[gardeners] Re: Star Party

Bob Kirk (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Thu, 15 Apr 1999 23:26:03 -0500 (CDT)

> On that subject, my local library has asked me about giving a series
> of talks on astronomy and stargazing - if you folks were going to
> a talk on this, what would you like to hear about?  I've got some
> ideas, but I figure you would represent the audience pretty well,
> so I would like to hear from you.
>                                          Thanks,    > Harry

   Well, goddess knows I'm not too representative, but from some years of
listening to StarDate on NPR I know that simple constellationry leaves me
cold. As does the superficial mythology behind it, but if that is pursued
to some depth I'll at least sit still long enough to read or listen.

   At least a smattering of scientific speculation. Again remembering that
just about the most engaging single StarDate segment I ever heard was
one regarding the theory and implications of [?] the point where the
gravitational pull of the moon exactly matches that of earth. Pedestrian 
stuff true - but the sky's the limit here. As they say....

   I'm of two minds about mind-blowing slides of distant galaxies. OK for
an evening at the library, but then something of a letdown when actually
viewed by non-time-lapsing human eyes thru a telescope smaller than their
living room floor.
   While it's not exactly multimedia (I suspect you won't in any case be
drawing the lot that can't, say, comprehend the Norman Conquest without
video clips), to set off slides & handouts there's a wealth of astronomical
quotations from the ridiculous to the sublime. An Alta Vista search on
"looked up in perfect silence at the stars" of course turned up Whitman
instead of Far From The Madding Crowd, which is the particular one I was
thinking of, but I'm sure it's in there somewhere - maybe even the opening 
paragraph - or in Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker? 

   ObGardening: Sure there must be a Southern Hemisphere constellation
   named for a fruit or vegetable, but can't think of one offhand....