Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jupiter and 4 Moons

What a great night it was. It started out seemingly uneventful, as everyone I know was busy. I decided to walk up to Colorado Blvd, but before I got there I saw two large telescopes in the middle of a plaza. Turns out it was the Pomona Valley Amateur Astronomers out to observe Jupiter and show passersby its beauty.

I walked up, introduced myself, and before long I was manning one of the telescopes, and asking everyone who passed by if they wanted to see Jupiter and four of its moons. Most people did, though some were clearly too cool to actually want to see a planet that is a billion miles away and a hundred times larger than earth.

A hundred feet away from our setup was a fashion party underneath a shiny tent. I found it to be a fascinating contrast: on one side you have people obssessing over the latest fashions that will be obsolete within weeks or months, and on the other side you have people obsessively observing the Planet Jupiter, which has not materally changed in five billion years. I feel like there is an insight or lesson about humanity present here, but I can't identify it.

If you can deduce the lesson from this, leave it in a comment.

One interesting passerby responded to my offer to show him the planet Jupiter, took one look through the telescope, and began to express a profound disbelief that what he was looking at was, in fact, Jupiter. He repeatedly asked me why I should trust him that it was Jupiter, and suggested that it could be a star or something else. He could not conceive of the fact that predicting planetary motion has been possible for hundreds of years. I reminded him that I was not trying to sell him anything. I also pointed out that he probably believes in things far more farfetched than that which I was trying to convince him - that he was indeed looking at the planet Jupiter.

Then I realized he was piss drunk, and let him be.

Good times.

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