It being Friday, I’m continuing The Sagan Series with Part 3 – A Reassuring Fable, which can be found below. However, today also being April 12, I would be lacking to not additionally mention a couple of rather significant (HUGE!) historical events in space exploration which took place on this day.
The feeling of weightlessness was somewhat unfamiliar compared with Earth conditions. Here, you feel as if you were hanging in a horizontal position in straps. You feel as if you are suspended. - Yuri Gagarin
April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut, then 27 years old, Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space, making a 108-minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft beginning the era of human spaceflight.
STS-1 Launches – On April 12, 1981, a new era in space flight began when the first shuttle mission soared into orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Commanded by John Young, and piloted by Bob Crippen, the shuttle became humankind’s first re-usable spacecraft having the ability to launch like a rocket and land like a plane. It was also the first time in history a new spacecraft was launched on its maiden voyage with a crew aboard.
And now with these mentions done, today’s continuation of The Sagan Series.
As a reminder The Sagan Series is the work of Canadian science promoter and time-lapse photographer Reid Gower. In the 10 part video series Gower uses bits of narration from Sagan’s TV series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, edited over contemporary and historical cinematography.
As a reminder The Sagan Series is the work of Canadian science promoter and time-lapse photographer Reid Gower. In the 10 part video series Gower uses bits of narration from Sagan’s TV series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, edited over jaw-dropping cinematography.
To accompany today’s episode here are some (hopefully!) interesting bits of Sagan Trivia!
* Sagan never said the phrase ‘billions and billions’ on Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The closest he came was in his book Cosmos where he wrote the phrase ‘billions upon billions’, (chap 1, page 3). He did, however, frequently use the word ‘billions’ delivered with a high emphasis on the ‘b’ in order to distinguish it from the word ‘millions’ in the mind of his viewers.
* In honor of Sagan the term ‘Sagan’s number‘ is used to humorously represent the number of stars in the observable universe. This number is reasonably well defined, since we know what a star is, and we know what the observable universe is, but its value is not known with exact certainty. It’s safe to say it’s A LOT!
* The Martian landing site of the unmanned NASA Mars Pathfinder spacecraft was renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station on July 5, 1997. Interestingly, an episode of the TV series Star Trek: Enterprise entitled ‘Terra Prime‘, featured a quick shot of the Pathfinder rover, Sojourner, alongside a historical marker at station. The marker displays a quote from Sagan - ‘Whatever the reason you’re on Mars, I’m glad you’re there, and I wish I was with you.‘ Also interestingly, Sagan’s son, writer Nick Sagan, wrote several episodes for the Star Trek franchise, and one of Sagan’s students, Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University Steve Squyres, was a principle member of the team that landed the Spirit Rover and Opportunity Rover successfully on Mars.
Also in this series:
The Sagan Series is a brilliant, and quite powerful, collection of videos dedicated to the late astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator, Carl Sagan. The series is a project by science promoter, public speaker, and time-lapse photographer Reid Gower of Victoria, Canada.
Utilizing breath-taking cinematography and a hypnotic soundtrack as a backdrop to narration from Sagan’s TV series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Gower manages, very nicely, to convey Sagan’s message of awe and wonder at the world, and universe, in which we live, as well as his message of inspiration and hope towards the human race, while at the same time humbly reminding us of our relevant insignificance in the scope of the universe. A message which, for better or worse, places the future of mankind squarely into the hands of mankind. To some this message may be a frightening one, to myself it is an inspiring one.
The Sagan Series is presented in a collection of 10 videos with the 10th being Gower’s TEDxVancouver talk titled Defining The Frontier in which he discusses the development of his video series as well as his passion for promoting scientific literacy in the general population. The 1st video in the collection is titled The Frontier Is Everywhere -
I will be featuring the entire collection of Gower’s Sagan Series videos, 1 video each Friday for the following 9 weeks.
