Stars Are Like People

My wife, Irene, isn't all that interested in astronomy. She stopped objecting to my expensive hobby when I started to get travel grants to go to Hawaii, California and the UK to give talks on variable stars. But she doesn't like to be outside, cold at night, and she always finds something more interesting to do when we go on astronomy related excursions. We talk about it all the time, but it's mostly me doing the talking, so I wonder if she really gets it or not sometimes.

This weekend I was working on a talk I'm giving on stellar evolution for a general, non-technical audience, and I wanted some feedback. So I tried some of my analogies on Irene to see if they made sense to a 'non-astronomer'.

I ran a few PowerPoint slides past her about the formation of planetary nebulae and the white dwarf stellar remnants of evolved stars. Then I tested one of my humorous lines on her, where I explain that "stars are like people, and I am an example of a middle aged, red giant star, swollen at the waste as my interior changed".

She looked at me and smiled. "Does that mean one day I'll come home and there will be a burnt out, one inch remnant of you, sitting in your easy chair, surrounded by a cloud of gas?"

Yea, I'm pretty sure she gets it...


RevAaron said...

Hmmm... since I'm not middle-aged yet, but am entering the giant phase already, am I doomed to explode as a supernova? :-)

Stephen said...

It reminds me of this tatoo.