Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 3, 2016

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Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 3, 2016 


Like cosmic ballet dancers, the stars of the Pleiades 
cluster are spinning. But these celestial dancers are 
all twirling at different speeds. Astronomers have 
long wondered what determines the rotation rates 
of these stars.

 By watching these stellar dancers, NASA’s 
Kepler space telescope has helped amass the most 
complete catalog of rotation periods for stars in a 
cluster. This information can help astronomers 
gaina insight into where and how planets form 
around these stars, and how such stars evolve.

 “We hope that by comparing our results to 
other star clusters, we will learn more about the 
relationship between a star’s mass, its age, and even 
the history of its solar system,” said Luisa Rebull, 
a research scientist at the Infrared Processing and 
Analysis Center at Caltech in Pasadena, California. 
She is the lead author of two new papers and a co-
author on a third paper about these findings, all 
being published in the Astronomical Journal.

 The Pleiades star cluster is one of the closest 
and most easily seen star clusters, residing just 
445 light-years away from Earth, on average. At 
about 125 million years old, these stars—known 
individually as Pleiads—have reached stellar 
“young adulthood.” In this stage of their lives, 
the stars are likely spinning the fastest they ever 

 As a typical star moves further along into 
adulthood, it loses some zip due to the copious 
emission of charged particles known as a stellar 
wind (in our solar system, we call this the solar 
wind). The charged particles are carried along 
the star’s magnetic fields, which overall exerts a 
braking effect on the rotation rate of the star.

 Rebull and colleagues sought to delve deeper 
into these dynamics of stellar spin with Kepler. 
Given its field of view on the sky, Kepler observed 
approximately 1,000 stellar members of the 

 Kepler measurements of starlight infer the spin 
rate of a star by picking up small changes in its 
brightness. These changes result from “starspots” 
which, like the more-familiar sunspots on our Sun, 
form when magnetic field concentrations prevent 
the normal release of energy at a star’s surface. 
The affected regions become cooler than their 
surroundings and appear dark in comparison.

 As stars rotate, their starspots come in and out of 
Kepler’s view, offering a way to determine spin rate. 
Unlike the tiny, sunspot blemishes on our middle-
aged Sun, starspots can be gargantuan in stars as 
young as those in the Pleiades because stellar youth 
is associated with greater turbulence and magnetic 
activity. These starspots trigger larger brightness 
decreases, and make spin rate measurements easier 
to obtain.

 During its observations of the Pleiades, a clear 
pattern emerged in the data: More massive stars 
tended to rotate slowly, while less massive stars 
tended to rotate rapidly. The big-and-slow stars’ 
periods ranged from one to as many as 11 Earth 
days. Many low-mass stars, however, took less than 
a day to complete a pirouette. (For comparison, our 
sedate Sun rotates just once every 26 days.) 

 FUN FACT. The Japanese word for Pleiades is 
“Subaru.” Sound familiar? That six-star emblem on 
all Subaru cars is none other than a stylized version 
of the Pleiades cluster, as seen with the naked eye, 
binoculars, or a low-power telescope.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




On life, death, and Respecting others

Lately, a little bit of tension 
has developed between the Gracious Mistress of 
the Parsonage and myself. It has been a long time 
coming and I am afraid it has arrived.

After decades of being married, and I am not 
quite sure which decades, it has all come down to 
this one thing. Vegetables.

At my age, I think I should be over all this 
nonsense of what my wife calls “eating healthy.” 
Who says eating vegetables is healthy?

Well, my wife says it. It must be true or she would 
not say it. I am not quite sure how to deal with this 
rather delicate situation. After all, she is the one 
that prepares meals and I am the one that devours 
the meals.

She believes that because she prepares the meals, 
she should be the one to decide what those meals 
should be made up of.

Me, on the other hand, and I am not sure it is 
the right hand or the left, believe that because I 
devour those meals I should have something to 
say in what those meals really are.

Up until recently, I have not made a big issue of 
this, but I think the time has come for me to put 
my foot down. Vegetables and I are parting ways.

It is not that I do not like any vegetables. There are 
a few I enjoy munching on, like corn, lima beans 
and carrot cake.

That last one gets me in trouble every time. I 
insist that carrots are a vegetable of which my 
wife cannot argue. It is the cake part that she says 
disqualifies it for being a vegetable. I say since the 
word “carrot” comes before “cake” it defines what 
it really is. A carrot is a vegetable.

You can appreciate, I’m sure, the dilemma I am in.

“At your delicate age,” she says rather sarcastically, 
“you should be eating healthy.”

My rebuttal is simply that all my life I have been 
eating healthy now I should be entering the stage 
when I can eat what I want to eat and what makes 
me happy rather it is healthy or not.

Of course, my idea of healthy does not correlate 
with her idea of healthy. I understand that, but I 
also understand it is my health.

Last month I went to the doctor for my annual 
visit. As usual, he found nothing wrong with me 
and in a little bit of desperation he said, “Someone 
your age should have something wrong with 
them.” With all of his doctoring expertise, he 
could not find anything wrong with me, which 
means I must be healthy.

Therefore, I say, somebody my age with nothing 
wrong with them should be able to eat exactly 
what he or she wants to eat.