This short animation, titled Stardust, is the work of Dutch designer/director Mischa Rozema. Utilizing an amazing combination of actual images from space exploration as well as CGI modeling, Rozema stunningly blends art and science is his moving tribute to loss, space exploration, and the Voyager 1 probe. The film is Rozema’s nod to Dutch graphic designer Arjan Groot, who died of cancer at age 39 in July of 2011, as well as his reminder that, as said by the late Carl Sagan, we are made of stardust. Rozema is the creative director of the Dutch hybrid film production company –PostPanic.
The film’s story centers on the thought that in the grand scheme of the universe nothing is ever wasted, and there is great comfort to be found in us all essentially being stardust. Voyager, and its Golden Record, represents the memories of our loved ones and our lives which, in this sense, will never disappear.
Rozema says of the film, ‘I wanted to show the universe as a beautiful but also destructive place. It’s somewhere we all have to find our place within. As a director, making Stardust was a very personal experience but it’s not intended to be a personal film and I would want people to attach their own meanings to the film so that they can also find comfort based on their own histories and lives.’
A PostPanic Production
Written & directed by Mischa Rozema
Produced by Jules Tervoort
VFX Supervisor: Ivor Goldberg
Associate VFX Supervisor: Chris Staves
Senior digital artists: Matthijs Joor, Jeroen Aerts
Digital artists: Marti Pujol, Silke Finger, Mariusz Kolodziejczak, Dieuwer Feldbrugge, Cara To, Jurriën Boogert
Camera & edit: Mischa Rozema
Production: Ania Markham, Annejes van Liempd
Audio by Pivot Audio , Guy Amitai
Featuring “Helio” by Ruben Samama
Copyright 2013 Post Panic BV, All rights reserved
– For more information on the Voyager probe please check out my Dec 9, 2012 post Voyager 1 and The Magnetic Highway.
1 year — 2012
10 images — And yes! It WAS difficult to whittle it down to ONLY 10. My goal was to include not only the year’s most stunningly impressive astronomy images, or my opinion of such, but also to include Earth from space, celestial events, exciting milestones in space travel and exploration, humanity in space, and a glimpse of humanity’s future in space. (I am aware that it’s impossible to tell the entire story of a year in space in only 10 images, I am aware of the images I’ve omitted. And yes…it was painful to decide on, and include, only 10!)
1 video — Because I just couldn’t help it, and because the message presented is perhaps the most personally inspiring message of 2012.
5 days — Spent compiling, agonizing over selections (I LOVED it!), and writing.
87 links — But please don’t try to count them! Enjoy as many as you have time and interest to. (I only counted them once and that number could be completely wrong.)
74 tags — I needed coffee after tagging…
Images are presented in the order of occurrence and not based on preference. Clicking on an image title will present a larger view, in most cases, and clicking on image credit links will present additional information on the folks who brought them to us!
Earth From Space: A Southern Summer Bloom – On January 13, 2012 the European Space Agency released this Envisat image of a phytoplankton bloom swirling a figure 8 in the South Atlantic Ocean about 600 km east of the Falkland Islands. During summer in the southern hemisphere the ocean becomes rich in minerals from the mixing of surface waters with deeper waters. Phytoplankton depend on these minerals making blooms like this common during warm months. Blooms may cover hundreds of square kilometers and are easily visible in satellite images. Different types and quantities of phytoplankton exhibit different colors, such as the blues and greens seen here. These microscopic organisms are the base of the marine food chain, and play a huge role in the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the production of oxygen in the oceans. A bloom may last several weeks, but the life span of any individual phytoplankton is rarely more than a few days. By helping to regulate the carbon cycle, phytoplankton are important to the global climate system, and get enough of them together and they create incredibly stunning satellite images! – Image credit: ESA
The Helix Nebula – On Jan 19, 2012, the European Southern Observatory released this unusual view of the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a planetary nebula located 650 light-years away, in the constellation of Aquarius. Planetary nebulae are the remains of stars that once looked a lot like our sun. In visible light the Helix’s fine details are normally obscured by dust, but captured by ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) we can peer through the dust to see radiating filaments of cooler gas in the rings as well as a faint halo of thinly spread gas extending at least four light-years from the core of the dying star. – Image credit: ESO/VISTA/J. Emerson – Acknowledgment: Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit
