I have been reading a bit about nearby stars lately. I am not referring to Joe Pesci or Bruce Springsteen, but 40 Eridani A and Tau Ceti. I am not sure why this fascinates me. These stars and any matter surrounding them are clearly too far to visit. I firmly believe in the theory that travel even close to the speed of light is impossible, so interstellar travel for humans is not an option.
In any case, the existence of these places fascinates me. A few years ago I read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. While some of the science in the book is probably out dated now, it is still a fascinating read, and recommended to anyone with half a brain and an interest in the origins and destiny of the universe.
OK – so what is the point? I really can’t say. I know that I love knowledge. I want to know as much stuff as I can (kind of like Travolta in that movie Phenomenon). So, the cosmos fascinates me, because there is so much to know. I think this fascination plays into the “Star Trek” TV show. I am curious as to whether or not the writers have considered where certain places are in the galaxy, other than Vulcan.
So – what’s the point? I still can’t say. One additional observation is that it sucks that the night sky is invisible to us in the NY metro area. It would be nice to look at the sky and tell my kids the names and locations of the stars, but since the starts are invisible to us, that is impossible.
Finally, I wish to add that I really do not know what I plan to do with this knowledge of the stars in our galactic neighborhood. It is funny that with the exception of Sirius, the close stars are all relatively small and hard to find, whilst the easy stars to find (i.e. Betelgeuse, Rigel and the other stars in Orion are quite distant. Another interesting point is that it seems many of the G-class stars (those similar to the Sun) are only visible in the Southern Hemisphere. Weird.