Jumping between Janus and Epimetheus

If you had a time machine that only let you spend one hour in a different time, what date would you go to?

January 21, 2006±4n at 02:24:57 UTC








The next six figures, which are being constructed, will reveal the educational worthiness of “Jumping between Janus and Epimetheus”. They will follow soon.

Education and the home of Stefras

About a week ago, I changed the location I claimed to be at in my online profiles. Most of my profiles now say I am from “Alberta, Canada”, which I am; some say that “The World is my Classroom”.

Just changing my location attracted a whole wave of followers. This is evidence that people do in fact read your profiles and pay attention to your location.

My profiles all used to say that I was “Jumping between Janus and Epimetheus”. Several astronomers caught on to the reference, but I thought I might show the rest of you what I was saying, and let you decide how it is an opening to education.


Laughlin, Greg. (2005-2007.) Systemic: Characterizing Extrasolar Planetary Systems. http://oklo.org/. Relevant pages mirrored on my Teaching Resources site.

Nicholson, Philip D., Hamilton, Douglas P., Matthews, Keith, and Yoder, Charles F. (1992.) New observations of Saturn’s coorbital satellites. Icarus 100 (1992) 464-484. http://www.astro.umd.edu/~hamilton/research/reprints/NicHam92.pdf.

The Planetary Society. (date unspecified.) The orbital dance of Epimetheus and Janus. Space Topics: Saturn. http://www.planetary.org/explore/topics/saturn/janus_epimetheus_swap.html.

Tiscareno, Matthew S., Thomas, Peter C., and Burns, Joseph A. (2009.) The rotation of Janus and Epimetheus. Icarus 204 (2009) 254–261. http://www.ciclops.org/media/sp/2010/6288_14827_0.pdf.

This post is part of my Science (Biology) week contribution, the fifth activity of the 30 Days to Kick Start Your Blog Teacher Challenge and the Post a Week 2011 Challenge.


12 thoughts on “Jumping between Janus and Epimetheus

    • Hi Theresa.

      I am glad you are intrigued. I am still constructing the interesting images / animated GIFs / videos (?), which gets into the educational part of “Jumping between Janus and Epimetheus” (JbJE). Actually, given their nature, I might continue this post as part of Teacher Challenge #6.

      I would not use these images in the classroom as such. I don’t think that would go over too well. I mainly teach / substitute junior and senior high school students and I think I would come across as a stereotypical salesman if I just dropped my location and these images on them. (“There Mr. Urban goes again. Setting us up.”)

      However, I did locate myself as JbJE to intrigue people. If a student ever found my blogs or other profiles and asked about what JbJE meant, I would definitely use these images as part of a teachable moment.

      As a substitute teacher, I thrive on teachable moments, since I do not get the chance to design and facilitate my own lesson plans. And the best way I know to trigger a “planned” teachable moment is to set intrigue traps. Curiosity is definitely the best tool for teaching.

      In addition to teachable moments, I created my Teaching Resources site to create lesson plans and projects. These resources are this substitute’s dream of what I would teach if I were a contract teacher. I actually hope other teachers consider using them. I know there is some active interest in my math resources.


    • Hi Nordin.

      No, I would not go to Saturn, particularly if I had only a one-way ticket.

      I am an ecologist at heart and love exploring Nature here on Earth too much to leave the planet. (Maybe if a rich biosphere with intriguing ecology were found on one of the moons, I might go.)

      On the other hand, I am an amateur astronomer. I peer at the planets and stars with my telescope, participate in such sites as Galaxy Zoo, use programs like Sky Map and keep up to date on celestial related news and discoveries. Space, like Nature, is definitely interesting.

      But, since you asked, how about you?

      Thanks for asking,

  1. I like planet earth and am staying here. I love to travel, but I would not take up any offer to go to the moon or JbJE or whatever.
    Your comments about changing your ‘About Me” page were really interesting, especially the fact that you now have more followers. I admire you for being a substitute teacher – another thing I don’t think I coulc hack! Glad you have built your resources online as that must be very useful to you. Do you take a laptop with you when you go to different schools? You must see lots of different learning spaces!

    • Hi Anne,

      I think I agree with Dr. Alan Grant, played by Sam Neill, when, in Jurassic Park III, he said that he’d prefer to be the astronomer rather than the astronaut. It would be nice to see all the planets and other objects in our solor system up close, but it would be a very long trip for a one hour thrill at each planet. I’d rather enjoy the planets where I can study them for an extended period in depth and at leisure. Now if someone were to go there and film his or her experience in real time, that might be interesting to watch.

      I love being a substitute teacher. I like the variety of students, subjects, topics and learning spaces that comes with the job. I miss two things by not being a contract teacher. I miss watching my students develop day to day; that would be a thrill since I rarely see the successes they have. I also miss facilitating my own lesson plans, and in particular, inquiry projects.

      I do not take my laptop to school, since I would have no opportunity to use it. First, in my school district I have no access to the intranet and internet; substitutes do not have user ids and passwords. I wrote a post, Smartboards vs Whiteboards, on this a while back. Second, my day, including what I will teach, is planned for me before hand; I do not get to choose what I will teach, so my laptop would be useless.

      In any case, many of my resources are on my Teaching Resources site. I published this site to share with other teachers; I have no opportunity to use or test the resources myself. Of course, I also wrote it for selfish reasons, these being my desire to design lesson plans and projects and offer (share) them. I suppose one could liken this to being an astronomer rather than an astronaut, except instead of teaching directly, others are directly teaching for me.

      (I am assuming that last part. Though I have many hits on my web pages, I have no knowledge of anyone ever using any of the resources I provided. This is a big difference between blogs and websites.)

      When it comes to changing my location in my profiles, I was actually amazed at the response, mostly by Canadians. I knew many people would not understand the JbJE reference, but I thought the benefits of some asking about JbJE over the insignificance (or so I believed) of the information was worth the exotic location reference. I did get a few astronomers, amateur and professional, smile at my JbJE location, and a couple of people inquire about it, but only when it first came out. After the two months, I decided to change it. (Perhaps the idea is to change it every couple to few months to attract attention and inquiry.)

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  3. Hi Shawn,
    I like the way you put the information about the creative commons license and the information about the picture.
    It’s simple, nice and well structured.

    • Hi Mieke,

      This is actually the Wylio format. I agree. It is very concise and neatly laid out. For each image, I added the link to the Creative Commons license applicable to that image. I also added links to videos (the Janus-Epimetheus Swing image) and Webpages (the Janus and Epimetheus RGB images) for people who wanted to explore beyond the images.

      I liked this format so much that I adapted it to credit images found by means other than Wylio. I think the consistency looks professional.


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