Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Class of Black Hole & A Poem by Walt Whitman

On July 20th, we’ll celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. The lunar landing took place on the day after my wedding. I’ll soon be celebrating those two events that happened four decades ago. I’m still happily married—and astronomy is one of my favorite sciences.

Below you’ll find an excerpt from and a link to a news article that was posted on the Internet yesterday.

New Class of Black Hole Could Explain Cosmic Leviathans

PARIS (AFP) – Astronomers on Wednesday said they had identified an intermediate class of black hole that could explain how supermassive, light-sucking monsters develop in the heart of galaxies.

Their find -- a black hole more than 500 times the mass of the Sun, on the fringe of galaxy ESO 243-249 -- is reported in the latest issue of Nature, the British-based science journal.
In terms of size, it lies between supermassive black holes, which can be billions of times the mass of the Sun, and relative tiddlers, which are between three and 20 solar masses.

You can read the rest of the article here.


Let’s celebrate space science with a poem by Walt Whitman!

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
by Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.


Introduce young children to this famous Whitman poem with Loren Long’s beautifully illustrated version of When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.

When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer
Words by Walt Whitman
Pictures by
Loren Long
Simon & Schuster, 2004

Click here to view sketches and paintings from Loren Long’s book.

Walt Whitman Resources: The Walt Whitman Archive

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