How can a Man Sell the Milky Way?

23 02 2010

I have just finished reading a book about Bart Bok.

Bart Bok

The book is called, The Man Who Sold the Milky Way: A Biography of Bart Bok. My mentor, for the research I am doing here at CTIO, recommended it to me. He knew Bart Bok while Bok was still alive and I have received a number of exciting and interesting anecdotes from my mentor because of this.

He was truly an amazing astronomer, and so was his wife Priscilla.

This book caught my attention one day while I was sitting in my mentor’s office discussing the Unified Model with him. Out of the corner of my eye I picked up some lime green and orange. Anyone who knows me well could tell you about how I just love bright colors! So my eyes were immediately drawn to the cover of this book. Seeing my distracted attention my mentor smiled and handed the book to me. And then began the first anecdote of Bart Bok, his bushy eyebrows, and deep voice.

The book was immediately intriguing. The title just catches your interest and forces you to begin reading! What do they mean, “The man who sold the Milky Way”? I must find out! So, I did! And I read the book.

It was extremely entertaining and I could not believe that I had not previously learned of such an influential man in Astronomy!

Of course, I cannot tell you very much about the book because that would be taking all the fun out of reading it! But what I will tell you are these things:

  • Bart and Priscilla were really neat people.
  • They affected many people’s lives, in and out of Astronomy.
  • You cannot buy the Milky Way from a Bart Bok Foundation. 😉
  • Magpies are really neat as well.
  • This book makes me want to live in the Eta Carinae Region so that I can meet Priscilla!
  • The last sentence of the book is my favorite.

Now you have to go read the book to find out what I mean by these statements! What would the world be without the beautiful Milky Way streaking across our skies? It is men and women like the Bok’s that really made the world realize the importance of studying and understanding our own galaxy.

Taken by Stephane Guisard for The World at Night (TWAN) Movement.

This is a picture taken outside of Paranal where the Very Large Telescope (VLT) is located. I will be visiting this place on Thursday! Very excited. For more information on this photo see the website: http://twanight.org/newTWAN/photos.asp?ID=3001672

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