Ask Mr. Cosmology


Time again to reach into the “Ask Mr. Cosmology” mailbag and see what readers want to know about . . . The Wonders of the Universe!

Q: Why does the full moon look larger near the horizon than when it’s higher in the sky?

Mr. Cosmology: Because it is.

Q: What is the correct pronunciation of supernovae?

Mr. Cosmology: Supernovae.

Q: I have a light, almost porcelain complexion. I’m a natural brunette, and I’ve always been fine with that, but I think I wouldn’t mind a change. I’m wondering if there’s a shade that might complement my features?

Mr. Cosmology: You’re thinking of “Ask Mr. Cosmetology.” And it’s henna.

Q: What’s the difference between astronomy and astrology?

Mr. Cosmology: Three letters, yet only one point, assuming neither word has a blank. And you’re thinking of “Ask Mr. Scrabble.”

Q: When is the universe going to end?

Mr. Cosmology: Right about…now.

Q: You were wrong.

Mr. Cosmology: Did I mention that the margin of error is plus or minus infinity?

Q: You mean eternity.

Mr. Cosmology: You say eternity, I say infinity, let’s call the whole thing off.

Q: How would you define the universe?

Mr. Cosmology: Mr. Cosmology just told you: Off.

Q: Knowing as much as you do about the workings of the cosmos, are you still able to look up at the night sky and feel awe?

Mr. Cosmology: Let’s just say that sometimes when reading a letter from the mailbag, Mr. Cosmology casts his eyes toward the heavens and goes, “Wow.”

Q: Of what possible value is cosmology?

Mr. Cosmology: Seventeen. Unless you’re using a blank.

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5 thoughts on “Ask Mr. Cosmology

  1. If astronomical distance is unimaginably far, then astronomical humor should be incredibly funny. But what we get is “Astronomy is looking up!”

    But my hero is the hydrogen atom. The hydrogen atom can suffer the loss of an electron, which is everything it has, and it’s still positive. Well, hydrogen also used to be famous for being the most abundant element in the Universe. But now that stupidity has become more common…

  2. Mr Cosmology, If I put a rope between two galaxies and a motor in the middle of the rope, can I use the expansion of the Universe to make electricity? And will the rates go up in summer?

  3. Dear Nick, The rates won’t go up because the universe has no summer — The Universe Has No Summer now being the title of the book I’d most like to read. As to the rope and motor idea, it’s solid gold and venture capitalists have already been dispatched to your home.

  4. Mr. C, I enjoyed all your Q&A’s but the first…Q.Why does the full Moon look larger near the horizon….? A. Because it is. Mr.C, as a “street” telescopist, I find that most of the public actually believes it’s really larger.(I’ll bet some Last Word On….readers do, too!)Anyhow, it’s such a widespread misconception, I just don’t like seeing it perpetuated. That it looks larger is called the “Moon illusion” and is a psychological effect. Instrument measurements show no actual size difference when it’s low and looking big and high looking a lot smaller. I think a more apt ans. to your Q. would be “….because it does.”

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