SpaceX Dragon Berthed to International Space Station – On May 25, 2012, with rays of sunshine and Earth’s thin blue atmosphere serving as a backdrop, the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is berthed to the Earth-facing side of the ISS’s Harmony node becoming the first commercial craft to accomplish this type of space operation. After a series of system tests, and a successful fly-under of the ISS, the Dragon capsule was cleared by NASA to approach the station. Dragon performed a series of intricate test maneuvers required to demonstrate the maneuvering and abort capability of the craft prior to approaching and moving into a 65-foot berthing box where it was grappled by NASA astronaut Don Pettit using the station’s Canadarm robotic arm. On May 31, after successfully completing its mission, Dragon splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Previously only four governments, the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency, had achieved this challenging technical feat. SpaceX then completed its first official resupply mission in October 2012. – Image credit: NASA
Venus Transits The Sun - On June 5, 2012, Hinode captured this amazing view of the transit of Venus just as the planet was fully entering The Sun’s disk. The ring seen around the planet is caused by Venus’s thick atmosphere scattering and bending the sunlight coming through the other side. If you missed this year’s Venus Transit, no worries, you might can catch it again — in about 100 years. Transits of Venus are very rare among predictable celestial events and occur in pairs, eight years apart, which are themselves separated by more than a century. The last transit of Venus took place June 8, 2004 and the next pair of transits will occur in December 2117 and December 2125. Hinode is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency to study the connections of the sun’s surface magnetism primarily in and around sunspots. – Image credit: JAXA/NASA/Lockheed Martin (Lead U.S. investigator for the Solar Optical Telescope.)
Curiosity Snaps Picture of Its Shadow - On the evening of August 5th PDT (morning of August 6th EDT), 2012, after a nearly 8 month journey, and 7 Minutes of Terror, a rover named Curiosity successfully landed on the surface of Mars. This is one of the first images taken by Curiosity and transmitted back to a very excited and celebratory team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The camera’s clear dust cover is still in place in this view, and dust can be seen around its edge, along with three cover fasteners. The rover’s shadow is visible in the foreground. Launched November 26, 2011 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V-541, the Mars Science Laboratory has since set out on its long term robotic exploration of the red planet, its environment and its habitability. – Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Sunita Williams on Spacewalk – On September 5, 2012 NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 32 flight engineer, sends a wave to team mate Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide during a 6 hour, 28 minute spacewalk, the mission’s third session of extravehicular activity (EVA). 47 year old Astronaut Williams, who also served as Commander of Expedition 33, holds the record for the longest space flight time among female space travelers, she also holds the record for number of spacewalks for a female, as well as most spacewalk time for a female. She is also proof that when looking for positive female role-models for our daughters, all we need do is look up. – Image credit: NASA
The Pencil Nebula - On September 12, 2012 the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory, located in the outskirts of the Chilean Atacama Desert, presented us with this image produced by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope. This peculiar cloud of glowing gas is part of a huge ring of wreckage left over after a supernova explosion which took place about 11,000 years ago. This oddly shaped cloud, also known as NGC 2736, is a small part of a vast supernova remnant in the southern constellation of Vela. The colors seen here represent different elements: oxygen is blue, and hydrogen red. Also mixed in are elements like iron, nitrogen, and carbon. All the essential elements for life as we know it were created in stellar explosions like this one. As it’s been pointed out by Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and others, we are, indeed, ‘star stuff’. – Image credit: ESO
Hubble Goes Deep, eXtremely deep – On September 25, 2012 astronomers presented a new, improved portrait of mankind’s deepest-ever view of the universe. Called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining 10 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The XDF is a small fraction of the angular diameter of the full moon. What did the first galaxies look like? To help answer this question, Hubble presents this deepest image of the universe ever taken in visible light. Pictured above, the XDF shows a sampling of some of the oldest galaxies ever seen, galaxies that formed 13 billion years ago when the universe was only a few percent of its present age. The XDF contains about 5,500 galaxies even within its smaller field of view. The faintest galaxies are one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. This view was taken with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the infrared channel of its Wide Field Camera 3 (WFPC3). Astronomers the world over will likely study the XDF for years to come to better understand how stars and galaxies formed in the early universe. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. – Image credit: NASA /ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch /University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens / Leiden University/The HUDF09 Team
