Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
April 2014
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Voyager 1 leaves the solar system

I heard a report today that suggests the Voyager 1 space probe may have left the solar system. It has been beyond the orbit of Neptune and Pluto since 1988/1989, but, as suggested by this link, it appears that it has now gone past the “heliopause”. Inside this region the solar wind has an effect, but what is being observed now is a dramatic increase in the number of energetic particles (“cosmic rays”) that are being detected by Voyager which suggests it has now passed beyond the heliopause or, if you like, beyond the effects of our sun. What can definitely be said — uncertainty about the heliopause notwithstanding — is that Voyager is now nearly 18 billion km from earth, and the sun’s light takes 17 hours to reach it (more data and information here).

Some 21 years ago there must have been some piece of news about one or other of the Voyager probes and one of my brothers made a comment (the last line in what follows) that inspired me to write the poem below.

Voyager

Alone in the vast velvet
      Emptiness,
The brightest light is
      Fading,
Communication
      Hesitates,
And the only link home
      Is a vacuum.

You carry our
      Curiosity
On a journey longer than our
      Dreams;
The loneliest piece of
      Earth-dust,
Racing patiently into the
      Void;

And we wonder:
      Do you sing to yourself?

                  31 August 1991

1 comment to Voyager 1 leaves the solar system

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