I remember all my life whenever going out to eat; 
I always made sure I ordered a salad to go along 
with my meal. It was not because I really liked 
salads, but it was supposed to be healthy for you. I 
honestly believe I have eaten enough salads in my 
lifetime to last the rest of my life.

Then the argument comes from the other side of 
the house. “The reason the doctor doesn’t find 
anything wrong with you,” she says rather sternly, 
“is because you’ve been eating healthy vegetables 
all your life.”

I suppose there is some kudos in that argument.

“Don’t you remember,” she said, “that Eve used an 
apple to cause Adam to fall into sin?”

Well, I had to think about that one. There is no 
concrete evidence that it was an apple tree, but I 
was not in any position to challenge her theology 
at that moment.

Recently we have come to somewhat of a stalemate 
on this. She accepts the fact that I will not eat 
broccoli at all or any green leafy stuff on a regular 
basis. I think it is good for me just to go step-by-
step in this regard.

A recent news story reported of people getting 
sick after eating some leafy vegetables at some 
restaurant buffet, and I remind her of this every 
chance I get. “I just,” I try to explain to her, “want 
to be careful about what I eat so I don’t get sick.”

That argument always brings on one of her glaring 
looks in my direction. Then she will sigh rather 
deeply and say in that sweet little voice of hers, “I 
want you to be healthy so that you’re around as 
long as possible.”

After she says that, I have lost the argument. Of 
course, I want to be around as long as possible. 
And so, I promised her that every month I would 
eat one helping of a healthy vegetable but a 
vegetable of my choosing.

She smiles, knowing that she’s got me. The thing 
about this “got me” moment is there is nothing I 
can do about it. All arguments aside, she got me.

I am sure the Bible has a lot to say about eating 
healthy. One verse that comes to my mind along 
this line is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, 
or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 
Corinthians 10:31).

If my body is the temple of God, as the Bible 
declares, I need to treat it with respect and 
whatever I do, I need to do it to the glory of God.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 
34483. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs 
Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail His web site is www.

[Nyerges has led 
wilderness trips into the 
forest for over 40 years. 
He is the author of “Enter 
the Forest,” “Extreme Simplicity,” “”How to Survive 
Anywhere,” and other books. He can be reached 
at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or www.]

 Many years ago, I met a man named Charlie 
Locke who was a live-in caretaker for the Angeles 
Forest Service at a camp called Oakwilde. Oakwilde 
is about a five mile walk from the closest road.

 I met him when I was leading a hiking class 
through Pasadena City College, taking the class 
down the old CCC road from the Angeles Crest 
Highway, into the Arroyo Seco, to Oakwilde. Little 
did I know that the trail was washed out, and half 
the class turned back. The rest of us hiked right 
down the ridgeline into the camp and there we 
met Charlie, living there with his many tents and 
many dogs. Charlie was your stereo-typical hermit 
mountain man, living the good life naturally and 

 We all enjoyed meeting this mountain man and 
talking with him about his viewpoints on life, gold-
panning, Irish coffee, and many other topics.

 I’d visit Charlie a few times over the next few 
years before he had a medical emergency and had 
to be airlifted out of the campsite, never to return.

 Charlie told me that one day in his remote part 
of the canyon, an angry man with a dog came by 
and told Charlie that he was sick of life and that 
he was going to kill himself. The man climbed up 
a nearby cliff where he informed Charlie he was 
going to jump. Charlie told me that he had to think 

 “What about your dog?” yelled Charlie. “Who’s 
going to take care of Sampson?” The man 
responded that he was going to kill himself, not 
responding to Charlie.

 “And are you just going to jump right there?” 
Charlie demanded. “You mean to tell me that 
you’re going to hit those rocks and let me or 
someone else clean up the mess?” Charlie acted as 
if he was angry. The man still seemed angry but 
seemed to be thinking about it.

 “That’s not very considerate,” said Charlie. “I 
mean, if you’re going to kill yourself, you should at 
least get a home for your dog, and figure out how to 
do it so it doesn’t inconvenience other people.” The 
man remained on the cliff.

 “I really don’t want you to jump,” continued 
Charlie. “I don’t have the time or energy to clean 
up your body and then go get the police or sheriff 
and then find your family. I mean, I’ve got to repair 
my tent, and I need to clean out the fire pits for the 
weekend hiker, and the rangers want me to keep 
the outhouse cleaned up for the hikers.” He was 
silent for a bit.

 “I’ll tell you what,” said Charlie. “You can go 
ahead and kill yourself, but just not today. Why 
don’t you give me a hand with my chores, and 
when we’re done, I’ll make us some soup and 
potatoes and we can talk about it. What do you 

 Charlie says that the man slowly came off the 
cliff, and then he followed Charlie back to the camp 
a short distance away. Charlie began by giving him 
a tool to cut down some of the tall wild grasses 
around the camp that were potential fire hazards. 
When the man was done, Charlie gave him another 

 Charlie told me that they had a very satisfying 
dinner, and neither brought up the suicide attempt 
again. The man stayed with Charlie a few days, 
helping out with chores, before he disappeared 
back down the trail and into the city.

 “You see,” said Charlie, “perhaps all the man 
needed was someone to listen to him, and to make 
him feel important, that his life meant something. 
I didn’t do anything special, just treated him like 
everyone ought to be treated.”

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