Double Prominence Eruptions – On Nov 16, 2012 the Sun erupted with two prominence eruptions, one after the other over a four-hour period. This image, beautifully illustrating the action, was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in the 304 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. The red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas made of electrically charged hydrogen and helium. The prominence plasma flows along a tangled, twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun’s internal dynamo. Solar prominences (known as a filament when viewed against the solar disk) are anchored to the Sun’s surface in the photosphere, and extend outwards into the Sun’s hot outer atmosphere, called the corona. The corona extends more than a million kilometers from the Sun’s surface with temperatures reaching two million degrees and is where solar winds originate. A prominence forms over timescales of about a day, and stable prominences can persist in the corona for several months, looping hundreds of thousands of miles into space. – Image credit: NASA/SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory)
Orion Spacecraft – On December 18, 2012 NASA, in its ‘Image of The Day’, featured this photograph of technicians as they prepare to fit a special fixture around an Orion capsule inside the high bay of the Operations & Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Construction on the first space-bound Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) began at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, in September 2011. Engineering advances by NASA and its industry partners show exciting progress toward Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), promising that in two years human space exploration will make its biggest leap in more than four decades. The uncrewed EFT-1 mission, launching from Kennedy Space Center in 2014, will test the re-entry performance of the Orion capsule, which, according to NASA, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed and which will carry astronauts farther into space than ever before, sustain astronauts during space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space and emergency abort capability.
‘These recent milestones are laying the foundation for our first flight test of Orion in 2014,’ said Dan Dumbacher, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ‘The work being done to prepare for the flight test is really a nationwide effort and we have a dedicated team committed to our goal of expanding the frontier of space.’
Orion will be launched by NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), a heavy-lift rocket boasting an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. Flexible for launching spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS promises to enable new exploration missions and expand human presence across the solar system. – Image credit: NASA
2013 – ?
I’m looking forward to an equally amazing, stunning, mind-bending, and inspiring year in 2013. I hope everyone has a GREAT NEW YEAR!
This new region is referred to as a ‘magnetic highway’ for charged particles because our sun’s magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines. This connection allows lower-energy charged particles that originate from inside our heliosphere , or the bubble of charged particles the sun blows around itself, to zoom out and allows higher-energy particles from outside to stream in. Before entering this region the charged particles bounced around in all directions, as if trapped on local roads inside the heliosphere.
The Voyager team infers this region is still inside our solar bubble because the direction of the magnetic field lines has not changed. The direction of these magnetic field lines is predicted to change when Voyager breaks through to interstellar space. The new results were described at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on Monday, Dec 3, 2012.
‘Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun’s environment, we now can taste what it’s like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway,’ said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. ‘We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it’s likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn’t what we expected, but we’ve come to expect the unexpected from Voyager.’
Two of Voyager’s on-board instruments which measure charged particles showed the spacecraft first entered this magnetic highway region on July 28, 2012. The region ebbed away and flowed toward Voyager 1 several times. The spacecraft entered the region again Aug. 25 and the environment has been stable since.
Voyager notes of interest:
-Voyager 1 and 2 were launched 16 days apart in 1977 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, each aboard a Titan-Centaur rocket.
- Between them, Voyager 1 and 2 explored all the giant planets of our outer solar system, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; 48 of their moons; and the unique system of rings and magnetic fields those planets possess.
-The Voyager spacecraft will be the third and fourth human spacecraft to fly beyond all the planets in our solar system. Pioneers 10 and 11 preceded Voyager in outstripping the gravitational attraction of the Sun but on February 17, 1998, Voyager 1 passed Pioneer 10 to become the most distant human-made object in space. A real-time odometer of Voyager 1 and 2′s distance from the Earth and the Sun in astronomical units (AU) and kilometers (KM) can be found here.
