Dear Dr. Boli: Why does the sun always rise in the east? —Sincerely, A Disappointed Westerner.
Dear Sir or Madam: The sun rises in the “east” by convention only. There is really no such direction as “east,” as you may discover by searching any globe for the East Pole. The sun may rise wherever it likes, since it is bigger than we are and is listed among the nuclear powers. Wherever it chooses to rise, that is the direction we conventionally call “east,” but there is nothing in nature that corresponds to “east” per se.
Dear Dr. Boli: When the astronauts go to the moon, do they pass the stars? —Sincerely, A Gentleman of Mars (Penna.).
Dear Sir: Given the current state of scientific education, it is not surprising that many intelligent persons such as yourself are ignorant of even the most elementary facts of astronomy. The moon is the nearest of the celestial bodies. The stars, on the other hand, are embedded in the firmament, which is beyond the sphere of Saturn. Beyond the firmament are the spiritual realms, until we finally reach the dwelling of God and all the elect. Therefore, the astronauts do not pass the stars until the moment of death. The accompanying diagram will make these relationships clear. The study of astronomy is a useful and interesting one, and Dr. Boli is of the opinion that no other science so generously rewards the student who will give it the attention it deserves.