Galactic Year – a #SolarSystem #poem by Kate Rauner

Impact!

Impact!

As our sphere orbits Sun,
So Sun orbits Black Hole
At the center of our galaxy,
As eternity unfolds.

In a quarter billion earthly years
Our solar system circles round,
Weaves thru the mid galactic plane
Where other stars are densely found.

Fifteen times since life began
We have circum-rotated,
And ten times in each orbit grand
The planet’s devastated.

Our Sun’s own cloud of comets
On the solar system’s edge
Are jostled from their sedate paths,
Fall inward from their ledge.

With corresponding timing
Ancient craters have been found.
It seems Earth’s plagued with comet storms
As the cosmic year spins round.

Life sized model

Life sized model

Bombardments are not good for life.
Half a dozen times
Mass extinctions cleared our world
As doomsday peals chimed.

Things have been quiet for some time
Since dinosaurs disappeared.
The Sun careens past cosmic dust,
Dark matter, stars, and fears.

Such grand cosmic motion can only be estimated, and the number of Earth’s mass-extinctions depends on your definition, but our movement through the galaxy makes me feel very small and oblivious.
space.com on extinctions and comet strikes
Wikipedia on Galactic year

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No Challenge to the #Moon

A moon that we see once a yearOrbits_of_Cruithne_and_Earth,
A rock in Near Earth Orbit,
Swings past Venus, out to Mars,
Approaching, but it won’t hit.
An asteroid that loops the Sun,
No poets rhyme, no singers croon.
To pass nearby but once a year
Makes no rival to The Moon.
Fancy calls this a moon,
Passing each November.
Named for folk of County Down
And Antrim to remember.
Not many Irish are ensconced
In cosmic objects dim or bright.
But so you are, my neighbor rock,
A name that I can’t say right
Who’s seen ya –
KROOee-nyuh
Tied to the Sun, no earthly guest.
Few dream a’
Cruithne,
The painted people of the west.

While claiming Cruithne is a second moon seems a stretch, it is an interesting object. At half the size of the asteroid that killed off the last non-avian dinosaurs, it would be an existential disaster if it struck us. But don’t worry – it’s not going to impact Earth. Despite its benign orbit, you’d think the dooms dayers would have latched onto it by now. Maybe it’s that tough Gallic name that saves Cruithne from infamy.

“Variations of the name include Cruthen, Crutheni, Cruthin, Cruthini, Cruthne, Cruthni, Cruithni and Cruithini. This is the Gaelic version of the Brittonic term *pritenī, both derived from an earlier Insular Celtic form *kʷritenī, which is taken to mean ‘painted/tattooed people'” wikipedia