-The signal from Voyager 1 takes approximately 17 hours to travel to Earth.
-In 1990, at the request of Carl Sagan, NASA commanded Voyager 1 to turn it’s camera around and take a photograph across a great expanse of space. At that time the spacecraft had completed its primary mission and was leaving the Solar System. The resulting photograph, taken from a distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) from Earth is famously known as The Pale Blue Dot.
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The Voyager missions are a part of NASA’s Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
Inspiring: Generating enthusiasm or creativity: making someone feel more enthusiastic, confident, or stimulated. See Carl Sagan.
Recently I was mentioned in regards to The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. The mention came from Carina of L’amore e forte come la morte. Through her blog Carina strives to present us with beauty from around the world, and in her efforts she succeeds. She also has been very supportive of me and my work here, and I wish to thank her dearly for this mention. It, and she, are very appreciated.
Inspiration comes in many forms. I find incredible inspiration in our planet and it’s diversity of life, the awe of the cosmos, the thirst for discovery, and the thrill of exploration. I’m also deeply inspired by scientists, artists, writers and philosophers as these are the ones who through their passion drive us towards our future, who asks the questions, who strive for the answers, and who never, ever, settle for less than truth and understanding.
Inspiration is never found in slogans, rhetoric, or empty sentimentality. It can not be bought or sold, nor will we find it in pretentious feel-good quotes used to sell calendars and self-help books. True inspiration is not marketable.
As with any blog award The Very Inspiring Blogger Award has rules, and as with any blog award I will ignore them. Those interested in the rules can find them here on Carina’s site. I will not list 7 inspiring facts about myself or the things I love. This blog being entirely focused on the things I love would make this a completely redundant act.
As the title of this award suggests, in deciding on who I will now in turn mention I looked for bloggers who truly inspire me. This award is somewhat different than the others…it seeks to recognize the ‘blogger’ rather than the blog itself. So while the following do indeed contribute incredibly inspiring content, my mention is not for the content…but for the person behind the content.
And my 3 nominees for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award are:
A Frank Angle - My mentioning of Frank is probably entirely unnecessary as I doubt anyone reading this is not familiar with him. He has also most likely been mentioned for this award more times than I’ve
pigged-out sophisticatedly and in a lady-like manner indulged in Ben and Jerry’s. I recently learned that Frank is working on Post Number 900 and my mind can’t begin to wrap itself around that number. His writing is clear and concise, his subjects are interesting and well researched, and his views are varied and thought-provoking. He also has one of the most lively and intelligent comment sections I’ve ever read. A few of Frank’s recent, and inspiring, posts include:
On The Universe – March 14, 2012
On Evolution – April 4, 2012
On Personal Stuff – March 31, 2012
unastronomy - Jason holds a B.S. Marketing Management and is currently working towards two masters degrees – M.S. Space Studies (Planetary Science concentration) and M.S.Ed. Learning Design and Technology…and if that alone is not enough to totally inspire me…he’s also a Texan who loves BBQ! (Is there any other kind of Texan!?) On top of this, Jason is one hell of a nice guy who completely tolerates the likes of myself
trolling reading his blog trying to conceptualize the amazing and exciting things he writes about. In his ‘About’ page Jason states that his passion lies in astronomy and he hopes to write about/teach the subject in the not too distant future. Should we point out to him that through his blog he is already doing this? Welcome to the future Jason! And thank you for your tireless inspiration. A few of Jason’s recent, and awe inspiring posts include:
The Universe at the Speed of Light [Infographic] - April 13, 2012
Hubble’s Panoramic View of a Turbulent Star-making Region – April 17, 2012
Let’s Explore Next Generation Space Trains – April 16, 2012
UPDATE: In an effort to include a broader range of (EXCITING!) topics, Jason had updated the title of his blog from unastronomy to Wired Cosmos. Cheers Jason!
