18 results for author: James Lewis


HERCULES

 It’s October already. Nights are getting longer. You don’t need to wait so long after supper to get out to star-gaze. When it’s dark enough and the skies are clear, you must go outside to see the stars. This month we are featuring the constellation Hercules, well-placed above the horizon in the western sky. There are many interesting things about this Constellation, but we’ll mention only a few highlights. Hercules is one of the strong men in Greek and Roman myth. Hercules was fathered by Zeus, the chief god and the mortal woman was Alcmene. Naturally, Zeus’ wife became jealous, but that’s another story....

KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS

 Art Linkletter was right when he said “Kids say the darndest things.” Kids have an amazing way of transforming our world into a wonderland. I wish I could remember all the funny things that youngsters said to me when I worked in the one-room schools of Marathon County from 1954 to 1965. I remember some which I would like to share with you. I was working in the two-room school in Knowlton, which is in south-central Wisconsin. The elementary teacher of grades 1 – 4 referred three first graders who lisped. I knew that 6-year-old children who lisp usually outgrow it in time, but I needed to keep a record. Picture ...

SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT COVID-19

 Over eleven hundred deaths from Covid-19 have happened in Wisconsin. This is more than terrible! This number represents a huge loss to all the families who have lost parents, children, relatives and friends. Each person’s life touches dozens of others. We need to know more than the numbers. We need to know why this disease is so dangerous and horrid for us and the whole world. Surprisingly, Astronomy Magazine (September 2020) supplies answers in an article by Dr. Jeff Hester, astrophysicist. Hester writes in his article, “Learning the Hard Way,” about the Covid-19 illness instead of his usual articles about the ...

JUPITER IS KING IN AUGUST

 How wonderful it is to see the sky on our many dark nights and to consider that each object in the sky is special in its own way. For August, our special object is Jupiter, which commands the southern night sky as king! Jupiter is the brightest object in the south, just east of the teapot of Sagittarius. Sagittarius is part of the zodiac and is an archer in legends. But a teapot shape is recognizable as part of Sagittarius and Jupiter is to its left. Jupiter has many wonderful features:  Jupiter is huge. It is 88,850 miles in diameter, 11.2 times the diameter of Earth, which is 7927 miles in ...

THE BOBOLINKS ARE BACK

 The bobolinks came back in May. This is a really big deal because these amazing birds started on their super-long journey to their summer home, including our area, in February 2020. They had to take about three months to travel 5000 miles. Here is the clincher: much of their journey is right across the Gulf of Mexico, over endless stretches of water. They wintered in southern Brazil. When they arrive on our farm, they sing their cheerful “I made it again; I made it again” song. The cheer of their song is enough to dispel sadness. Bobolinks are said to sing at their best when in flight. They came to ...

LEO THE LION: A FEATURE IN JUNE’S NIGHT SKY

 June has arrived quietly and unexpectedly, like a stray cat waiting at our door. For stargazers, there are many great things to see, including Leo. But because of Daylight Savings Time, it doesn’t get really dark until about 10 p.m. One must be especially motivated to wait that long to see the stars. But, believe me, it will be worth the effort. So many stars! On an average dark night, we will be able to see 10,000 stars. What an incredible treat! Leo the Lion occupies the western sky at this time of year. It sets around midnight. This year there will be bright moonlight until full moon which is June 5. Then the moon begins to ...

AN UNEXPECTED MIRACLE

 In this time of the pandemic, in the midst of suffering, people are reaching out to others. People are helping strangers in very loving ways. I had a similar experience in an April snowstorm of 1956. At that time, I was working for Marathon County Schools as a speech therapist for the 124 one-room schools. I had agreed to take children to the University of Wisconsin in Madison for possible admission into their summer speech therapy clinic. It was a different time from now. It was an era of greater trust when folks didn’t worry so much about accidents, mechanical failures or other things that might happen. I picked ...

REGARDING OUR VERY OWN STAR: THE SUN

 We are going through very heartbreaking times. As we continue to see increases in the spread of the corona virus, we are likely to overlook the wonderful things all around us. Consider this: On a clear night we are able to see thousands of stars shining above. Each star is a nuclear furnace. Most stars are busy crushing hydrogen atoms, creating helium atoms and releasing incredible amounts of energy in the process. Our sun is an example of this sort of star. We are lucky to have the sun. It is a steady star, shining and energizing our Solar System at a steady rate. Many stars are variable, shining brightly for a ...

THE HUNTING DOGS OF ORION

Orion, the hunter, has two smaller constellations following him through the night sky from late December until late March each year. Legend from the Greek and Roman tradition tells us that they are his hunting dogs. Both are assigned Latin names: one is Canis Major (Large Dog). The other is Canis Minor (Small Dog.) In late March, both constellations should be easy to find if you have a clear view to the south-west. To find the Large Dog, first find brilliant Orion in the south-west, still fairly well-placed above the southwest horizon. Orion, as you will remember, has ruby-colored Betelgeuse (Beetle Juice) for one shoulder and brilliant ...

WHERE IS OUR NATION HEADED?

The current trial of President Trump with the possibility of his removal from office is of major importance for our nation and world. But I think there are a number of reasons besides the evidence of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” for his impeachment and subsequent removal from office. They include: President Trump has abandoned the commitment of our nation to the Paris Climate Agreement, thus turning our back on the critical need to immediately convert our nation to a carbon-free energy system. There is no time to lose.  He has separated young children from their parents at the Mexican border ...