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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第23期:走进太阳系(1)

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2.WELCOME TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM
2.欢迎来到太阳系
Astronomers these days can do the most amazing things. If someone struck a match on the Moon, they could spot the flare. From the tiniest throbs and wobbles of distant stars they can infer the size and character and even potential habitability of planets much too remote to be seen—planets so distant that it would take us half a million years in a spaceship to get there.
如今,天文学家可以办到最令人瞠目的事。要是有人在月球上划一根火柴,他们能看到那个火焰。根据远处星星最细微的搏动和抖动,他们能推算出行星的大小和性质,甚至潜在的适于栖居的可能性,而这些行星可是远得根本看不见的啊--它们如此遥远,我们乘宇宙飞船去那里也要花250万年。
走进太阳系.pngWith their radio telescopes they can capture wisps of radiation so preposterously faint that the total amount of energy collected from outside the solar system by all of them together since collecting began (in 1951) is "less than the energy of a single snowflake striking the ground," in the words of Carl Sagan.
他们能用射电望远镜捕捉到一丝一毫的辐射,而这种辐射是如此微弱,自开始采集(1951年)以来,所采集到的来自太阳系之外的全部能量,用卡尔·萨根的话来说:"还不到一片雪花落地时所产生的能量。"
In short, there isn't a great deal that goes on in the universe that astronomers can't find when they have a mind to. Which is why it is all the more remarkable to reflect that until 1978 no one had ever noticed that Pluto has a moon. In the summer of that year, a young astronomer named James Christy at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, was making a routine examination of photographic images of Pluto when he saw that there was something there—something blurry and uncertain but definitely other than Pluto.
总之,宇宙里没有多少东西是天文学家发现不了的,只要他们愿意。因此,想起为什么在1978年之前还没有人注意到冥王星有一颗卫星,这就更为寻常了。那年夏天,亚利桑那州弗拉格斯塔夫的美国海军天文台有一位名叫詹姆斯·克里斯蒂的年轻天文学家,正在对冥王星的照片作例行审查,突然发现那里有什么东西--模模糊糊、不大确定的东西,反正肯定不是冥王星。
Consulting a colleague named Robert Harrington, he concluded that what he was looking at was a moon. And it wasn't just any moon. Relative to the planet, it was the biggest moon in the solar system.
他跟一位名叫罗伯特·哈灵顿的同事讨论片刻以后下了结论:他观察到的是颗卫星。它还不是一般的卫星。相对于那颗行星而言,它是太阳系里最大的卫星。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
uncertain [ʌn'sə:tn]
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adj. 不确定的
 
universe ['ju:nivə:s]
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n. 宇宙,万物,世界
联想记忆
faint [feint]
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n. 昏厥,昏倒
adj. 微弱的,无力的,模
 
radiation [.reidi'eiʃən]
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n. 辐射,放射线
 
potential [pə'tenʃəl]
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adj. 可能的,潜在的
n. 潜力,潜能
 
reflect [ri'flekt]
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v. 反映,反射,归咎
联想记忆
remarkable [ri'mɑ:kəbl]
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adj. 显著的,异常的,非凡的,值得注意的
联想记忆
planet ['plænit]
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n. 行星
 
flare [flɛə]
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n. 闪光,闪耀,[天]耀斑
v. 闪光,闪耀
联想记忆
routine [ru:'ti:n]
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n. 例行公事,常规,无聊
adj. 常规的,
联想记忆
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