Heavens With Lamps – The writer of Heavens With Lamps (I’m sorry, I don’t know his name) is an educator, real estate agent, amateur astronomer, surfer, cyclist, hiker, and some-time philosophizer living in Mauritius. If these things alone are not inspiring, then I don’t know what is! His enthusiastic, informative, and interesting posts are like manna to a very, very, very amateur
astronomer, star-gazer, looks up in awe, confusion, and bewilderment to the night sky person such as myself. His Star-Gazing Fever is infectious, his passion to learn and to share his knowledge is irresistible, his ability to find and post the coolest stuff EVER is relentless… put these together and it equals inspiring on a HUGE scale. Thank you! A few of Heavens With Lamps’ recent, exciting and inspiring posts include:
100 Guide Posts in the Sky – April 20, 2012
Astronomy Lectures for FREE – April 10, 2012
DO YOU ACCEPT??? – April 15, 2012
Wow…am I really finished writing this awards post? Damn, that was really freaking long. At least it’s over, now I can have some Ben and Jerry’s, you know, for lunch. Umm…I wonder if it’s considered weird to type to one’s self like this. It’s ok…no one ever reads these last bits. Ah, ok…cool!
‘Oh look. The sun has a little happy face.’
These were the words tweeted this week by Jason Major of Lights In The Dark in reference to this image. Quite honestly, I don’t see the little happy face, but I’ve got to admire anyone who does! Jason is also the man who in a post last month titled Sun, Moon and Spots in reference to a video of the Feb 21, 2012 Solar transit by the Moon from the perspective of SDO remarked…’I think the sun looks a little surprised.’ I’m not much into applying human characteristics and expressions to cute little kittens and squirrels, however I have to admit to finding it clever when applied to Astronomical objects. I also have to admit to agreeing with Jason in the case of that particular video….the sun does appear to be ‘surprised’. But don’t take my word for it, go there and check it out for yourself. While there also check out Jason’s March 14th post, Is This Comet SWAN’s Swan Song. Very cool!!
Also in the Cool Science Department this week A Frank Angle got me all weepy-eyed with his post On The Universe featuring videos of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot in comparison to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s, now quite viral, The Most Astounding Fact. After reading Frank’s post followed by stepping outside for a look at the Venus and Jupiter conjunction…it was quite an emotional evening for me. Speaking of Neil deGrasse Tyson, who’s Space Chronicles I FINALLY got my hands on…and it’s AWESOME, Kyle Hill at Science-Based Life also compares deGrasse Tyson to Sagan in a March 12th post titled…Neil deGrasse Tyson is the New Carl Sagan and featuring deGrasse Tyson’s Why We Stopped Dreaming video….completely inspiring, and completely important.
AND….before I move on from space, I absolutely HAVE to mention Galicia Futura‘s March 17th post titled Las estrellas vistas desde la Estación Espacial Internacional featuring The Stars as Viewed from the International Space Station, edited by Alex Rivest using Adobe Lightroom. A-MA-ZING!!
After a week of much star-gazing it was nice to have St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday as an excuse to lift a glass or two. I was kept fully up to date on the approaching event, as I am with ALL my news, by the informative, straight-talking, and hard hitting tag-team of Smaktakula and Tardsie D. Bagg over at Promethean Times. The guys got us in the spirit early in the week with a March 12th introduction to the Emerald Isle titled Ireland The PT Way!. On March 15th the boys reminded us that March is not only about St Paddy with their timely post titled Bewaring The Ides Of March (Among Other Things). They then finished up on Saturday with an all-out St Patrick’s expose titled St. Paddy’s Day! These are just small samples of the top-notch journalism to be found at Promethean Times, not just this week, but every week. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the folks over at Pulitzer are forced to recognize Smak and Tardsie …even if at gun-point. (Warning: Prolonged exposure to Promethean Times may cause the following side effects including temporary eyelid droop and nausea, gas with oily spotting, loose stools, and more frequent stools that may be hard to control. Babies born to mothers who have read Promethean Times in the latter half of pregnancy have reported complications, including floppiness, stiffness, irritability or constant crying. Even moderate exposure may result in sleepwalking, and eating or driving while not fully awake, with amnesia following the event. Consult your healthcare practitioner before reading Promethean Times. …things I LOVE, Alex Autin is in no way responsible for any ill-effects experienced before, during, or after viewing Promethean Times.)
