In the first stage, Luria's major innovation, God contracts into a part of himself to make space for the creation of something other. Following the contraction come the first emanations of divine light, the lights or sparks known as the sefirot that in turn compose the material universe. These emanations combine organizing principles with residual spiritual elements in the space from which God withdrew.
Some also take the form of language and letters, which would seem to promise a metaphysical correspondence of word and being. But here the story takes another striking turn. Rather than flowing into discrete forms, the creative emanations from the original figure explode some of the vessels meant to receive them, resulting in a dispersion of fragments from the vessels and sparks of the light within. The universe we inhabit is therefore composed of both shattered forms and residues of creative forces.
Throughout subsequent history, the cosmos is engaged in a period of repair or tikkun, where new parzufim , faces or configurations sometimes translated as "constellations" of sefirot are formed. It is not hard to see how these images might appeal to someone contemplating a rapid social and cultural disintegration. Benjamin's writings are replete with figures of fragmentation and rearrangement, whether he is discussing baroque theater in the aftermath of the Thirty Years' War, the commodity culture of advanced capitalism, or new cinematic forms of representation. Furthermore, the promise of an imminent redemption of a shattered world resonated with the Marxist expectation that capitalist crisis would bring about the material and intellectual basis for communism.
Thus, one can argue that Benjamin adopted an allegorical approach to the Kabbalah, secularizing its vision of destruction and redemption. While this means of reconciling theological and secular visions might seem superficial, it takes on depth as soon as we ask just how faithful or unfaithful it is to the Kabbalah, a tradition that both lends itself to secular politics and licenses creative interpretations. First of all, unlike neo-Platonism and its theistic inheritors, the Kabbalah does not necessarily oppose the intellectual and the material since the emanations share in God's substance and power.
Thus, while it posits a divine source for the material universe, Kabbalah shares Marxism's reconciliation of matter and spirit. Second, and by the same token, it situates redemption in this world, and ascribes to human beings a special responsibility for its achievement. Third, the Kabbalah approaches divine texts not as an intact code but rather as a set of encrypted puzzle pieces. Like other mystical traditions, it therefore lends itself to both critical and supplementary approaches to orthodoxy, whether an elaboration of halakhic laws or even a conversion to Islam in the famous case of Shabbetai Zevi.
From the 6th to the 19th of December, there will be a few more shooting stars in the sky than normal. Gemini lies up above and slightly to the left of the upright Orion, and as this constellation is rising relatively early, due East, the meteors should be visible here in the UK. The meteors of this shower are bits of dust from the extinct comet Phaethon, which has lost all of its internal ices over its many journeys around the Sun and now pretends to be a 5.
These big bits of dust burn brightly and often different colours, usually greens or blues, sometimes yellows. The best time to observe the Geminids from the UK would therefore be after midnight until dawn on the 14th, though the peak of activity is very stretched out in this shower compared to sharper rises in activity in others, meaning the whole evening of the 13th should be a relatively good time to watch out.
Meteors are naked eye objects, so observers can just wrap up warm and sit out with a flask of tea like watching distant fireworks. The best views tend to be at an angle of fifty or so degrees away from the radiant in any direction, but keep an eye on the whole sky for the best chance of catching meteors, which can appear from anywhere.
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The Twitter meteorwatch, run by NewburyAS who tweet here will be up and running for the shower. Cameras from around the planet will be pointing into the skies looking for, photographing and videoing the meteors for live and recorded playbacks. But as ever, we will be subject to the vagaries of the weather, which will be dependant on the mercy of an English Lake District winter here in Kendal… The meteorwatch will run from the 12thth of December. The trailer for the event from their youtube channel is below, as is an example of a Perseid meteor recording from an earlier MeteorWatch imaged using a camera and UFOCapture software :.
Posted in Astronomy , Comets , Eyeball astronomy. The thing exploded over the desert in Sudan and kg of it were recovered, allowing meteors as they are normally found to be studied knowing how the asteroid appeared in our telescopes. This was the first time a definate link could be established between the results of the laboratory and those of the telescope.
Examination of the pieces has yielded interesting information. It contains signs of having been blasted off a larger structure by a powerful impact, with the mineral olivine turned to iron and carbon heated to the extent of producing nanodiamonds.
Organic materials such as amino acids survived both this and the tumble down to Earth. And tumble was the word. As the Sun reflected off the changing apparent size of the thing, the brightness altered.
AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies
A movie or two of the asteroid in space as well as further information on the topic can be found in this Astronomy Now article and related links. The nucleus is shaped like a rugby ball and if you look at it end on, you see a smaller area than a side view gives, this means less light is reflected in your direction and so the thing dims.
Tempel 2 is described as a fairly anemic old comet, developing a crust of inert materials after many travels round the Sun removed the volatiles in the original article. One rather more pristine comet was Lulin, travelling in from its home a light year away, this comet visits once in a million years and became naked eye visible in February. Its progress through the solar system was rapid, allowing little time for observations, but a team at Lowell managed it.
