Autumn in the skies

Autumn started with the death of our dear aunt Noor in The Netherlands, which came as a shock. It also brought about the second wave of COVID-19. That second wave and a series of bad colds and foot injuries have limited our activities. But our exploration and learning haven’t come to a halt.

Simon learned this odd-one-out puzzle from Alex Bellos. The word on the leaf is Dutch for ‘autumn” (written by Neva)
waiting Neva to finish her ballet class

Autumn has also brought those beautiful bedtime conversations back, mostly about space and astrophysics this time (Simon has been gulping down many lectures by Dr. Becky Smethurst and PBS Spacetime). I especially loved the one when, while reading a science facts section in one of Lucy Hawking’s George books, Simon instantly explained to me where the 3 minutes 56 seconds missing from the Earth’s rotation around its own axis came from (the Earth actually takes only 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds to rotate around its axis). So is it a mistake that we say that one day is 24 hours long? Are we just rounding it up, like we round years down to 365 days while they are slightly longer? No, Simon explained, the remaining 3 minutes 56 seconds are extrinsic to the earth’s rotation around its axis and are added due to its rotation around the Sun! Why haven’t I thought of that?

How to calculate the distance to a star
Simon always does some math in bed while I read a bedtime story. He says he really loves his bedsheet as a background.

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