php.

On Binary Planets, and Binary Polyhedra

Faceted Augmented Icosa

This image of binary polyhedra of unequal size was, obviously, inspired by the double dwarf planet at the center of the Pluto / Charon system. The outer satellites also orbit Pluto and Charon’s common center of mass, or barycenter, which lies above Pluto’s surface. In the similar case of the Earth / Moon system, the barycenter stays within the interior of the larger body, the Earth.

I know of one other quasi-binary system in this solar system which involves a barycenter outside the larger body, but it isn’t one many would expect: it’s the Sun / Jupiter system. Both orbit their barycenter (or that of the whole solar system, more properly, but they are pretty much in the same place), Jupiter doing so at an average orbital radius of 5.2 AU — and the Sun doing so, staying opposite Jupiter, with an orbital radius which is slightly larger than the visible Sun itself. The Sun, therefore, orbits a point outside itself which is the gravitational center of the entire solar system.

Why don’t we notice this “wobble” in the Sun’s motion? Well, orbiting binary objects orbit their barycenters with equal orbital periods, as seen in the image above, where the orbital period of both the large, tightly-orbiting rhombicosidodecahedron, and the small, large-orbit icosahedron, is precisely eight seconds. In the case of the Sun / Jupiter system, the sun completes one complete Jupiter-induced wobble, in a tight ellipse, with their barycenter at one focus, but with an orbital period of one jovian year, which is just under twelve Earth years. If the Jovian-induced solar wobble were faster, it would be much more noticeable.

[Image credit: the picture of the orbiting polyhedra above was made with software called Stella 4d, available at this website.]

Sunwatching

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This is a painting from 2002, which I did with acrylic, on canvas. I just had the first chance in years to get a good photograph of it, for it’s at my mother’s house, over three hours from where I live, and I actually have a decent camera with me for this visit.

Seven Moving Lights in the Sky, the Seven Days of the Week, and Other Significant Sets of Seven

days of week and lights in the sky

Have you ever wondered why the number seven appears in all the places it does? We have seven days in the week. Churches teach about the seven deadly sins, and “seven heavens” is a common phrase. There are seven wonders of the ancient world, and seven of the modern world. The number seven has appeared in many other socially significant ways, in societies all over the world, for millennia.

It is no coincidence, I think, that the ancients were able to see seven lights in the sky which are either visible in daylight, or move against the background of “fixed” stars at night. They ascribed great significance to what went on in the sky, since they viewed “the heavens” as the realm of the gods in which they believed. The evidence for this lives on today, in the names of the seven days of the week, and numerous other sets of seven, all over the world.

It is possible to see the planet Uranus without a telescope, but it is very dim, and you have to know exactly where to look. No one noticed it until after the invention of the telescope. If Uranus were brighter, and had been seen in numerous ancient societies, I have no doubt that we would have eight days in the week, etc., rather than seven.

Stained-Glass Window for the Church of the Sun

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Stained Glass Window from the Church of the Sun

If there actually is a Church of the Sun somewhere, they have my permission to use this as a design for a stained glass window, free of charge. It’s based on a semi-regular tessellation of the plane which uses regular dodecagons, squares, and triangles.

The Sun, On a Trip Through the Electromagnetic Spectrum

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The Sun, On a Trip Through the Electromagnetic Spectrum

The image above shows the sun’s output of radio waves, which have the longest wavelengths, lowest frequencies, and lowest energies of any part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

IDL TIFF file

This image, above, shows the sun’s microwave output.

Next, infrared:

sun infrared

This next one should be familar. It’s visible light. (Don’t stare at the sun, though.)

Sun visible light

Moving on through the spectrum, ultraviolet is next:

sun ultraviolet

After that, x-rays:

sun xray

And, finally, we arrive at the other side of the spectrum, where the electromagnetic radiation has its shortest wavelengths, and highest frequencies, as well as energy per photon. This is the sun in gamma rays:

sun gamma

Most of these images, all found using Google image-searches, use false colors, of course . . . or you wouldn’t be able to see them!

Time Is Running Out

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Time Is Running Out

A lot of people are complacent about the long-term fate of the earth because they know the sun won’t turn into a red giant for >4 billion years. However, we don’t have even half that long to find another place to live. The sun’s luminosity is increasing — so quickly that the oceans will boil away ONLY ~1.5 billion years from now.

Let’s get going with extraterrestrial colonization, people!

~~~

[Note: I didn’t create this image, but simply found it with a Google image-search.]