As it was new to this Sun warming it up thing, the comet vented some unusual chemicals, cyanogen, from holes near the poles. These holes could be tracked from their exhaust, not only allowing the rotation rate to be studied, but maybe even allowing a 3D model of the surface to be built up, according to this Discovery News article. The major clue to this origin is that the moon orbits the planet in the opposite way to the one expected. The surface of this frigid world is covered with ices, water and carbon dioxide cover the surface in an even layer.
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Nitrogen, Carbon monoxide and Methane all spend part of their time frozen to the surface and part of the time in the atmosphere, much like the ice caps on Mars or even here on Earth. This is true for Nitrogen and CO, but Methane tends to do its own thing.
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Whereas Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide prefer to spend time as ices facing Neptune, Methane hides on the other side. Posted in Astronomy , Comets , News , Spectroscopy. Growing up in the town of Kendal in the English Lake District, I had access to some lovely dark skies at times. At others, the light pollution from the town and rising water from the river Kent blocked out much of what could be seen, even on the rare cloudless days.
Even so, my mother assures me the first time she noticed me taking an interest was during a trip to London, not known for its equivalent skies, but known at the time for the London Planetarium, now sadly deceased. He had passed it on to my mother who handed it to my whilst we were walking from my primary school. Over the years I collected a few spotters guides, Greenwich guides and the rest. Mammana , focuses more on observing techniques.
My first telescopes arrived within a few months of each other as the nineties broke. The other my dad bought from Woolworths another vanished institution. I still have them here, they are both small refractors, that is they focus light using lenses. The Greenkat advantages include a wider aperture and easier focusing, but it has a fixed magnification and is a spotting scope, so has extra lenses, each of which absorb more light, to turn the image the right way up. My main observations to begin with were of the Pleiades, otherwise known as the Seven Sisters. This is a young star cluster containing around stars, though fewer of these are visible to the naked eye.
Looking at it with even just the tiny telescopes I had revealed a celestial jewel box of bright blue stars seemingly tailing off into the deepest part of the night.
There was something refreshing about this, something revealing the deeper universe through just a small instrument. My next significant observation was of a meteor shower. I waited up and my sisters waiting with me for this early to mid nineties shower. The sky was clear, the appointed hour arrived, but nothing. Not even one or two sporadics. I grabbed my sisters and we headed outside and the shower got underway. Meteors every couple of minutes, with long golden tails. Then every minutes. Then a few every minute. Suddenly, the shower became a storm, with more bright meteors overhead that it was possible to keep in view.
One managed to make it almost from horizon to horizon, north to south, a bright bolide. The storm continued for a good few minutes before relenting back to shower conditions and then slowly petering out again. My mother watched from inside the kitchen with the lights on, most certainly not getting the full benefit of dark adapted eyes. Throughout the rest of this time, there were lunar eclipses and partial solar eclipses, occasional meteors and more glances skyward, even a talk on astronomy at school, which I gave, but little else.
I went to Kendal Library to ask about astronomical societies, there were none within reach. Now my main focus was on academic astronomy. A-level physics at one point offered the chance of doing a module in astronomy, using half bitten equipment and with a strong focus on us lot being self sufficient as regards teaching.
The staff got cold feet for unexplained reasons, so it never happened. What did happen was I managed to choose my next step, the first one into pure astronomy. I visited the place for an interview on extra solar planets but was told the college had already decided to accept everyone who had turned up. A small nugget of cold molecular hydrogen, called a Bok globule, is silhouetted against the star cluster.
A towering "mountain" of cold hydrogen gas laced with dust is the site of new star formation in the Carina Nebula. The great gas pillar is being eroded by the ultraviolet radiation from the hottest newborn stars in the nebula.
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The Hubble images were taken in the light of neutral hydrogen. Red corresponds to sulfur, green to hydrogen, and blue to oxygen emission. This Hubble telescope image of a dense swarm of stars shows the central region of the globular cluster NGC Globular clusters are the homesteaders of our Milky Way Galaxy, born during our galaxy's formation. They are compact swarms of typically hundreds of thousands of stars held together by gravity.
A rare and spectacular head-on collision between two galaxies appears in this Hubble true-color image of the Cartwheel Galaxy, located million light-years away in the constellation Sculptor. The new details of star birth resolved by Hubble provide an opportunity to study how extremely massive stars are born in large fragmented gas clouds. The striking ring-like feature is a direct result of a smaller intruder galaxy -- possibly one of two objects to the right of the ring -- that careened through the core of the host galaxy. Like a rock tossed into a lake, the collision sent a ripple of energy into space, plowing gas and dust in front of it.
Expanding at , miles per hour, this cosmic tsunami leaves in its wake a firestorm of new star creation. Hubble resolves bright blue knots that are gigantic clusters of newborn stars and immense loops and bubbles blown into space by exploding stars supernovae. The ring-like structure is evident in the blue map of the cluster's dark matter distribution. The map is superimposed on a Hubble image of the cluster.
The ring is one of the strongest pieces of evidence to date for the existence of dark matter, an unknown substance that pervades the universe. This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Contact wiredlabs wired. Apollo 11 was the first time humans ever submitted to ride in a vehicle controlled by a computer. The machine crash… twitter.
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