Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Haiku, Youku, We all Ku for The Sun-Ku

by Richard Peacock

I used to believe the Sun was a 32-mile-wide disc which hovered over the Earth at an altitude of 3,000 miles. Of course, now I know that it's actually 45 miles wide. But lately I have been wondering: what else don't I know about the Sun? And, could I summarize that information into a form of 17th century Japanese poetry? Yes. Yes, I could.

Haiku, Youku, We all Ku for The Sun-Ku

The Earth is massive.
The organic residue
On the top is us.

But even the Earth
Is tiny next to the sun,
The source of all life.

Sol is truly huge,
And an almost perfect sphere,
A main sequence star.

It is in motion.
Sol orbits the galaxy
In cold, slow silence.*

We are dragged along
Like barnacles on a boat
Through the Milky Way.

He has completed
Only twenty five orbits
Since his ancient birth.

The surface of Sol
Is slowly getting hotter.
Earth will die in fire.

In one billion years
The oceans will boil away
And all life with cease.

After much longer,
Sol will become a giant.
Earth may be swallowed.

We will mourn the Earth,
As we watch with telescopes
From ships past Neptune.

Our ancestral home
Will then be forever gone
But we will endure.

*Actually, the Sun (and the entire solar system) orbits the galaxy at a speed of 220km (136 miles) per second. It takes about 250 million years to complete one circuit of the Milky Way, and around 1,440 years to travel one light year through space.

The Multiverse is written by Richard Peacock, who generally doesn't know what he's talking about, and will gladly sacrifice scientific accuracy for the sake of a rhyme. Send rhyming complaints to richard@amateurscientist.org.

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