29 Comments

  1. Nobody tell Arlo about the hypothesized heat death of the Universe or he’ll be really bummed out.

  2. To an astronomer these have nothing to do with each other at all. I guess to a non-astronomer they are synchronistic in that two comic strips are talking about the broad subject at the same time. But since astronomy is so universally awesome to everybody, astronomer or not, surely two comics out of several hundred talking about it at the same time isn’t remarkable. After all, if two strips had comic strips about animals on the same day no-one would consider that synchronistic. Which would be because animals are so common and well known it’s to be expected every day that several strips will feature an animal. Astronomy isn’t that well known or talked about but surely its well enough and known to be expected that every few weeks or so two strips will talk of it.

  3. Singapore Bill: It seems to me that Arlo is already talking about the hypothesized heat death of the Universe.

  4. I KNEW there’d be naysayers . . . but yeah, I’m NOT an astronomer (I could not care less about stars, supermoons, planets, aliens from space, etc., etc.), so it seemed synchronistic (synchronatic?) to me.

  5. But we must have three star gazer comics a week. If two fall on the same day that’s hardly noteworthy. People might hate animals but they shouldn’t be surprised when they appear in comics..

  6. Mercury is observable without a telescope. We know this because Mercury was known to several ancient peoples, before any of them had telescopes. Telescopes taught us that Earth isn’t the only planet with moons, and eventually added a couple of extra planets to our knowledge of the solar system… and also Pluto.

  7. In fact, JP, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac Mercury is visible now. “The innermost planet whirls so closely around the Sun that we see it only in twilight. As an evening star low in fading western twilight in 2019, Mercury is marginally visible in the last half of February and October but well seen throughout June.” Also note: “Do not confuse: Mercury and Mars on June 18, low in evening twilight; Mercury is brighter.”

  8. “In fact, JP, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac Mercury is visible now.”

    There’s very few nights when it isn’t visible, however briefly.

  9. “There’s very few nights when it [Mercury] isn’t visible, however briefly.”

    My web searches suggest that isn’t the case.

  10. There was definitely synchronicity, it was the sarcasm in the last panel over nerdy observations of others.

  11. John K. nailed it: the synchronous feature in these two strips is a female character who is singularly unimpressed by the male fascination for stellar objects.

  12. Arthur: Arlo doesn’t quite get his facts right; the 50 or so galaxies of the local group are close enough that they will never leave us, only more distant galaxies will ever become too far away to detect.

  13. Andréa: I’m with Einstein on this one: “The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious.” Astronomy is interesting because of all that we don’t know.

  14. There was a n unbelievably stupid plot point in one episode of NORTHERN EXPOSURE in which the bar owner had arranged to “name a star” for his wife (or possibly for an old, deceased girl friend or family member) and realized that the night of the episode was the very last time he or anyone on earth would be able to see it, thanks to expansion of the universe issues. So he had a star-watching party on the roof with a couple of friends for this “last chance.”

  15. ” the 50 or so galaxies of the local group are close enough that they will never leave us”

    But they will go dark, and before that, there will just be a few old stars left burning in them.

  16. My web searches suggest that isn’t the case.

    A I noted, Mercury is an inferior planet, meaning that its orbit is closer to the sun that Earth. So from our observational point, it’s always close to the sun. Depending on where it is in its orbit, Mercury will either be a morning star or evening star, or not visible.

    So it comes down a bit to definition regarding “night” Mercury will be visible at times for around an hour after sunset or an hour before sunrise. Do those qualify as night? One could argue that it’s never visible at night, only twilight. Or frequently. Or only call evening star observations “night” and morning star observations “day”.

  17. “So it comes down a bit to definition regarding ‘night'”

    “Day” is the time when the sun is visible in the sky. “Night” is the time when the sun isn’t visible in the sky.

    .

  18. Now I am reminded of the pedantic passage in the Passover Hagaddah where the rabbis are debating whether “all the days of your life” refers to the days alone, or the days and the nights.

  19. Shrug: “There was an unbelievably stupid plot point. . .”

    I think I got stupider just reading that plot point.

  20. The heat death of the universe is old hat. Since the discovery that the expansion of the universe seems to be speeding up (look up ‘dark energy’) it’s been suggested that eventually the expansion will be so fast that galaxies, then stars and planets, and eventuallier even atoms will be torn apart. I’m not sure how the time scale for this compares to that for the heat death.

    Mind you, arguments for the h.d.o.t.u. are a lot older and solider than those for dark energy.

  21. CIDU Bill – That must come in the after dinner part of the Hagaddah. My family would start out strong (especially on the night of the two we went to my uncle’s house) and then do just Elijah’s cup after dinner – eventually we moved Elijah’s cup to the before dinner part. Or (based on the discussions of which page which part was on in which of the free Hagaddah’s one had) we must have had the book from Manischewitz while your family had the one from Streit’s. 🙂

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