Adventures in Astronomy by John C. Mannone..... Research and Writings of a Physicist

Radio Astronomy Web Tools
Sun/Ionosphere 20 MHz Probe
Plasma Bubbles
FFT Basics
Spectral Analysis Techniques SARA 2004 Puerto Rico
A Case for Jupiter
Radio Spectra
Radio Poetry
Educational Puzzles
Light Pollution
TN Astronomy
NC Astronomy
Literary Interlude
Historical Interlude
Tribute to John Dobson
Cometary Parallax
Archived News
College Students' Web Page
Radio Poetry

These poems are light-hearted attempts in a "new" genre called radio poetry- science of radio targets in poetic language. These were written before I began to cultivate my craft and write seriously in May 2004. Many of these poems may be revised to new standards in the future and a separate poetry web page may be created. The only exception is "My Sol," a free verse poem, which remains one of my favorite pieces.

Though my newer poetry doesn't appear there, the Reflector (publication of the Astronomy League) has generously featured me in March 2005 issue: "The Inspirational and Stellar Poetry of John Mannone," ed. Kent Marts, pp. 12-14). A low resolution file (PDF format) can be downloaded below.

p.12 (45 kB)

p.13 (49 kB)

p.14 (20 kB)

Support The Astronomy League

On the Zeotrope Virtual Studio (, a discourse on "What is Poetry Today" resulted in the request to use my response in several venues (work shops, newsletters, etc.) Therefore, I will reproduce an adapted version here to avoid violation of Zeotrope confidentiality rules. My response is item 5 in the pdf below.

What is poetry today?

TAO Aug 6, 2005

Introduction to the Poetry of John Charles Mannone

When in an astronomy classroom, one of Professor Mannone's operating dictums is often voiced: "rediscovering history and literature through astronomy." A corollary to this is "rediscovering astronomy through poetry."

His astronomy-related poetry blends lyrical tones with descriptive verse. Though highly metaphorical, it strives for technical accuracy. His favorite "equations" are rich imagery, allusion, alliteration, and internal rhyme. As a physicist, his passion to understand the universe is only surpassed by his passion to know its creator; this is often reflected in his poetry.

Mr. Mannone holds advanced degrees in Plasma Physics and Physical Chemistry. He is a nuclear consultant and an avid amateur radio astronomer as well as a Visiting Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Tamke-Allan Observatory.

Though seriously writing since May 2004, Mr. Mannone has published in Iodine Poetry Journal, Thrift Poetic Arts Journal, Fresh Air (2005 Anthology of Rhyme and Chatt), Frontage Road, the International Dark-Sky Association Newsletter, and is featured in The Reflector (Astronomy League magazine).

John will read from a collection (in progress) entitled, "Shards of Space: A Poetic Tour of the Universe."


Shedding Light


Nuclear core, baryonic array

if not stable, will emit gamma rays

Inner charge caught, excited transition

brings less foreboding x-ray emission

Not just from atomistic discontents

but from hypernova burster events

Near deep pits in galaxies reported

hidden by black of space-time distorted.


Invisible voracious death machines

presence betrayed by energetic sheens

And whirling masses; terminal suns’ screams

remnant shards sometimes jettisoned abeam

With funny parabolic ears we tune

the broadcasted shouts of their stellar dooms.


In the beginning, in the cool of space

a small gathering in some tiny place

Molecular clouds begin to compress

secrets of birth are hid in dust and gas

But incandescence is harbored within

heats the spinning cloud again and again.


Labor contractions in glowing gas dense

birth a fusing star on the Main Sequence

Their antics disclosed by colorful light

also their nature, temperament, and might.

In all the commotion, thermal irate

electrons abandon their ground estate

Regardless emotion, bound to return

and leave pulses of light in their sojourn.


Mirrors catch the optic stellar delight

unless behind thick dust, out of easy sight

But while cloaked, light cannot escape as yet

‘til shroud is tempered ultraviolet.

The heated veil becoming transparent

can no longer hide the stars apparent


We ‘scope them out and watch them grow

and others, while their life they throw

the dusty legacy of stars

that has become the very jars

that houses the soul of man today

with all our watchful eyes we pray

to learn our place among the stars.


John C. Mannone
November 15, 2002 (
note 1)

*********************************************************************** The Plight of Radio Flight

Undulating heaps of raging solar dunes
Flare-up in discontent aloud and none too soon
Convulsed magnetic strands dance coronal tunes
While spastic plasmic electrons dance, spin and croon

Luminal shrieks are broadcast
To the lonely blackened void
Chased by a swarm of dissenters cast
Out from the angry spheroid

Shocked by a protruding magnetopause
Snared by magnetic straps
Flocked by the rising tropopause
Flared by collisional traps

These, the terrestrial ether succumbs
And fade in a dream of shimmering bifrost
The tricolor auroral curtain becomes
A legacy of the solar shards once lost.

John C. Mannone
July 26, 2003 (note 2)

*********************************************************************** Cries From the Stellar Nursery

In the court of the Trapezium,
Are stars whose motive is betrayed by their lines
They conspire to vent their angry blue light
Upon the innocent nearby clouds
Ubiquitous hydrogen, now
With electrons torn free from its kindred ions,

Ensue a charged Coulomb dance,
In attempt to re-engage, but end in futile bouts
Excepting a high Rydberg,
Their state is lonely without their partner baryons
How they noise about at random,
Their complaint being heard through the dusty dark shrouds.

