SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. -- Astronomers, still crestfallen by the death this week of one of the discipline's luminaries, Dr. James Van Allen, were bouyed by news of the discovery of an entirely new extra-planetary domain, the Blogosphere. While there have been rumblings on the Internet about the existence of the Blogosphere for years, until this week it had never been anything more than the dyspeptic musings of quirky individuals who maintain their own websites and cross-post to the sites of others.
Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology say the Blogosphere can no longer be considered to be no more than a rumor.
The basic unit of the Blogosphere is the blog, a small collection of hot and sometimes toxic gasses, on occasion emanting a dim bit of light, according to Dr. Jonas Zmuidzinas, a Cal Tech astronomer. Blogs are densely interconnected as they are naturally attracted to each, creating a web of interconnected light pricks which appear to have much more mass than they actually do.
It is ironic that the Blogosphere's discovery came just days after the death of the discoverer of the Van Allen Belts, as upper atmosphere scientists say the two have many parallels. According to Irwin I. Shapiro, Timken University Professor in Extragalactic Astronomy at Harvard's Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, the Blogoshere, despite its name, is not actually spherical but is torus- or donut-shaped, just like the Van Allen radiation belts.
"Also, neither has much substance, but consist of the emanations of what would be inconsequential particles in isolation," said Shapiro. "Further, both are filled with highly energetic and extremely polarized particles that produce what can be a dangerously radioactive environment for humans," he noted.
Dr. Zmuidzinas, who is stationed at the the Mount Palomar Observatory, said the evidence is now compelling that blogospheres are actual living entities as radio-telescopes had picked up ASCII key sequences that "could only be the product of intelligent, albeit primitive, life forms." Zmuidzinas said the verification of intelligence had taken so long because previous versions of the data-mining software was not robust enough to account for variant spellings and atypical punctuation.
In other astronomically related news: With the recent indecision by an international conclave of astronomers and astrophysicists either to de-certify or certify Pluto as a planet, Bluto and Goofy are petitioning the International Astronomical Union for inclusion as planets as well, but if not, as Sirii, or dog stars.
Copyright 2006, Douglas Salguod