M and I went to the local observatory here in Chattanooga tonight, which is Sunday, Dec. 22. I took video and pictures and just want to share, but I’ll warn you, the video is dark and not very good but they are also not very long. If you think the observatory looks a bit creepy, it kind of is. But it was a wonderful experience. I think the point is, what are we looking at? Well, I think we are looking at ourselves! At first, you might think this is boring, but keep reading…I think you’ll at least be amused.
It’s on Tuxedo Avenue.
It’s on Tuxedo and the 4100 block of BRAINerd Rd.
This is on the wall in the room on the right as you first walk in.
Frank! You and the observatory. What is going on here?! Frank has been looking for extraterrestrials since he was born!
The Order of the Dolphin! Clicky! How do we get in your secret society?!
“Let’s back up a moment. In 1958, a newly minted Harvard PhD named Frank Drake came to Green Bank. Usually he sought out typical radio astronomy targets — the Van Allen Belts around Earth, say, or the surface temperature of Venus, or the radiation belts of Jupiter.
But one day in 1960, Drake and his colleagues instead tuned into two nearby stars, Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani. Their goal was simple: they were alien hunting, hoping to hear radio communications originating from intelligent extraterrestrials.
UFOs were popular then, but Drake’s research was legitimate, one of the first dedicated scientific searches for aliens. Drake had been spurred on by Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison, who the previous year had co-authored a Nature paper with the provocative title “Searching for Interstellar Communications.” It remains a foundational SETI text.
Much to Drake’s surprise, his team actually heard something in those first few experiments. Unfortunately, it ended up being just a high altitude plane. Project Ozma, as the research was called (after L Frank Baum’s fictional monarch of Oz), was both the first SETI experiment and the first SETI false alarm.
“We had failed to detect a genuine alien signal, it was true, but we had succeeded in demonstrating that searching was a feasible, and even reasonable, thing to do,” Drake wrote in his book Is Anyone Out There?, co-written with science writer Dava Sobel.”
Is it just me, or is this mind-blowing?
(I said in earlier video that we would be looking at Orion, but when we walked in, they said “Please sign in. Then go upstairs and have a look at Mars.”)
Here’s Mars looking at Mars.
I saw Mars! And it looked like this.
It was looking back at me?
We walked out of the observatory through another door and we saw this.
Then we went to eat at Boathouse. It is a lovely place right by the river.
It was about an hour before closing and on a Sunday night, so there weren’t many people there.
There were business cards under the glass of our table.
And that is the news of the day!