John C. Mannone
September 1, 2001 (see note 3)

Relativistic Screams

The mighty solar wind, with fury drives a sea of coulombic cosmics
Which, by Jove, are lured captive by his magnanimous magnetics
They dance and gyrate and progress in tightening orbital elliptics
And scream their song, well-directed, synchrontronic and symphonic.

John C. Mannone
September 1, 2001 (see note 4)

*********************************************************************** Poetry of the Stars

The stars sing a symphony of a mystery, alas!
While Astronomers magic'ly unlock
With eyes upon a looking glass
Physicists marvel the star's spectral frock
With equations of light, size, mass
But Poets see the stellar bright awestruck
With words, your lonely heart he'll bless
The stars ring a harmony of a beauty unsurpassed.

John C. Mannone
October 1, 2002 (see note 5)


O faithful Morning Star, giver of life, dispeller of darkness
You traverse the heavens in a path that is true
And the morning is not forsaken
But You give your gracious light afresh every morning.
Your countenance is of a King's
Golden rays of regal splendor adorn your captive orbs
Your crown of glory, its awesome expanse disclosed
As the Moon bows before you.

Your subjects rejoice as sparkling gems
In the majesty of your tapestry of royal night
When you tabernacle among them.
Your warmth kindles a fiery passion in my soul
I now await for your return

O precious Son of Man.

John C. Mannone
June 19, 2001 (see note 6)


How mysterious O' nebulous tendrilled shard
Delirious bard, you who shout in measured yard
    Celestial chimes that echo colored rings
    As floral pines in scented breeze do swing
    Auroral rhymes are plucked on spectral strings
    The choral lines in vented glees do bring
These dancing fireflies by magnet drawn
Which swarm the cosmic skies
Enchants the heart until the dawn
Puts sparkles in the eyes.

How beautiful this blue veil-ed and speckled cloud
Laudable shroud, its twisted furrows, crimson plowed
    With lonely single stellar jewel adorned
    Is mingled with the oxen's pointed horn
    And scintill'ed shine amidst the gases torn 
    Through wrinkled space this remnant light sojourns
A broken heart of once a noble king
Throbs still, though torn apart
Begins its summer song to sing
In solstice morning light.

John Mannone
Nov 7, 2003 (see note 7)


Plasma Bubbles

The furious light sinks below
And air above is tempered so

And not just anywhere this air
But somewhere in equator's care

The daytime heated air is trapped
While colder air on top is zapped

Which tampered atoms' state of rest
And left as ions their new guest

Hapless misty heavy layer
Grows a wave of Rayleigh-Taylor

At first a ripple, then a wave
Which drive unstable air to crave

The upper reaches-- freedom bound
The bubbles soar to higher ground

Peculiar pockets rising fast
The air had seen a solar blast

Holes large left with charge in trouble
Rising high as plasma bubbles

Gently urged by E cross B
These fickle fields that they do see

Not seen with ocular bore
But quivers in the radio floor

Bubbled pockets confuse the ray
frantically bend it everyway

And when still dark and very late
The plasma plumes do dissipate

No longer there in hassling poise
The radio whispers quite noise.

John C. Mannone
April 30, 2004 (see note 8)

1. A poem about the birth, life, and death of stars and diagnostic benefit of probing with the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Presented at the SARA 2002 Regional Meeting in Harriman, TN November 16, 2002 in a talk entitled "Multiwavelength Imaging and Radio Astronomy." (Revised June 8, 2004 in the form of heroic couplets; last stanza in iambic tetameter. Shared in the June 10 talk, "Shedding Light," for the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club.)

2. A poem about a solar burst- particle and radio emission. Presented at the SARA 2003 Conference in Green Bank, WV July 27-30, 2003 in a talk entitled "Solar Physics With 20 MHz Antennas: Time and Frequency Domain Analysis."

3. A poem about the Orion Nebula, a thermal radio source. Presented at the SARA 2002 Conference in Green Bank, WV July 8-10, 2002 in a talk entitled "Radio Astronomy: A Vision for Community Colleges."

4. A poem about a non-thermal source, Jovian synchrotron radio emission. Originally presented at the ORION astronomy club meeting September 5, 2001 Oak Ridge, TN in a talk entitled "Elements of Radio Astronomy." It was also featured at the SARA 2002 Conference in Green Bank, WV July 8-10, 2002 in a talk entitled "Radio Astronomy: A Vision for Community Colleges."

5. A renaissance poem created for a presentation given at numerous clubs entitled "The Poetry of the Universe: Examples of Astronomy in Historical Literature" and the more focused "Poetry of the Stars: A Literary Interlude." (Minor revision September 16, 2003).

6. Of all the poetry I have written, this is one of my favorite. Only apparently is it about a solar eclipse; it is far more spiritual, with many allusions to Scriptures. It was presented in a community talk immediately following the June 21, 2001 solar eclipse around the summer solstice, viewed via satellite at the American Museum of Science and Energy, Oak Ridge, TN. The talk was entitled "Introduction to Solar Astronomy: The African Total Solar Eclipse." (Minor revision to Italian Sonnet form, w/o end rhyme, May 19, 2004).

7. This piece of radio poetry is written not in association with a lecture, but as a puzzle. The object is to determine which Messier object is being discussed. This puzzle also appears in the November 2003 issue of the BAS STAR Newsletter. A complete analysis of this poem is found under the "Educational" section of this web site.

8. Presented at the SARA 2004 Conference (June 27-30 NRAO Green Bank, WV) lecture, entitled "Detection and Analysis of Plasma Bubbles with 20 MHz Radio Frequency," this poem continues the tradition. The original draft was composed April 30, but was revised into heroic couplets June 18.

Analysis of "M"

Last updated on