Another blog I’ve been following closely this past week is artist J.E. Lattimer’s Uncharted Revelations. J.E. demonstrated his extremely interesting and innovative experimental art this week in posts with such compelling titles such as Surveillance and Censorship, Iniquitous Manifestations, and Harmonic Frequencies. Fascinated by his work, knowing I’d want to write about it, and wanting to properly categorize it, I earlier in the week questioned J.E. as to the process involved in the creation of his art….
J.E. – Well, I usually don’t tell anyone how I create my artwork / photographs, but okay, here goes… You know how some people can bend spoons using only their minds? It’s kind of like that: I take a roll of unused / undeveloped film into a completely dark room where I sit cross-legged and meditate with the film held tightly in my hand. While meditating I visualize each image as clearly as possible, then, when I go to develop the roll… Voila! No, that’s mean, only kidding… Seriously though, the truth is that these images are only possible because I’m one of the five people on earth who have been given a prototype of the new quantum computer… Only kidding again… The truth is that I’ve developed most of the techniques for over a decade now and they’re fairly top secret– Only shared with those that I know very well and have known for a long time……
Cleverness combined with brilliance and talent….and highly recommenced.
Rounding out the week with music, Marilia from World Music took me on a week-long tour of Portugal. Starting in Porto with X-Wife and their haunting song Across The Water , then the beautiful music of Os Azeitonas and their song Anda Comigo ver os Aviões. Marilia then invited us to her home region of Alentejo to close out the week with a song from Virgem Suta titled Linhas Cruzadas. Such beautiful music and such a beautiful country! Obrigada Marilia, danke Xandi and everyone at World Music!
Cheers and enjoy your week!
I LOVE…Libraries! Yep, first of all there’s the smell of a library. That musty scent of pages in old books…a little dusty, a little stale and dry. Used book stores have this same smell. It smells archaic but in a good sense, like lost work waiting to be rediscovered. I also love the hushed quiet of libraries. It’s an environment where if one listens, one could almost hear the ticking of the clocks…if clocks still ticked. The smell and the hush contribute to the atmosphere of a library along with the dry air and a temperature which always seems just a few degrees higher than optimum. It’s nice though, comfortable, cozy. No matter the library, there always seems to be windows with sunlight pouring through in such a way as to illuminate the dust particles in the beams of light. And I’m always, ALWAYS, reminded of Carl Sagan and that ‘mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam’, and I’m reminded of that image from Voyager 1. It completely awes me. And of course, he’s there too…Sagan. He’s in that library, alive and quite well.
Of course, the thing I love most about libraries, however, is the books. Fiction or non-fiction, every word on every page of every book on every shelf at one time existed solely in someone’s mind and imagination. Someone, through pain and patience, joy and love, created the time to write every ‘the’, every ‘of’, and every ‘is’ contained in every book. Each book is an entirely new world waiting to be entered and discovered. Worlds of heroes and villains, conquerors and lovers, empires and war, and also worlds of nature, science, elegance and love. The only requirement of entering these strange and wondrous worlds is to open the cover and turn the page. As such, the library becomes a universe to thousands of worlds.
When I enter a library some switch inside me gets turned on. This is a switch which is 99.9% of the time in lock-down ‘off ‘position, and that is the ‘horde’ switch. Anyone who knows me knows I have very few things. If it doesn’t fit in a back pack I don’t need it. However, entering a library I am instantly transformed. I want every one of those books and I sincerely believe I can actually read each and every one of them. Not only read them, but assimilate them, absorb them, learn and retain every bit of knowledge and passion they contain. And the library itself encourages and prods me. Really? I can check out up to 50 items at a time? 50?! Wow!
Oh, one more awesome thing about libraries which I love…no money changes hands. They give me the book, I read the book and return it…end of transaction. Trust.