Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than for October 07, 2013
I know a place where the sun never shines. It's at the bottom of the ocean. A crack in the crust there exudes chemicals and heats the water to boiling point. This would kill a human instantly. But there are creatures there, bacteria, that thrive. They eat the sulfer from the vent, and excrete sulfuric acid. I know a place where the temperature is fifteen million degrees, and the pressure would crush you to a microscopic dot. That place is the core of the sun. I know a place where the magnetic fields would rip you apart, atom by atom. The surface of a neutron star, a magnetar. I know a place where life began, billions of years ago. That place is here, the earth. I know these places because I'm a scientist. Science is a way of finding things out. It's a way of testing what's real. It's what Richard Feyman called: A way of not foolishing ourselves. No psychic, despite their chaims, has ever helped the police solve a crime. But forensic scientists have, all the time. It wasn't someone who practices homeopathy who found a cure for smallpox, or polio. Scientists did medical scientists. No creationist ever cracked the genetic code. Chemists did. Molecular biologists did. They used physics. They used math. They used chemistry, biology, astronomy, engineering. They used science. You can experience the thrill of discovery, the incredible, visceral feeling of doing something no one has ever done before, seen things no one has seen before. Know something no one else has ever known. No crystal balls, no tarot cards, no horoscopes. Just you, your brain, and your ability to think. Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here. -Phil Plait.
Great sentiments. One little comment – Sears-level tube telescopes are shaky, which is why few people use them after a few days, because of the headaches, or the inability to stay steady on one spot in the sky for a few seconds. If you really want to introduce a child to astronomy, spend the extra money to get a good scope from a company like Celestron. And be prepared to stay outside with your child to share the experience, because otherwise it’s going to feel like you’re using it as an excuse to get them out of the house so you can watch more TV.