Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House in D.C..
One from New Jersey, another from Tennessee and the third, Florida. They go with a White House official to examine the fence.
The Florida contractor takes out a tape measure and does some Measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”
The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”
The New Jersey contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$2,700.”
The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”
The New Jersey contractor whispers back, “$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”
“Done!” replies the government official.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2016 April 6
Explanation: Jupiter has auroras. Like near the Earth, the magnetic field of our Solar System’s largest planet compresses when impacted by a gust of charged particles from the Sun. This magnetic compression funnels charged particles towardsJupiter’s poles and down into the atmosphere. There, electrons are temporarily excited or knocked away from atmospheric gases, after which, when de-exciting or recombining with atmospheric ions, auroral light is emitted. The featured illustration portrays the magnificent magnetosphere around Jupiter in action. In the inset image released last month, the Earth-orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory shows unexpectedly powerful X-ray light emitted by Jovian auroras, depicted in false-colored purple. That Chandra inset is superposed over an optical image taken at a different time by the Hubble Space Telescope. This aurora on Jupiter was seen in October 2011, several days after the Sun emitted a powerful Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).
Leo loses his tail. We gain a constellation
Tonight chart shows the sky high to the south around mid-evening. To the upper left of the constellation Leo the Lion are dozens of very faint stars. They make up the constellation Coma Berenices, otherwise known as Berenice’s Hair. You need a dark sky to appreciate the constellation Coma Berenices. If you have one … it’s very beautiful.
The Greek-Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy and others considered these stars the tuft at the end of Leo the Lion’s tail. Coma Berenices remained part of Leo until a few hundred years ago, when it was first listed as a separate constellation.
The story goes that an ancient Egyptian queen, Berenice, feared for her husband’s life as he went into battle. She prayed to Aphrodite, promising to cut off her long, luxurious curls if the king returned safely. He did, and Berenice kept her promise and cut off her hair, placing it as a sacrifice on Aphrodite’s altar.
But the next day the hair was gone!
The king was enraged that the temple priests had not protected the precious locks. A quick-thinking astronomer saved the day, or rather night, by pointing to the cascading stars at the end of Leo’s tail. He told the king that these were the queen’s tresses placed in the sky by Aphrodite for all to see.
The king and queen were appeased, and no priests were beheaded.
Bottom line: A clump of faint stars trailing the constellation Leo once represented the Lion’s tail – but now these stars are known as Coma Berenices, the hair of a queen.
Larry Sessions writes for EarthSky about astronomy and other topics related to physical science, emphasizing observations that can be made with little or no equipment. He also writes and maintains his own astronomy website, as well as class websites for the classes he teaches. His North American Skies website has earned a one of “Ten Cool Sites” recognition by the Exploratorium, and the Griffith Observatory Star Award.
A former planetarium director in Little Rock, Fort Worth and Denver, Larry currently is an adjunct faculty member at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and at the Community College of Aurora (CCA, Colorado). He is a co-recipient of the 2010 Tom Brosh Adjunct Faculty Award at CCA, and a former longtime member of “Solar System Ambassadors” program of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For six years he was a contributing writer for the Sky Calendar on Space.com. In addition, he was formerly the managing editor at the Denver Museum of Natural History, as well as for the award-winning “Weather Guide” calendar from Accord Publishing. His articles have appeared in numerous publications including Sky & Telescope, Astronomy and Rolling Stone. His small book on world star lore, Constellations, was published by Running Press.
Larry is a former member the SouthWestern Association of Planetariums. He lives in Denver with his wife, Marlene, and their two dogs, Mikatsuki (“New Moon”) and Yoshi (“Lucky”).
Article published on EarthSky
The Wisdom of Buddha
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
Your Daily Influences
April 6th, 2016
A lover of tradition and ceremony, The Hierophant needs social approval and appreciates the positive aspects of conformity.
Naudhiz reversed may tell of needs met and harmonious relationships. Your passions for someone or something may be at their pinnacle.
Pisces the Fishes
This aspect of your life will be strongly influenced by a person who is escapist and idealistic, secretive and vague, weak-willed and easily led. This person probably relies to heavily upon you to make decisions for them.
Your Daily Influences represent events and challenges the current day will present for you. They may represent opportunities you should be ready to seize. Or they may forewarn you of problems you may be able to avoid or lessen. Generally it is best to use them as tips to help you manage your day and nothing more.